By: Sarah Marasigan
“Oz the Great and Powerful.” Just hearing that name, for most people, will conjure many songs and characters. The film-makers concept was to go back before Dorothy and Toto and map the journey from Kansas to Oz of the wonderful wizard himself. Here he is known as Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a carnival magician who uses his bag of tricks to attract women. He is no L. Frank Baum’s wizard, but the idea for the character is brilliant. He is the kind of character artist Mark Twain would have come up with.
The very start of “Oz the Great and Powerful” is a real treat because it is in black and white on a square screen with carnival theme. It is really an exhilarating moment when he seduces one woman too many, angering strong men who try to attack Oscar. He finds himself jumping into a hot air balloon to escape the madness, as he sees a funnel cloud start to get closer and closer to him.
After he wishes to live on and stop his con artists schemes, you see the screen widen and color seeps in. And there you enter in Oz. Oscar meets a beautiful young woman named Theodora (Mila Kunis), who asks if he is the wizard predicted by the prophecy, whom will free the kingdom of Oz from enslavement of the wicked witch. He says he is, of course, hoping to attract Theodora and more so to gain access to the kingdom’s supplies of gold. But to prove that he is really the wizard and collect his gold, he has to kill a certain wicked witch, along the way picking up a his new assistant monkey (Zach Braff) that flies and talks, and soon a sassy talking China Doll comes along too.
This movie is very distinctly different from Victor Fleming’s 1939 classic, though James Franco did a fantastic job, as he floats above the role of Oz. As well as the trio of the three wicked witches (Rachel Weis, Mila Kunis, and Michelle Williams) who share the best scenes of the movie. It takes you to a wonderful and mythical journey through the Land of Oz, and is definitely a must see.