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Sam Raimi steps outside his comfort zone for Oz: The Great and Powerful. The director alongside James Franco leads this colorful prequel to 1939′s The Wizard of Oz. Based on L. Frank Baum’s novels, the film is a funny, heartwarming and worthy entry into the Oz series.

The Players:

  • Director: Sam Raimi
  • Screenwriter: Mitchell Kapner and David Lindsay-Abaire (screenplay), L. Frank Baum (novel)
  • Cast: James Franco, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz, Zach Braff, Joey King, Bill Cobb, Abigail Spencer, Tony Cox
  • Cinematography by: Peter Deming
  • Original Music by: Danny Elfman

The Plot:

Lowly carnival magician Oscar Diggs (James Franco) yearns for something more in life. When he’s swept up into a tornado, he’s given the chance of a lifetime. He’s transported to a magical land called Oz. It’s there that he’s mistaken for the savior, who’ll rescue its people from torment by an evil witch. With the help of Glinda the Good (Michelle Williams), Oscar travels the yellow brick road to greatness.

The Good:

  • 3D: These days, 3D is a nuissance. It’s rarely worth the price of admission and is a big headache (literally). But it’s addition to Oz: The Great and Powerful is warranted. Raimi researched the best ways to bring it across and it shows. The 3D element doesn’t wear off after the first 10 minutes of the film. It sticks with you and makes the the Land of Oz pop.
  • Production Design: The sets are amazing. Everything from the Emerald City, to the yellow brick road and Munchkin Land are breathtaking. They harken back to The Wizard of Oz but are sharper versions of the originals.
  • Visual Effects: 3D aside, the special effects were in a league of their own. This film could have easily veered into camp but Raimi keeps it classic. Once you enter Oz, the CGI is vibrant and full of life. It really enhances the story’s fantasy element.
  • Story: Speaking of the story, it’s simple and multigenerational. There’s an arc that Oscar and the witches go through, that could be applied to anyone. There are heartbreaking moments, but lots of laughs. There’s a real and necessary balance there.
  • Diversity: In Raimi’s Oz, everyone is represented. The original film is iconic, but considering the time it was made, it wasn’t known for its diversity. In The Great and Powerful, the supporting cast and extras are filled with people from all walks of life. It was great to see various minorities get screen time. It’s a small gesture that lets kids from all over know they too can be part of this world.
  • Direction: Is this the same guy who directed the Spider-Man Trilogy? Sam Raimi really outdoes himself. The movement of the camera, the angles and 3D make for a fully immersive experience. Oz: The Great and Powerful is a step up in his filmmaking.

Overall:

Oz: The Great and Powerful is a fun ride that will stand the test of time. It’s definitely worth your money.

The Rating: 10/10

Oz: The Great and Powerful is now playing in theaters everywhere.

Photo Gallery:

Trailer:

Will you be seeing Oz: The Great and Powerful this weekend?