If someone told you that Sam Raimi was directing a prequel to The Wizard of Oz, one of the most beloved films of all time, and said prequel would star James freaking Franco of all people as the Wizard, you’d balk, right?  After all, Raimi is an incredible director, but Franco as the Wizard?  Well, it looks like Raimi’s gambit may have paid off as—despite my cynicism—the trailer for Raimi’s Oz the Great and Powerful looks pretty great (if a little CGI-heavy).  Check it out below.

The film tells the story of Oscar Diggs (Franco), a “small-time circus magician with dubious ethics,” who gets caught in a tornado that picks him up from the Kansas we remember from the original film (black and white, with a full-screen 3:4 aspect ratio) and drops him squarely in the Land of Oz.  There, he meets three witches, who hire the dubious “Wizard” to take out the Wicked Witch of the West.  Give it a look:

In all, the trailer looks pretty great, though it will be interesting to see how Raimi matches the film up with the original Oz movie, and how well Franco acquits himself in the role of the would-be Wizard.  We’ll all be able to find out on March 8, 2013, when the film is released.

What do you think of the trailer?