While the original Wizard of Oz was a major flop when it was originally released it has no doubt become one the most beloved films of all time. With its timeless success and thirteen sequels to the original book out there it comes as a surprise that there hasn’t been another attempt at a big screen remake or reboot until now. While there have been some other variations nothing on the scale of Sam Raimi’s latest trip to Oz with Oz The Great and Powerful. Can this new journey to OZ come anywhere close to the magic of the original or will it be another major let down?
Oz The Great and Powerful follows a small time shady magician who is swept from Kansas in a tornado to the Land of Oz. Believing he is the great and powerful wizard their prophecy foretold believes he has finally found the fame and fortune he has always wanted. But when he meets three witches who are not convinced he is the great wizard he is thrust into a battle of good and evil in both himself and the Land of Oz If you are a fan of the original film then you will most likely have mixed feelings on this movie. As a whole the movie plays pretty well and entertains. James Franco does a great old school style performance that works for this story, but at the same time is a bit silly at times. The real standout was Michelle Williams who not only delivered a great performance, but seemed to be channeling the original Glinda as well. Mila Kunis was pretty good at first, but then sadly takes a really bad turn as her character evolves and just doesn’t work. She is horribly miscast in this role and one of the biggest issues of the film. Visually this film is beautiful to look at it and Raimi paid close attention to detail to deliver this new world, but grounded in the experience of the original. There are plenty of homage style moments that are sure to make the old school fans smile. The story works fine for what they are trying to accomplish, but at times feels a bit forced.
Love it or not, there is no doubt that Raimi has created a beautiful film that screams a time of film long gone. Whether you have seen the original or no this film is one that works for what they are doing, but doesn’t quite deliver the magic that it could have. With the amount of novels in the series it will be interesting to see if this spawns a new franchise and an inevitable remake of the original.