It's all about Disney's Oz The Great and Powerful' in the lead up to the opening on March 7. With popcorn in one hand and choc top in the other, I was looking forward to being taken into the world of 'fantasy' that Disney does best.
OZ begins in a small time circus with a magician who always looks for the easy way out of everything. The first 20 or so minutes are in black and white and take the audience through the simple times in the early days of Kansas and what the general public did for entertainment.
James Franco stars as Oscar Diggs, the wayward circus musician with a con man ability to woo crowds and women. He is hurled in a Dorothy like manner through a tornado into the land of OZ. Franco is adequate in the role of a young Wizard of OZ, but I can't help wondering if the director could have cast another lead in the role (not sure who, just an observation).
Once in OZ, Disney pictures shows just why they are the biggest and best animation company in the world. OZ unfolds in a sea of colour that immediately draws you in. I wish I had the opportunity at the preview to watch it in 3D (due to technical difficulties I saw it in 2D).
Arriving in OZ, Oscar Diggs meets an array of characters, some new, some old. He has to decide whether to be the best he can be or just the con man that he has always been. There are some great messages about doing what is right and helping others, which parents will be able to discuss with their kids long after leaving the theatre.
Without spoiling the plot, the three witches are faithfully played by Mila Kunis (Theodora), Rachel Weisz (Evanora) and Michelle Williams (Glinda). Glinda looks for the good in every person, while Evanora (the Wicked Witch of the North) plots the demise of all that is good, including her sister Theodora. Brilliant make up is responsible for the transformation of Theodora into the very green Wicked Witch of the East, and yes Mila Kunis can look like a witch, let's say a 'pretty' ugly witch.
This movie goes toward explaining how The Wizard got to the Emerald City and the beginnings of the successful franchise that has been seen in numerous musicals.
The movie would be best viewed in 3D, due to the vibrant colours and wonderful Disney animation. There is a seamless relationship between the human and animated characters, as well as a faithful representation of all that is OZ.
The movie is good for young and old alike and makes it easy to take your kids to see a genuine film about a fantasy land, without the need for senseless violence. Although there is no singing, this film is still entertaining and worth a look.
I am guessing that this film will give the original 1939 Wizard of OZ, starring Judy Garland, some new viewers.