Oz the Great and Powerful (Sam Riami, 2013)
Far from his first inspired films, Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2, Dark Man, The Quick and the Dead, and even Army of Darkness, Sam Raimi’s adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s Oz the Great and Powerful visually surpasses any other release in High Defintion with its satured bright colors and fantastic imagery. Telling how the magician got into the world of Oz that will eventually be visited by Dorothy.
Oscar Diggs (James Franco) is a typical magician traveling from little town to little town in Kansas with a troop of a strong man, acrobats, clowns, and every typical character you find in a travelling circus. He is a con man who would like to be as great as Houdini and as ingenuous as Edison. However, he tricks every beautiful women who gets on his road until he has to flew off with a hot air balloon that gets into a tornado that brings him to the world of Oz. There, he’ll have a chance to be someone and be a better man. On his way to become the Wizard of Oz he meets Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz), Finley the flying monkey (Zack Braff), and many other characters.
Just like The Wizard of Oz, the real world is shot in a crisp black and white and in a square picture frame. Once we get in the Land of Oz, bright and vivid colors in a letterbox wakes the screen. It is also a family movie that charms and gets everyone into the quest to get the Emerald City and get the Wicked Witch out for Oz to finally be its wizard.
The back story of Oscar is interesting even if it is not that original. However, just like any Disney picture there is a nice morale to the whole plot and I think that it is rightly told. Of all the aspects of the story that I thought were well done there’s how Oscar is a man and does not learn real magic and he is not a superhero either. He does tricks and masters them.
Overall, I think that it is easy to compare this adaptation with another grand scale fantastic movie : Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, and I would easily state that Burton’s was poorer and lacked in magic if you will. Even if Raimi’s movie is very middle of the road on the directing job and well executed I don’t think that it will be a film for the ages. It is a nice entertainment a least.