Since last fall, I’ve been counting down the days till “Oz: the Great and Powerful” released. The title alone was enough to pull me in – just about everyone has a soft spot for the ditzy brunette in braided pigtails skipping down a golden road of bricks with her loyal henchman and Scotty dog. And then the trailer was phenomenal. So my standards were set exceptionally high for this one.
The general storyline was basic: how the Wizard of Oz, played by James Franco, got to the Land of Oz and became who he was. Original characters are a part of the plotline, while also explaining their story. We are also introduced to new characters, including China Girl, a porcelain doll, and Finley, a flying monkey also serving as a butler to Oz.
So on one quiet afternoon, I raced down to the theatre with nothing better to do but see this movie I had so long anticipated. I waited in line for a ticket, and when I finally got to the salesperson, the only ticket available for my movie time was 3-D, which hiked up the price tag enough. But not only that, it was also in IMAX. Add up a few more figures, and you come to a grand total of $15 for a movie ticket. Needless to say, I was a little desperate. This better be one heck of a movie.
I parked in the middle of the theatre with my popcorn and soda, threw on my IMAX, 3-D goggles, and settled down for a film that I was not entirely sure was worth the cash I just threw down at the box office. If I was already afraid my dreams of a great prelude to the original Oz would be crushed, now I was terrified.
The credits rolled at the beginning of the film, and in IMAX 3-D, this is trippy. Black and white checkered-print flies across the screen in mind-baffling patterns, making movie goers oh-and-ah in amazement. This goes on for a few minutes, with a great score playing in the background and trick-of-the-eye images flash quickly around the screen, mystifying some and making others motion sick.
We are then swept into Kansas in the time before Oz. A small circus is traveling through and we are introduced to Oz, a wizard for the show. In a fight with one of the body builders, Oz is swept away in a hot air balloon into a tornado that drops him in the Land of Oz, and this is where our story begins.
Brought together by bright colors, a dreamlike world is created right before our eyes. Oz floats down a crystal clear river where he is first introduced to the beauty of this mystical land. Bright flowers the size of elephants open towards the sun as you pass them, water lilies make music as water drips onto their pads, and the creatures of Oz float by greeting the wizard and humming beautiful songs.
Oz first meets Theadora, a witch played by Mila Kunis. She falls in love with Oz while journeying with him towards the Emerald City to present him to her sister, Evanora, played by Rachel Weisz, that the prophecy of a Wizard being sent to save the Land of Oz from the wicked witch has been fulfilled.
Of course, there are some girl fights, epic battle scenes, and adventure along the way that is signature for Disney fantasy films. The movie, a total of about two hours, flew by. And before I knew it, the Land of Oz was saved from the wicked witch, the Wizard became the ruler, and I had found my new favorite movie.