I’m cautiously optimistic about Oz: The Great and Powerful, especially now that the full trailer is online. Even though earlier this spring Prometheus showed us how badly prequels can fall short of their mark, Oz may do better when it comes to theaters on March 8th. For one, it’s got a stellar cast: James Franco is the circus charlatan who gets picked up by a tornado and deposited in the magical world of Oz. (I also find it interesting that his character is called only “Oz” on IMDb!) He’s greeted by three good witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz), and Glinda (Michelle Williams).
Because of how he dropped in, Oz is regarded as a wizard and given the treasure in the Emerald City. But it comes with a price: He has to defeat the Wicked Witch. Is it me, or is it clear that Evanora is the villain here? Each of the witches has a color, and hers is green, not to mention that her silhouette seems to match all of the shadowy shots of the Wicked Witch. I assume this movie takes place outside of the Wicked canon, and yet Evanora sounds an awful lot like Elphaba… All I’m saying is, there had better be a love triangle between Oz, Theodora, and Glinda… or maybe even a love quadrangle.
The one thing about the trailer that rubs me the wrong way is all the little CGI creatures. Other prequels (like the Star Wars movies) have relied too much upon these cartoonish imps to make it look “fresh,” but then there’s the temptation to make them silly, which discredits the larger story. There are also a few lines — do I hear Oz saying, “Take five?” — that take me out of it a little bit.
But let’s go back to that cautious optimism! The movie, directed by Spider-Man‘s Sam Raimi, looks gorgeous. I think that it will definitely tie in to our childhood memories of The Wizard of Oz and the fantastical world set out by the books.
Photo: Walt Disney Pictures