Oz: The Great and Powerful.
‘If you believe in yourself you can achieve anything’ is the motto of this story. Now add a heavily sugared dose of Disney and you have an idea of what you have let yourself in for.
The film starts in traditional 4:3 ratio in b/w just like The Wizard of Oz. And of course land into Oz with Technicolor or whatever they call it these days. Oz is truly a beautiful land and some of the effects are amazing.
James Franco is Oz. He is a charmer, charlatan and player. Rather like some of the men I have dated!
Those who already know and love the story of the wizard of Oz will recognise subtle leads from the original film. Watch out for the horse of a different colour, a flying money, Glenda the good witch and of course Munchkins and the yellow brick road.
Mila Kunis (who has eyes larger than Bambi – how do Disney do it?!) plays Theodora, a witch looking after the Emerald city with her sister, Evanora played by Rachel Weiss. When Oz arrives in Oz he is mistaken for the Wizard in the prophecy. And knowing there is riches for a reward he pretends he is the great wizard to win the reward.
New characters for this film include the china doll, who is adorable and Water fairies that bite. Like the original Wizard of Oz, many of the characters from Oz’s real life are transported into Oz. The china doll is obvious as the little girl who believes in Oz but cannot walk. His friend is Frank who is also Finley the flying monkey. And it is Disney, so the girl he always loved back home becomes Glinda the good witch.
The film keeps a good pace and is enjoyable all the way through. It might be scary for small children and although it is a PG, it does have a warning about a mild fantasy threat. It’s a first for me, but I remember being scared as a child of the flying monkeys in the original Wizard of Oz!
Verdict: If you need to forget about these austere times, this is the perfect film to take you away to a magical land (for a few hours anyway).