the great and powerful

Earlier this week, Jodie and I had the opportunity to see Oz, The Great and Powerful, a prequel (if you will) to The Wizard of Oz.

Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz. At first he thinks he’s hit the jackpot-fame and fortune are his for the taking. That all changes, however, when he meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz), and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone’s been expecting. Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity-and even a bit of wizardry-Oscar transforms himself not only into the great and powerful Wizard of Oz but into a better man as well. Written by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Under the direction of Sam Raimi, “Oz, The Great and Powerful” proves to be a entertaining and visually stunning fairy tale fable that reverently tips its hat to L. Frank Baum as well as to Victor Fleming‘s “The Wizard of Oz“. Raimi gives an old school feel to this film that manages to balance the right tone of epic nostalgia and childlike intimacy. It is a beautiful film to look at and it is very inviting. The character’s looks all represent their personalities and the CGI animated effects for the imaginary characters match the feel and look of the film. From the childlike wonder of China Doll to the scary fanged flying baboons, Raimi manages to let them connect on a visual level with their environment and not for once that they over power the seamless look of the film. It is a beautiful, visual affair and that is all thanks to the grace that Sam Raimi and his ability to let the audiences feel their way around this beautiful world.

Yes, overall it was a very entertaining film. Unfortunately, I found myself disappointed with James Franco’s portrayal of the Wizard. The problem that I had was I saw James Franco up on the big screen rather than Oscar. It was only during the climatic confrontation of good against wicked did he seem to finally transform just a little into the Wizard. Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams both turn in wonderful performances. Weisz’s Evanora proves to be a charming, velvet-y kind of wicked witch who easily catches one off guard with her evil wickedness. On the other side is Williams’ Glinda who manages to be good without saccharine and with a definite edge to her character, the perfect foil against Evanora.

All in all, yes, I did like this movie and yes, I would recommend it. Oz, The Great and Powerful is rated PG. There are some dark and perhaps scary scenes…

HELLO?!

FLYING BABOONS!!

And to think that I was scarred for life by those flying monkeys when I first saw The Wonderful Wizard of Oz when I was four years old. Parents, consider this before you plan to take the whole family. As for me, I am seeing it again because, hey, it’s my birthday today.

Jodie and I received no compensation other than admission to the movie and some sweet 3D glasses.

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