Wizard Of Oz prequel Oz The Great And Powerful has stormed up the box office charts in its first week, and rightly so. Director Sam Raimi, who has directed movies such as the Spider-Man trilogy and Drag Me To Hell, has definitely bagged another hit in this fantastic movie. In contrast to the original Wizard of Oz, it has a more gothic atmosphere, as well as a more complex dynamic between the characters. Still, I can’t imagine Frank L Baum, who brought Oz to life, would be disappointed with the differences between the two.
Oz The Great And Powerful tells the story of Oscar, nicknamed ‘Oz’ (played by James Franco), who is on a spontaneous quest of redemption after spending his life conning people with fake magic tricks and scamming them for money. Oz is a womanizer as well as someone who cares only for himself, and he fears that his life will never go further than what he has already achieved.
After being whisked to the land of Oz by hot air balloon, he meets the witch Theodora, played by Mila Kunis. Theodora welcomes him and tells him that he is the wizard that will overthrow the Wicked Witch and fulfill the prophecy the people of Oz have being waiting for. After taking him to the Emerald City he finds that his ego can only bring him so far as Theodora has fallen for his charms and has truly convinced herself that she will be ruler alongside him.
Oscar however has other ideas, as he is under the influence of Evanora (Rachel Weisz), sister of Theodora, who tells him he must destroy the Wicked Witch’s prized possession in order to truly bring peace to the land of Oz. This eventually erupts into all-out war between good and evil, and brings us up to the beginning of the original Wizard of Oz.
One of the film’s flaws lies in Mila Kunis’ performance. Although it wasn’t terrible, it was overall a mediocre portrayal which was definitely overshadowed by the perfection seen in the rest of the cast. Rachel Weisz shines in the role as Evanora, as well as Michelle Williams (Glinda) who shows us a different side of her acting ability.
Despite some small hitches, Oz The Great And Powerful definitely matches the viewers expectations. It is a movie that perfectly demonstrates the trials we must face in reality and the choice of either backing down or pushing forward. Between the enduring music of Danny Elfman and the incredible visual effects this movie is a definite must see for all parents, children and movie lovers.