The Wizard From Oz, relesed in 1939, is one of the biggest movie classics from all time. Maybe not my personal opinion, but it is up there on movie charts, of all time classics. I have seen it, and considering when it was made, and considering how they made the movie, it is charming. But i can´t say i see it as one of the best movies of all time. Maybe because i have never been a musical lover ( except for the musical number in Another Gay Sequel, but that´s another story ). A sequel was released in 1985, The Return To Oz, but was no box office hit. Ever since 1985, there were many rumours about making a new Oz movie, but along the way other ideas got in the way. Until now, when director Sam Raimi ( you know who is is right? ), decided to do a prequel, and tell the story what happened before Dorthy came to the land of Oz. Since i love the way Sam Raimi tell stories, and his technical way of making unforgettable scenes, i was curious how he would make this story in his own uique way. Is it possible Oz: The Great And Powerful is a future classic, or does it just look better than what it seems to be?
In Kansas, 1905, a small time-magician Oscar Diggs ( James Franco ), works on a travelling circus. The audience finds out he his a hoax, as they boo him off stage. The circus strongman finds out Oscar has flirted with his wife. Oscar is now chased, but manage to escape in a hot air balloon. Up in the sky, a tornado is getting closer. With no chance to escape, Oscar is sucked into the tornado, but manage to survive. The hot air balloon lands in a very strange place, that looks very different from Kansas. As he lands in water, he meets witch Theodora ( Mila Kunis ), who belive he is the wizard who will save Oz from the Wicked Witch. Oscar finds this situation to be very confusing, but go with her down the yellow brick road to the Emerald City. In the castle, Oscar meets Theodora´s sister Evanore ( Rachel Weisz ), also a witch. Evanore is skeptical if Oscar is the real wizard they hope to save them, but show him what he will own as their king, a chamber full of gold. Oscar is delighted, and say he will help them. But since he have no special powers, how will he stop the Wicked Witch?
I don´t think we can compare this to the original movie. Emerald city is here and the yellow brick road, but none of the characters from the original movie is here. And maybe there is a reason for that, since this is supposed to be 20 years earlier before Dorthy landed. I would have liked to see more original characters, somehow a monkey with angel wings feels kind of uninspired. But then we have China Girl, a living china doll, who actually helps the movie lift a bit. To make a movie about Oz feel good, you need strong characters. James Franco may not do his best performance, but is somehow charming. The best part, except from China Doll, are the dark forest scenes, where you can tell Sam Raimi feels at home, in eternal darkness. Oz: The Great And Powerful is a good adventure movie for a family audience, not for very small children. The colors and the costumes are very well made, almost like Raimi made his own Alice In Wonderland, but without Alice. And keep your eyes open for Bruce Campbell, he is once again in another Sam Raimi movie, and you gotta love him for that, i only wish he could get a bigger role next time, such a wonderful guy. If you loved the original movie, you might be a bit disappointed that there are not many musical numbers, but if you love adventure movies this might please you for a moment.