Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz. At first he thinks he’s hit the jackpot-fame and fortune are his for the taking. That all changes, however, when he meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz), and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone’s been expecting. Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity-and even a bit of wizardry-Oscar transforms himself not only into the great and powerful Wizard of Oz but into a better man as well.
I was a little wary of this movie at first because I knew it would differ from the books and hoped the changes wouldn’t be too drastic. Thankfully, the movie stayed true to the essence of Oz though a lot was changed.
It follows the familiar story line of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz with a newcomer to the land needing to stand up the the evil witches. Aided by Glinda and accompanied by a flying monkey and a china girl, Oz the Great and Powerful was a fresh take on the land of Oz that Baum himself would have been proud of.
The movie begins with Oscar’s life at a circus and is filmed in black an white. It is not until he has reached Oz that we get full vibrant colour. The animation blended seamlessly with reality creating a very convincing fairy land that has been revamped and re-imagined.
Oscar was an interesting character as he has been a fake his whole life. A fake magician, fake with his many lovers, fake to the point where he no longer even knows who he is or if he is capable of good. As he realizes how much everyone is depending on him and looking up to him he fights back the only way he can – with magic.
I loved the use of magic; both as a metaphor for using what you have and because it was really cool. I am intrigued by magic and illusion and a lot of neat tricks were used to save the citizens of Oz from the evil witches.
This is one of those movies with a little bit of everything: scary action scenes, adventure, romance, mystery… making it the perfect family movie.