Truly great movies don’t surface on the silver screen nearly enough these days. Fortunately, Oz the Great and Powerful is a rare exception. I caught an advance screening of this fanciful film that opens to the public on Friday, March 8, and it is nothing but dazzling!
Oz is an eye-candy delight visually speaking. Supreme cinematography, gorgeous costumes and lots of CGI that surpasses anything ever seen. And the 3D effects are stunning all the way through.
The casting is perfect. James Franco’s past movie history has been hit and miss with roles, but he is endearingly charming as the Wizard. He brings a succinct amount of sheepishness, humor and ultimate goodness to his character. Michelle Williams delivers a beautiful portrayal of Glinda the Good, full of sweetness but fiercely powerful when the necessary push comes to shove. Mila Kunis’ role as Theodora is the most compelling, however. Her transformation into the Wicked Witch of the West and how she plays it is outstanding.
Sam Raimi’s directorial masterpiece is cleverly written by Mitchell Kapner and David Lindsay-Abaire, based on L. Frank Baum’s infamous tale about the Land of Oz. Considering the Wizard’s dubious reality surrounded by trickery and illusion, the writers hit the proverbial bull’s eye.
Some fun, new characters come into play, notably Finley (the good flying monkey), the China Girl and Knuck the Munchkin (comically played by Tony Cox).
Through and through, Oz the Great and Powerful gives viewers imaginative new insight into a legendary story that is timeless. And I love how Raimi pays homage to 1939′s The Wizard of Oz by way of shooting the first scenes in black and white before Franco’s character is blown away by the twister in his balloon to the vibrantly colorful Land of Oz.
On a side note, parents, be aware that some elements of this movie might scare young children, particularly the evil flying baboons. Best suited for ages 8 and older.