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Published March 12th 2013
The Prequel to the Wizard of Oz
Disney's Oz The Great and Powerful is conceived as a prequel to Frank Baum's classic The Wizard of Oz, in which the magician of Dorothy's story first discovers the magical land of Oz.
The story is centred in a funfair magician Oscar Diggs (James Franco) in Kansas in 1905 who is swept away by a tornado to a colourful Oz. The plot begins when he is mistaken for the wizard sent to save the people from the Wicked Witch, described in a prophecy.
Courtesy of Disney and Oz The Great and Powerful Official Website
Directed by Sam Raimi, the fantasy adventure film in 3D is a magical experience. The use of special effects, the angles from where some scenes where shot, the action in combination with the possibilities of 3D computer graphics tele-transport the audience to an exciting fantasy world. For those who have visited the parks, the film is an instant ticket to Disneyworld in Orlando. I recommend anyone to watch the film in 3D as it is a wonderful and thrilling adventure.
The colours and designs of Oz in the film remind the spectator of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, yet Oz still manages to achieve an identity of its own.
However, the parallelisms with Alice in Wonderland do not end there. What triggers the plot is also quite similar: an unsatisfied human being that gets swept away to a fantasy world. Alice falls down the rabbit hole and Oscar is swept away by a whirlwind.
The story lacks originality in other aspects. Here we find the archetypical American character with flawed morals who learns and changes to become the hero. Our hero uses Thomas Edison's technological inventions to mislead a parallel world unaware of these notions. Another element used from our world were the fireworks, which reminds us of other stories -like Hocus Pocus, in which the main character uses a lighter and smoke detectors to convince the witches that he is a great wizard. Then, there is a comical anecdotic character -the monkey that accompanies Oz- who resembles the donkey in Shrek.
Forget about Gregory McGuire's intricate version of how the Wicked Witch of the West came to be... According to Oz The Great and Powerful (spoiler alert) she became wicked because of a broken heart. The jilted lover that becomes a witch... you just have to appreciate the allegory.
The performances of the stars were magnificent. James Franco (Oscar Diggs) brought the character to life; he was absolutely charming. Michelle Williams (Glinda) was enchanting; she did justice to the delicate and beautiful witch of the North. Rachel Weisz performance as Evanora was impeccable; indeed, she was the perfect choice for the role. Somehow Weisz managed to inspire many different emotions with the same character. An excellent performance!
Overall, Oz the Great and Powerful in 3D is an amazing fantasy world taken to the screens. It is a Disney production that accomplishes its entertaining purposes. The film is spectacular, hilarious, captivating, and thrilling. A joy to watch!