By: Andrea Rodriguez
Curious to see what surprises are down the yellow brick road where awaits a fantastical world and a great story, then Andrea Rodriguez an unbelievably magical film for you to check out!
Other Side Drive: Tuesday
The wait is finally over Disney fantastical adventurist. To attempt a follow-up to a beloved classic such as, The Wizard of Oz, would seem entirely risky; yet, there is sheer magic in Sam Raimi’s ‘Oz: The Great and Powerful. This engaging, entertaining and utterly bewitching fairy tale fable pleasingly evokes the 1939 classic while being entirely in tune with the sensibilities of modern-day audiences.
As clear admiration to that legendary picture, it opens in black-and-white with the traveling magician Oscar Diggs (James Franco) at a family circus in 1905 Kansas. It’s no secret that Oscar will eventually become the Wizard; all that matters is how he gets there, and what follows is a beautiful journey of how an ordinary man can become a great man with a good heart and a little bit of faith.
“Step this way. See the most wondrous sights imaginable; acts to delight to thrill, and to mystify. “
OZ- “Kansas is full of good men. I don’t want to be a good man; I want to be a great one. No I don’t want to die. I haven’t accomplished anything yet. Please!”
A giant tornado whisks him right into its eye, where he watches with wide-eyed horror as every manner of debris flies dangerously around him. As Dorothy was in The Wizard of Oz, Oscar is greeted by a kind and beautiful witch, Theodora (Mila Kunis), who is immediately spellbound by the possibility that he could very well be the great and wonderful wizard that an ancient prophecy had foretold. Those familiar with the tale will recall that Theodora is but one of the witches of Oz. Besides Theodora, is her sister Evanora (Rachel Weisz) as well as the supposed evil one, Glinda (Michelle Williams); whom Evanora accused of murdering her father.
Theodora- “He is the wizard.”
Evanora- “The wizard, or so he says. I mean did it not occur to you that he might be an impostor and lead with the wicked witch sent here to kill us.”
Theodora- “The wicked witch don’t be ridiculous.”
Evanora- “I’m not the one who is underestimating her cleverness. Or maybe it’s you I’m underestimating. Have you finally joined her side sister?
Theodora- “I am on no one’s side.”
There is of course much more than just visual bombast on display; in fact, Raimi uses these in service of a story that is full of heart and nerve. Cast as an unprepared man whom destiny calls to greatness. The Wizard is a surprisingly emotional character study of a flawed hero who eventually finds it within himself to rise above himself. That change of heart is portrayed in a fittingly heart-stopping climax engineered on illusion and imagination, a grand magic show set right in the heart of Emerald City that again brings to mind the exposure at the end of The Wizard of Oz of the Wizard’s identity.
Oz- Turn it back on!”
Tinker- “We have a loose wire. The screw is stuck.”
OZ- “Use this.”
Tinker- “Got it.”
Theodora- “This can’t be.”
OZ- “You cannot defeat me. I’m immortal. I am the Great and Powerful Wizard of OZ.”
If there is one blemish to an otherwise outstanding accomplishment, it is James Franco’s casting as the Wizard. While he does bring a slippery charm to the Wizard, he lacks the dramatic stature necessary to make the character a more compelling one.
So, like The Wizard of Oz, this spin-off is good old-fashioned family entertainment. Just because this film comes late in Hollywood’s recent obsession with fairy tales, should not at all deter you from making a beeline for it. This is hands down the best of them . I highly recommend this film that is true to its title. It is wonderful, an ageless and timeless fantasy deserved to be enjoyed in history.