Written by Guillermo Troncoso.
It’s been around 74 years since Judy Garland tapped those ruby slippers together in The Wizard Of Oz. It’s considered one of the greatest children’s films of all time and it manages to enchant generation after generation with its sense of awe and magic. When it was announced that Sam Raimi was to direct a prequel, the news was met with both cheers and jeers. Many thought The Wizard Of Oz was too precious a film to be dishonored with a Raimi directed prequel, others were happy to see what he would bring to the table. So, is it any good? I’m happy to say that it is.
This story follows Oscar Diggs, a small time carnival magician who ends up in the magical Land of Oz after a freak tornado captures his hot-air balloon. There he is forced to not only confront the evil witch that is bringing misery across the land, but his own shortcomings as he begins to acknowledge that he may not be such a good man after all.
This is a great deal of fun. It’s definitely got the energy, creativity and passion that you don’t get in many family films any more. Sam Raimi’s over-the-top filmmaking style suits this sort of film perfectly. His swooping, emotive camera captures the story in a joyous way. The film looks amazing. It’s packed with sumptuous costumes, sets and CGI, making the whole thing a visual treat. The 3D is used nicely too, incorporating it sparingly so that you forget that it’s there – until debris comes flying at your face.
The cast isn’t spectacular but they are nevertheless good in their roles. James Franco delivers a good performance in a role that straddles the line between obnoxious and charismatic. Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams don’t really get a lot to do but still manage to put gusto in their characters. At the end of the day, it’s a kids film – you won’t often get multilayered performances that scream depth.
The whole thing does run a little long and there may be one or two scenes that are a little too scary for some of the younger kiddies, but this is a solid film that handles the material quite well. The screenplay ticks off the right boxes and ensures that your interest is held for the 130 minutes of running time.
Oz The Great and Powerful is a fun ride that will delight the kids and at least put a smile on the dial of most adults.
THE REEL SCORE: 8/10