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Oz the Great and Powerful is one of the movies I’ve been waiting to see since it premiered in theaters. I’m not always able to escape my house in order to watch movies, so I wait with all the other captured parents of the world until the great movies release on DVD. This particular one releases in just 3 days on June 11th! I am extremely grateful to be given the opportunity to review a little early so I could tell you my thoughts.
Oz the Great and Powerful can be considered the prequel to the great classic The Wizard of Oz although there was never an actual prequel book. In fact, it is the story of how the circus magician Oscar found himself as the great ruler and the beginning of the Wicked Witch as we know her from the original classic. The Land of Oz was created by L. Frank Baum in 1900 and consists of 13 tales that began with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. In the spirit of these stories they created this incredible modern version of the land and the interpretation of Oz’s beginnings.
When Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he’s hit the jackpot. Fame and fortune are his for the taking. That is until he meets three witches: Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone’s been expecting. Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity and even a bit of wizardry, Oscar transforms himself not only into a great wizard but into a better man as well.
I fell completely in love with the movie. Although it is quite the comedy, it has its moments of softness that really pull at your heartstrings. It takes you on a roller-coaster ride of emotions towards each of the characters. If anyone could direct a movie that has you emphasizing with the Wicked Witch it would be Sam Raimi, the director of the Spider-Man Trilogy. You can’t help but feel so sad for her, especially when you know what the future holds come Dorothy and her little dog Toto.
The world itself is magical. I can only imagine what it must have been like to see it in 3D! There is a scene when Oz, Glinda, Finley and China Girl are floating in bubbles over enormous emeralds and these ruby flowers begin to open around them. The click and tinkle in their opening, just as if they were crystals softly brushing up and blossoming. There is so much vivid detail that it is difficult to take in the first time watching it. I just kept wanting to watch the movie to be able to take in the new pieces I might have missed that were all around in the land! And that isn’t even getting to the Special Features on the Blu-ray, which are incredible!
- The Magic of “Oz The Great and Powerful” (Second Screen Experience) – An immersive Second Screen experience that details all things Oz. From an interactive map full of secrets and surprises, to an inside look at the spectacular world of Oz. All fans need to do is download the special “The Magic of Oz The Great and Powerful: Second Screen” App (which is free and currently available for immediate download at the iTunes Store for iPads) which provides fans with infinite opportunities to remain connected to their favorite film, its cast of characters and to dive deeper into the magical world of Oz. This App provides exclusive access to invigorating and exclusive content including:
- The Enchanting Characters and Creatures of Oz – From Munchkins and Tinkers to good witches, bad witches, and flying baboons, this piece follows each character and creature of the Land of Oz from inspiration to final outcome.
- The Sounds of Magical Oz – What adds fragility to the sounds of China Girl’s footsteps; ferocity to the tornado; or weight to the flutter of Finley’s flapping wings?
- Sleight of Hand: Zach Braff Puppet Theater – Actor, and voice of Finley, Zach Braff introduces viewers to the Finley mockup.
- Mariah Carey Music Video
- My Journey in Oz by James Franco – A personal story produced and directed by James Franco.
- Mr. Elfman’s Musical Concoctions – An interview with composer Danny Elfman unveils his inspiration in scoring “Oz The Great And Powerful.”
- China Girl and the Suspension of Disbelief – This feature uncloaks the several forms of movie magic employed to bring China Girl to life, from the initial artwork and character design, to the on-set puppeteering during filmmaking, and finally, through each stage of the visual-effects process; and includes an interview with Joey King, the voice of China Girl.
- Before Your Very Eyes: From Kansas to Oz – Production designer Robert Stromberg takes viewers through the set design of the Land of Oz, from sketching his original ideas on a napkin, through to the final set pieces and the accompanying visual effects.
- Mila’s Metamorphosis – Lead makeup artist Howard Berger expands on one of the oldest, most tried-and-true forms of movie magic: makeup design and effects.
- Walt Disney and the Road to Oz – It is well known that Walt Disney had a fascination with the Land of Oz since he was a child. See how that fascination grew into inspiration as he began planning for his own adaptation of the stories in the classic Baum books.
My favorite special feature was China Girl and the Suspension of Disbelief. To see how they created this little porcelain doll that seems so human from a puppet and CGI is fascinating. In fact, the puppet filmed alongside the actors for the movie and it shows scenes where the puppet master is playing China Girl and you could almost believe she was truly real! The costuming is just as fascinating. You can see some of the costumes below!
Oz the Great and Powerful is a movie that brings back the magic of Oz for a new generation. In fact, it is a way to share your own memories with them of the first time you had seen The Wizard of Oz and bring these two beautiful stories together.
You can pick up Oz the Great and Powerful on Blu-ray Combo (pre-order) for $27.99 on Amazon.
Winner of Oz the Great and Powerful on Blu-ray Combo: #128 Cynthia C.
I received a copy of the film for the purpose of reviewing. Opinions are my own and are not influenced by any form of compensation.