The Wizard of Oz is one of the most historical movies in cinematic history; people feel in love with Dorothy, as we were enchanted by your story of how a Tornado swept her home from Kansas and into a fantasy land that she was not prepared for – all she wanted was to go back home, but it would take a couple of Witches and a powerful Wizard (along with some friends) that would help her along the way. What we don’t know is how all of that came to be. We all know the Wizard’s famous line “pay no attention that man behind the curtain”, which was the revealing of his fraudulence, but just how did that fraudulence come to be? In a very colourful, witty, and family friendly prequel to the classic film, this movie explains it all.
James Franco plays Oscar (better known as Oz), who is a struggling carnival magician with dreams much bigger than his current surroundings. His greed, selfishness, and uncanny ability to charm women were the key in making the character that he is. The story had a similar beginning with The Wizard of Oz with the reference to the Tornado sweeping him up into a new world, but the difference was that this would be more so a life changing process for Oz, while still keeping his secret of not being the ‘great and powerful’ magician that the people had been expecting. Franco is a good actor, and even when the majority of the movie called for old school over-the-top dramatics, it felt necessary to keep within the characters that were portrayed in the original.
It wouldn’t be an Oz movie without the witches; two wicked ones and the Good one. Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, and Michelle Williams were the unlikely choices of the witches, but they made it entertaining to a certain degree, channeling the old Disney contrast between good & evil (even an ‘apple’ reference that we can relate to with Snow White). Sam Raimi (Director of the Tobey Maguire Spiderman movies) did a good job in keeping some of the original references (Lion, Scarecrow, Tin man, flying monkeys) in the movie for nostalgic purposes, but at the same time, those are things you have to have in there. The moral of the movie is something that I could relate to, along with other people, when it comes to having to lose yourself to help you grow and mature to discover the true potential of your abilities. Also, the ‘fake it till you make it’ phrase comes into play with this movie, and it just goes to show that if you can make the people believe, then that’s all that matters. And that’s what magicians are supposed to do in the first place, right?
This is a nice family movie, with a heartfelt story behind it. The visual effects are great, and the suspense is definitely there. With The Wizard of Oz being such an important piece of Film history, it was imperative that this movie deliver in a way that can leave people happy knowing that everything stuck to the blueprint and left a clear transition towards the original movie. For the sake of the visuals, it’s great to watch it in a theatre, but this was a rental for me if necessary. Enjoy it all the same, but for now, this is my opinion; this is my review
That’s My Word & It STiXX