“We’re off to see the wizard.” This well-known song has a new meaning now that another chapter of The Wizard of Oz legacy has come to theaters. Oz the Great and Powerful, released on March 8 by Walt Disney Pictures in traditional 2D and Disney Digital 3D, RealD 3D, and IMAX 3D, tells the story of how the wizard became the wizard.
In the new movie, Oscar Digs, (James Franco) a conniving carnival magician who lies to women and cheats people of their money, is caught in a tornado while trying to escape trouble in a hot air balloon and much like Dorothy, Digs transported to the magical Land of Oz.
While Dorothy has to guard the ruby slippers, Digs has to protect the people of Oz from the wicked witch of the west. James France, who plays Oscar Digs, is joined by Mila Kunis who portrays the role of Theodora/ the wicked witch and Michelle Williams who plays Glinda. Frank, Digs assistant/ Finley (Zach Braff) a loyal monkey who helps Digs throughout the movie, resembles the character of the Hunk/ Scarecrow (Ray Lahr).
The China Girl, played by Joey King, is a combination of both the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion. Although she always tries to be encouraging and help Digs do the right thing, she is often afraid.
Staying true to the classic beginning, Oz the Great and Powerful starts in black and white while the cast is in Kansas but switches to lively color when Digs enters Oz. The visual effects are mind blowing and will captivate you with how realistic things look.
However some of the camera shots are unsteady and leave you feeling a bit dizzy and nauseous. During the movie, the writers tied together and connected many pieces of the story that weren’t touched on in the first movie.
For example it shows why the Wicked Witch starts traveling by broom, how the wizard concocts the machine that projects only the wizard’s face to the people of Oz, and it even ties in Dorothy’s parents.
This movie gives context to and explains references made in The Wizard of Oz, and it expands on some of the beloved character’s pasts, personalities, and the reasons why they are the way they are. Whether you are a diehard Wizard of Oz fan or you simply enjoyed the movie and are interested in seeing the new addition to the classic story, Oz the Great and Powerful will make you fall in love all over again with the characters and the overall joy that this story brings.
Oz the Great and Powerful is rated PG for sequences of actions and scary images and brief and mild language and is 130 minutes, while The Wizard of Oz is rated G and is 101 minutes long.