Starring: James Franco, Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz, Mila Kunis, Zach Braff, Joey King
Directed by Sam Raimi
Run Time: 130 mins
Genre: Action/ Adventure/ Fantasy
Opens March 8th
By Lisa Minzey of The Reel Critic.com
Hello Phoenix Film Fans! This week’s new release is the eagerly anticipated prequel to the classic 1939 film, “The Wizard of Oz”. “Oz the Great and Powerful” takes a look at how the wizard from the original film ended up in Oz and his role in shaping its destiny.
Small time magician/ con man Oscar "Oz" Diggs (James Franco) finds himself in a bit of a pickle one day at the circus. All in one afternoon he is called out as a fraud for not healing a young wheel chair bound girl, and the jilted lover of one of the circus performers he was seducing, finds out about his ploy. In an attempt to escape, Oz climbs into a hot air balloon right when a tornado was blowing through town, transporting him to a fantastical, vibrant, Technicolor world filled with wondrous creatures.
One of the first people he encounters in the strange land is a young woman claiming to be a witch, Theodora (Mila Kunis). She claims that he is the one the prophecy foretold of, a man would come to the land of OZ to save them all from the wicked witch and her army of baboon flying henchmen. Oz tries to weasel his way out of it, but once he hears that he will inherit a kingdom; all the gold and riches of the land, he's all in. Along their journey back to the Emerald City, Theodora becomes rather fond of Oz, claiming a romantic stake on him. Oz is not too keen on this, but indulges Theodora until he can get to the city. Oz also saves a flying monkey named Finley (Zach Braff) who pledges his lifelong allegiance to serve him until the day he dies.
Once they reach the Emerald City, Theodora's sister Evanora (Rachel Weisz) is not as convinced that Oz is the one the prophecy foretold of. Evanora gives Oz a task, go kill the wicked witch and the Emerald City, he will reign as its king. Never killing a witch before, he's not sure he's up for the task but money talks.
Oz and Finley set out to kill the witch and along the way save a young girl and discover that the so called "wicked witch", Glinda (Michelle Williams) is not what she appears to be revealing the true nature of the rules of Oz.
Now Oz and his rag-tag followers must take on the impossible to free the people of Oz. Will Oz be able to overcome his selfish ways, or will the magical land perish under the rule of the true wicked witch?
Adaptations, remakes, prequels and sequels to beloved films can be a rather risky, challenging endeavor as an artist, especially when the subject matter is a classic Hollywood movie. Since the theatrical release of the “The Wizard of Oz” in 1939, the film has generated an award winning Broadway musical, several TV films and countless cultural references. Director Sam Raimi (Spiderman, Xena: Warrior Princess, The Evil Dead)) had an enormous responsibility to the fans of the beloved film and passed with flying colors. The attention to details from the first film that made it into Raimi’s film is astounding. From the opening credits to the various scenes and characters of Oz, the magical journey the viewer goes through is exciting, thrilling and at times a little frightening with some of the baboon creature. I don’t say this often, but this is a film that you want to see in 3D, as it is so magical that it’s worth being a part of. Be sure to check out “Oz the Great and Powerful” when it opens in theaters nationwide starting Friday March 8, 2013.