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Movie Review: Oz The Great and Powerful IMAX 3D
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Oz The Great and Powerful IMAX 3D

Oz The Great and Powerful
Directed by Sam Raimi
Based on the novel, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L Frank Baum
Starring: James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams, Zach Braff, Tony Cox, Bruce Campbell, Joey King
Walt Disney Pictures
Rated PG | 130 Minutes
Release Date: March 8, 2013

It’s time to once again go back to the land of Oz in Oz The Great and Powerful, but this time there is no Dorothy, and we are going to see how it all got started, how the great Oz came to be. But there is a little concern, after the horrible Spider-man 3 movie, can director Sam Raimi gain our trust once again?

You all know the story of Wizard of Oz, and if you don’t, I feel sorry for you. Anyways, like I said, this is a prequel all about the wizard, known here as Oscar “Oz” Diggs and played by James Franco (Spider-man 1-3). Oscar’s not so great and powerful at first; he’s a con artist/magician who just wants to be special or, dare I say, great and powerful. With his faithful (for some reason) assistant Frank, played by Zach Braff (Scrubs), he goes town to town trying to amaze and get rich off the people visiting the circus. And when things seem to be at the lowest, along comes a storm, and Oscar gets caught in a tornado as he is escaping the circus via a hot air balloon. He ends up in the land of Oz, where he is greeted by the lovely Theodora, played by Mila Kunis (That 70’s Show), and she explains the prophecy which involves a great man who is come to save their world. But Oscar seems more interested in her, as he sees himself quite the ladies man, granted it never turns out well, and the same could be said for this situation.

Oscar and Theodora head to the city and meet Theodora’s sister, Evanora, played by Rachel Weisz (The Mummy), and she tells him that he must defeat the Wicked Witch before he can take his place on the throne and gain a wonderful treasure room. Oh and before I forget, along the way to Emerald City, he saves a monkey with wings dressed as a bell boy, Finley, voiced by Braff, who is forever indebted to him for saving his life. And when he goes to fulfill his supposed destiny, hearts are broken, curses are given, and in the end, this con artist of a man must prove to the people that he is indeed the Great and Powerful Oz they have been waiting for.

While the early buzz on this movie was not the greatest, I was still interested in seeing it. I had seen the 3D trailer a few times at the theater and it looked good in that aspect. And to make sure I saw it in the best way possible, I took a road trip to Lincolnshire and checked this one out on a real IMAX screen, in 3D of course. And I would say that is the best way to see it, if you do decide to see it.

Oz The Great and PowerfulAnd if not IMAX 3D, there is no reason to see it until it hits DVD or Blu-ray. Much like the original film, we start off in black and white, and a small square in the middle of the screen, but when Oscar lands in Oz, that is when the screen fills up, with an overload of some amazing colors and visuals and pretty much pays for the price of admission for those few minutes. There is also some nice 3D stuff in the opening credits that is worth mentioning, too. Other than that, I do remember laughing a few times, mostly at the banter between Franco and Braff, and also when the Wicked Witch first makes her appearance. I know she was trying to emulate the witch from the original, but it takes a bit to get over the make-up and over-acting. But I will say that one shining moment for me was when we’re introduced to Glinda, who was played wonderfully by Michelle Williams (Dawson’s Creek). Glinda knows he is not the great one, but helps him learn a lesson and makes him a better man for it.

As the movie goes along you are trying to find the little nods and mentions of stuff from the original, and there are plenty of those, although it did make me want to watch Wizard of Oz again, just to see what I may have missed. Still haven’t done that yet, shows how important that is.

I guess it’s not a horrible movie, and if you have kids who enjoyed the original, I am sure they are bugging you to see this, and there were plenty of kids in the theater at my showing. I would say there were a few intense scenes that may scare the younger kids: let’s just say the flying monkeys are a little scarier in this one. And I can remember a few times I jumped, so there is that. My friend that went with me enjoyed it and I know a few others have too. But for me, it’s a story you have seen a few thousand times, but like I said, it was nice to see all the references to what would happen in Wizard of Oz.

If you are going to see it, I would say check it out in 3D, as there is enough in the movie to make it worth it, but if you can, see it in real IMAX, cause that initial sequence as he enters Oz makes it so worth the extra money. I think that overall I enjoyed more than Alice in Wonderland, and I am a huge Tim Burton fan. If you are looking for something to see in the theater soon, this isn’t a bad choice, if you see it in the right conditions.

There is already talks about a sequel to this, which should be no surprise considering it is doing pretty good at the box office, but I am not sure I need to really see anymore from this universe. I think I got enough of the back story to satisfy any questions I may have had.


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