I was really skeptical when this movie was announced, but much to my delight, Oz the Great and Powerful does a wonderful job of respecting where this movie comes from. believe me when I say that the makers of this film put some thought into creating a film that is a great compliment to the original, and will be an entire new age of fans into the fold without sullying the name or intent of the original movie. THIS IS THE WAY A PREQUAL IS DONE!
We come into the story in black and white – and believe it or not – in a 4:3 film format. We find the main character of the film, the man destined to become the great and powerful Oz – Oscar, a small time carnival magician, con man, and womanizer. Right off the bat we know that Oscar, who goes by the name Oz, is a bit of a scumbag. We see him taking advantage of women (or at least attempting to), a behavior which ultimately gets him in trouble and moves him into position for his wondrous journey and ultimate transformation.
I Did not see the film in 3D and it is evident that there are MANY 3D moments in the film. I am not a fan of 3D but I must say I am considering seeing it again for the 3D experience. This film is beautifully put together. It is colorful and vibrant and worth every penny they spent on the look of the film. It really is what I would expect to see were I whisked away to the land of Oz. And the CG characters in the film do not leave you feeling that they are hollow, computer generated puppets in the film.
We are quick to meet, Theodora the Good (Mila Kunis), upon his arrival in Oz, and immediately Franco sets upon her to take advantage of her as to him she is little more than another beautiful woman. Soon after we meet Finley, a flying monkey. The character struck me a bit as this is the flying monkey you would have seen in the Original Oz film. However this character is warm and lovable and every bit as alive as Franco and Kunis on the big screen. WE continue on to meet Evanora (Rachel Weisz), who in my opinion is the stand out performance in this file. Weisz hes impressed me in just about every role I have ever seen her in, and this is no exception. She is by far the most cunning, confident and influential character in the film, and they waste no time showing her multi-faceted character putting her charms and wit to work.
We then meet a charming little character in the form of China Girl, who seems to be the initial push Oscar needs to set him on the path to his destiny. We then meet Glinda the good Witch(Michelle Williams), who rounds out teh list of our main characters. She is the force that keeps Oscar in check, as she know he is not who he claims to be (yet), and trusts him anyway to help the people of Oz. The most striking thing about her performance is that she seems to be on the verge of tears throughout most of the film, which underscores the dire circumstances the land of Oz is in.
The most surprising thing about this film is that the story has very little to do with the characters as much as it has to do with the Land of Oz itself. We really how the land of oz we came to know in the original 1939 julie Garland version of Oz and also opens the door to have several more films in the franchise without destroying the original story. All in all Oz the Great and Powerful is a very fun movie that is both fun to watch AND will leave you nostalgic for the original film. If you are looking for a family oriented film – Oz is it!