#REVIEW: “OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL”
Few Films truly take you away to another World and make you fall so much in love that you are sad to leave by the end of it all. Such is the magic that is Oz The Great and Powerful, Director Sam Raimi‘s sorta Prequel to The Wizard of Oz. Expectations are high for the $200-million Production and the question on everyone’s mind is, just how good it really is, with the bar raised so impossibly high in its association with such a widely-revered legacy.
We are introduced here to an on-the-run Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a Kansas Circus Magician of questionable morals, who while in the heat of pursuit, manages to escape from an infuriated Pursuer on a balloon, swept away to the Land of Oz. Upon arrival, he learns that he just may be the great Wizard destined to save its People from destruction. Unconvinced that he is the great Wizard of Oz, he becomes entangled in a deeply-seeded feud between three Witches: Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams). Offered riches by Evanora, Oscar is assigned the task of finding and destroying despised Glinda‘s Wand before realizing that his quest for fortune and fame might be coming at the expense of standing for the greater evil. Matters are complicated further as Theodora develops affections for Oscar, before realizing that his heart belongs to the good-hearted Glinda. What amounts is a war of catastrophic proportions, putting at risk the lives of the innocent. Oscar must think quickly, overcoming his own self-doubts and pulling together every ounce of his magical craftiness to help save the people of the Land of Oz from the tyranny of Theodora and Evanora.
Words cannot describe the breathtaking beauty we witness here – a gorgeous land of sprouting Ruby-petaled Flowers, Rainbows, endless Poppies and Castles. Seeing Oz The Great and Powerful in anything but 3D would be a sin. The Visuals complement and paint a colourful backdrop, never detracting from the compelling Story to be told. We are transported to a world where Animation and Live Action collide seamlessly in harmony.
Williams illuminates, an immaculate vision of beauty – her performance feeling authentic and faithful to the legacy. Kunis shows her true range, transitioning from sweet to deliciously nasty – particularly effective at the latter, while Weisz gets to have a bit of fun at last after a long string of heavier roles. Zach Braff and Child Actor Joey King, lend their talents mostly in voice form but are remarkably good in their supporting roles as Finley the Flying Monkey and China Girl respectively. Alas, it is Franco who carries much of the weight here in a role unlike anything we’ve seen him in, and he succeeds largely in making us root for him in his growth as both Hero and a Man. The struggles are great and the battles are epic, all worthwhile for the sake of Good.
It is rare that a Film is so compelling that it leaves you as visually and spiritually spellbound as Oz The Great and Powerful. Indeed, the Film is worthy of a place alongside the greatness that is The Wizard of Oz and for a new generation, it most certainly is destined to be a Classic. Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Canada releases on March 8, 2013.