Oz the Great & Powerful (2013), a plethora of color, sound and emotion
Oz the Great and Powerful tells the story of the Wizard of Oz, long before Dorothy ever landed there.
In this visually stunning cinematic journey, Oscar “Oz” Diggs, a small-time circus magician is carried away in a hot air balloon and ends up in Oz; a magical land.
James Franco who plays Oz brings out a delightfully funny yet unethical character who dreams of greatness.
In Oz he gets the chance to become great and powerful, yet inkling beneath this facade is a courageous man with a good heart.
Franco has displayed time and time again his veracity as an actor with an array of roles ranging from villain to hero, serious to comic. For me, his most powerful performance would have been as James Dean, but that’s for another time.
Oz starts out at a circus fair in Kansas and everything is literally black and white. It depicts his perspective of things and allows the audience to empathize with his character. We are also given an insight into his character and a brief back-story.
Oz’s ethics is questionable. He has had a number of female stage assistants, all leaving with broken hearts. And an assistant who he calls a “trained monkey”, although the assistant regards him as a friend.
When he lands in Oz, everything becomes colorful. For the first time he begins to believe in something.
Remember Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow and Tin Man from Wizard of Oz? Well Oz has all their weaknesses. He is a coward, doesn’t seem to have a heart (it’s obvious) and his got the brains but doesn’t use it for good.
The film canvases the strong but sometimes destructive power of love. Oz has a knack for making women fall in love with him. However, he, like the Tin Man, does not have one to give. Eventually, this will be used by the Wicked Witch to create another wicked one.
There are actually three witches in Oz. Theodora (Milla Kunis), Evanora (Racheal Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams).
Kunis does an amazing job and bewitches with her performance of a green monster and Weisz is blatantly evil. Williams on the other hand brings a beautifully contradicting character that is sugary sweet to her evil witchery sisters.
There are also a number of lovable characters especially China Girl who while made of china, an inanimate object, is full of emotion which adds to the element of contrast.
The audience will also be introduced to Cowardly Lion for the first time, although he makes a short cameo. It is during the scene where Oz tries to save the winged monkey.
Oz is directed by Sam Raimi who puts a brilliant display of colorful vision and from what I gather a sequel has been approved.
There are a number of loose ends that could be used to carry the story further, even a remake of the 1939 classic, Wizard of Oz. However, that will only be revealed in time.
Oz the Great and Powerful is a plethora of colors, sound and emotion.