I have seen the Land of Oz on TV, and once in the theater, but I had never been there until last night. I was blown away (pun intended) by a tornado of a movie called Oz The Great and Powerful. I went expecting nothing. How could they make a movie that could ever surpass the original landmark film? But perhaps this film will do for the 3D medium what color did for celluloid some 74 years ago. I have seen my share of 3D films and as I was sitting in the theater waiting for the movie to begin I started to notice that the pair of glasses I held in my hand were slightly different than I remembered them being. I am not really sure if they were different but it started me thinking about how movies can transport you to another place, and Oz sent me there from the moment the house lights dimmed.
Be aware that objects, a smorgasbord of creatures including flying monkeys, will sail directly at you, and if that were all I would have been impressed. There is more. As a viewer you are totally immersed in the world of Oz, it swirls, flutters and twists all around you. The colors and textures are more vivid than any movie I have ever seen. When you combine those things with master story telling you have to start thinking that perhaps this is a landmark film that people will continue to watch year after year for the next 74.
As we all know the Wizard (James Franco) is a bit of a con artist. We learn in the beginning of the film that he honed his craft as a traveling magician in dustbowl era Kansas. His life is crumbling around him when he is swept off to the land that bares his name via what else, a tornado. Upon arrival he is instantly thrust into a world that is as beautiful as it is perilous. There he will meet witches both good and bad (Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams) as well as a loyal flying monkey named Finley (Zach Braff) and a feisty porcelain doll (Abigail Spencer). Navigating this supernatural world with only his practical magic stuffed in a carpetbag will leave everyone including Oz with doubts as to whether he can defeat the wicked witches and free Oz of their tyranny.
The Director, Sam Raimi, whose roots are in stop motion and classic special effect technique is masterful here. When I tell you that the world is completely encompassing I can just as easily say it leaves a lot in your imagination like all great cinema. Hopefully this review has not spoiled any part of the film for you because you really need to experience it in theaters not knowing what will happen next. Honestly, I was blown away.
See Oz the Great and Powerful today!
Disclosure: We got to see an advance screening of the movie above. No other form of compensation was provided to me. Thoughts and opinions are my own.