Oz the Great and Powerful
Filling every inch of the big screen with tremendous colours, from the vivid imagination of director Sam Raimi (Spiderman) comes this latest adaptation of the classic children’s story The Wizard of Oz.
With a whole host of acting talent, including James Franco as Oz, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz and Zach Braff, Oz the Great and Powerful is an absolute wonder to behold.
Opening at a circus in Kansas 1905, the film begins in black and white, telling the tale of Oscar Diggs, a womanising circus magician. After an unfortunate discovery by the circus’ strongest man – a fearsome creature – Oscar flees the circus in his hot air balloon, which then, in a turn of events more ill-fated than his previous dilemma, gets caught up in a tornado.
Despite the familiar sight of a tornado, as in the original The Wizard of Oz, this film depicts Oscar’s life before becoming the Wizard, and is in fact a prequel to the 1939 version.
Once safely through the troublesome weather, Oz arrives at a magical country and colour infuses the screen. The impact of Raimi’s creative imagination is reflected in every detail of the visual feast laid out before the audience.
Along his journey, Oz meets some very diverse characters: witches, river fairies, a china girl and a flying monkey. Threading an intellectual yarn through the film is the parallel between Oz’s relationships with characters from the film’s black and white beginning, and his new found relationships with the weird and wonderful inhabitants of the land of Oz.
Franco plays Oscar/Oz with great gusto, and his dazzling smile is a great charm-offensive. The three leading ladies, Kunis, William and Weisz, do an impressive job playing their individual witch-like characters, but fall short, with little depth or background to explain their slightly psychotic nature.
Although Oz the Great and Powerful verges on the ridiculous, sometimes a film’s job is purely to provide escapism for the audience, and on that note Raimi offers not just a shallow storyline to disappear into, but a whole new world.
If only to witness the charismatic exchanges between Franco and a flying monkey, or the creations of Raimi’s imagination, this film is worth seeing and excels to just shy of five stars.
Definitely worth watching in 3D for the full effect; sit back, journey to Oz and let the film hold you spell-bound for two hours.
Oz the Great and Powerful is released in 2D and 3D nationwide on 8th March 2013.
Watch the trailer for Oz the Great and Powerful here: