Tackling a prequel to one of the most-beloved movies of all time is no small feat. Warmly welcoming such a film can be difficult, as movie classics are clutched to fan's hearts and memories with an ironclad hold. Luckily for Disney, audiences are opening their arms and falling in love all over again with "Oz: the Great and Powerful." Fantastical and phenomenal, the film takes viewers on an extraordinary ride into the Land of Oz and all its incredible intricacies. While just as visually stunning and enchanting as "The Wizard of Oz," "Oz: the Great and Powerful" goes off the familiar yellow brick road and onto its own wondrous course.
This new Oz is very different from the one audiences are familiar with. There is no mighty, mysterious, and all-knowing wizard in place. Gone is the lone homely green witch with the cackling laugh and menacing broom. Instead, she's beautiful for a portion of the time and is accompanied by a duo of equally attractive witches. Forget the lovable three sidekicks. Heck, forget Dorothy and her scruffy little pal, Toto. "Oz: the Great and Powerful" is centered on Oscar Diggs (James Franco), the clever man with a taste for magic who went on to become the almighty wizard that viewers remember and love. The movie tells the tale of his troubled life before Oz, his spirited adventure into the great land, and his journey to discover the truth behind its inhabitants. Along the way, this man finds not only what he's looking for but also who he truly is inside.
While this storyline has upset a few diehard fans, many embrace the new faces and settle in to the new tale as it unfolds. This prequel doesn't disappoint or leave viewers bored with its host of new characters and explanations of how the land fans are familiar with came to be. Every character is packed with personality and possesses the ability to charm viewers. Michelle Williams is beyond wonderful as Glinda, offering up just as much warmth and beauty as Billie Burke did in the 1939 classic. Rachel Weisz is delightful as Evanora, bringing her unmatched class and stoic beauty to the character. Mila Kunis is deliciously evil as Theodora, tantalizing audiences with her wonderful wickedness, much like the original Wicked Witch of the West. Some viewers may struggle to see Franco as the wizard, though his charm and wit make him a likable character that very much embodies the knowledge of the past wizard.
A few fans have been disappointed with the lack of musical numbers, a major theme in the classic. While this upset is certainly understandable, "Oz: the Great and Powerful" simply isn't about the music. This film tells a much more dramatic story than "The Wizard of Oz," and music numbers would detract from this. Random musical interludes are just not suited for such a deep, thought-provoking film. The ache is still there, though, as there is no classic like "Somewhere over the Rainbow" for viewers to clutch on to.
Of everything the movie has to offer, audiences can't help endlessly gushing over the look of this film. With so many brilliant colors and breathtaking sights, "Oz: the Great and Powerful" has been wooing viewers left and right with its beauty. From stunning aerial views of Oz to the creepy dark forests thatched with vines and eeriness, each and every setting is done to perfection. Familiar scenes from the classic film are redone with the help of today's technology, improving upon the original look and simply surprising viewers with how incredible yet long-familiar they appear.
Despite the love of how things look, audiences are a bit turned off about the use of CGI characters in the film. Although some find them enchanting and pleasant, others detest the new additions. Some viewers are up in arms at the new look of the familiar foes, the flying monkeys. Regardless of how they feel about certain characters, audiences do agree that today's special effects have created a truly magical Land of Oz.
As a whole, "Oz: the Great and Powerful" has done its job in explaining Oz and all its wonders to its viewers. Audiences are brought along for an exciting new ride and get to experience the world of Oz before the wizard came into power and prominence. The film has brought the classic tale to an entire new generation and satisfied lifelong fans with its gentle handling of the beloved storyline. Of course the film can't match up to its predecessor, but it certainly stands on its own two feet just fine.