Everyone in the Land of Oz knows of The Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz, in fact, even those outside the Land of Oz have heard of the mighty ruler of the emerald city. It's safe to say you don't need to be no cowardly lion or lovable munchkin to know who he is, however, where did he come from and what is his story? Perhaps those who've read the Oz series by L. Frank Baum know, but us simple movie buffs, we have no clue.
Luckily for us, only a short seventy-four years after the release of The Wizard of Oz did Sam Raimi, Joe Roth, Mitchell Kapner and David Lindsay-Abaire create for us a breathtaking masterpiece of an origin story for the mighty wizard who sent Dorothy to receive the Wicked Witch's broomstick.
Oz the Great and Powerful follows the character Oscar Zoroaster Phadrig Isaac Norman Henkel Emmannuel Ambroise Diggs, also known as Oscar Diggs or Oz (played by James Franco), prior to his Wizard title. Oscar is a magician in a travelling circus and much like Dorothy; he gets himself pulled into a tornado in Kansas that transports him to the Land of Oz.
The prequel has us seeing Oscar landing not quite so gracefully in the Land of Oz via a hot air balloon, one that just so happens to have "OZ" detailed into it. It's once crash landing that Oscar meets Theodora (played by Mila Kunis) a beautiful witch in red who informs him that he is the wizard their king had prophesied coming and that he would be the one to save the Land of Oz from the Wicked Witch.
The movie is a warm and light hearted family film with outstanding special effects and equally impressive acting. One does not need to see The Wizard of Oz to understand this film, nor do you need to read any of the books to comprehend the story line. It's a film that teaches us that there is more to life then wealth and power. It teaches us that true greatness doesn't come from how much gold line's your pocket but rather the good that you do, the happiness that you bring and most importantly the happiness and pride you feel in yourself and for yourself.
In Oz the Great and Powerful we witness the wizard transform from a selfish, womanising con-man to the man we know from The Wizard of Oz. We see a man with many a fancy parlour trick to amaze and dazzle but also a man who has learned that all the goodness he has performed during his journey to rescue the Land of Oz has gotten him what he wanted all along, not the selfish path to fame and fortune.
Those who've read the Oz series or seen the original 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz will notice small hints of foreshadowing and references to the original film. You may also be surprised by a few new features added to the Oz world, things you never quite expected. Oz the Great and Powerful is part of an astounding series that amazes both young and old, it has a different feel from The Wizard of Oz but we get a true sense of the Land of Oz in this film. For those effects lovers also, nothing beats seeing the Emerald City and it's surrounding lands in the technology we have today.
If you didn't get a chance to see it in the cinemas, run out and rent a DVD, hire it on Netflix, just obtain the film because it's a spectacular start to what could be a fantastic set of films.
I really enjoyed your review. My 11 year old son & I watched "Oz - the Great and Powerful" on DVD last night. Sam Raimi did wonders containing his creative talents to a PG rating. There were elements of his Spider Man creativity (think Norman Osborne's Green Goblin vs Theodora's green witch). We're looking forward to the next adventure!