Walt Disney Pictures’ fantastical adventure Oz the Great and Powerful, directed by Sam Raimi, imagines the origins of L. Frank Baum’s beloved character, the Wizard of Oz. When Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he’s hit the jackpot — fame and fortune are his for the taking — that is until 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.
Oz the movie is great and powerful! It is a feast for the eyes, fuel for the imagination, and a trip to another world for two hours. James Franco is charming as Oscar Diggs, the carnival magician, also known as Oz. He is chased by the Strong Man and takes flight in his balloon. The balloon is swallowed up by a tornado and soon Oscar finds himself in the land of Oz.. He prays to God for another chance to do better with his life and he gets that chance.
In this fantastic world Oscar comes across witches, both good and evil, Munchkins, Winkies, flying baboons, and ultimately, his destiny. There are a few jump scenes which may frighten young children. The youngsters I screened the film with giggled at the antics of a monkey named Finley and several of the other scenes as well. The 3D effects were impressive. Like the original version, this movie starts in Kansas in black and white and in the old fashioned small screen. When the wizard lands in Oz, the film turns to rich colors and widescreen. There is an eerie Dark Forest and a humorous China Town, featuring a China Doll character! In an enchanting scene, Oz glues her two broken legs back together. The Dark Forest features fog and creepy branches that resemble arms. Ultimately it is revealed the wizard must destroy the witch’s wand to be successful and keep the people safe and Glinda, the good witch helps Oz. This movie contains a lot of action and humor and is visually stunning. A scene with a flock of colorful birds in Oz was one of the few CGI scenes early in the movie that didn’t seem real. Just about all the rest of it will have you believing that you too, like the wizard, are in the land of Oz. My one minor complaint is that the Munchkins, who were delightful, were in the movie too short a time.
See this one soon, and your eyes and imagination will thank you!