Memories of the Wizard of Oz are vivid for many of us, from the black and white real world of Dorothy to the technicolor world of Oz where she lands after being twirled up into a tornado. Did you ever wonder how the wizard got to Oz? I did and will now get to see the story of Oz in the 2013 Disney movie “Oz: The Great and Powerful.”
This prequel 3D movie, directed by Sam Raimi, begins in black and white and transforms to color after Oscar Diggs, a circus magician, escape artist, and cad who wants to be a great man, gets similarly sucked from Kansas into an Oz-bound tornado while on board a flying hot air balloon. Oscar who becomes Oz is played by James Franco. Once he has crossed over the rainbow into the world of Oz and the Emerald City, he meets evil witches Theodora played by Mila Kunis and Evanora played by Rachel Weisz, and the good witch Glinda played by Michelle Williams. But, there is no Dorothy, ruby slippers, Scarecrow, Tin Man or Cowardly Lion in this prequel; Dorothy’s character is still in Kansas with Toto! The Wizard of Oz is young in this movie and has not yet become the old wizard Dorothy will follow the yellow-brick road to meet. The three witches have been expecting a wizard to arrive in Oz, but do not believe Oscar is that wizard. Glinda is the only witch who sees the best in Oscar despite his touch of selfishness.
The movie is said to be filled with Oscar’s magic of “illusion, ingenuity-and-even a bit of wizardry ,” as Oscar becomes a better man.” The land of Oz is brought to life with the detailing of Robert Stromberg who was the production designer for Avatar and Alice in Wonderland. He made huge and beautiful old-fashioned sets for the filming, avoiding a lot of blue and green screen editing. Mila Kunis as Theodora said that the green of the Emerald City was the most “amazing color I’ve ever seen in my life.” She also was awed by Glinda’s castle created as a movie set. Love it!
The screenwriter is Mitchell Kapner who drew inspiration and a timeline from L. Frank Baum’s second, third and fourth books. Per Sam Raimi, Kapner then imaginatively created the screenplay.
I love musicals; this movie is not a musical. When my sister and I first watched the Wizard of Oz, we likely enjoyed it with some Jiffy Pop popcorn with the aluminum swirled top that blew up like a hot air balloon as each kernel got hot. This time, likely movie theater buttered popcorn for me as I want to see the 3D version when it opens on March 12th of 2013.
I hope that the movie will include a version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” as Oscar drifts down or crashes into the Land of Oz. I can’t sing, but I can hum and this is a nice humming song. I am learning to whistle and hope to one day be able to whistle the rainbow tune.
Anyway, I have digressed enough. Here is the movie’s trailer on the Disney site. Enjoy your popcorn!