The just-released trailer for Sam Raimi's re-imagined ,Oz, the Great and Powerful, promises a well acted, beautiful, action-packed, and fun film. James Franco plays the title character of the Wizard, who travels from Kansas in search of greatness. His hot-air balloon is carried away by a tornado to the familiar world of Oz, where color, magic, folliage, and a dark bass-note score dominate.
James Franco returns to his strongest character type, the charlatan. Franco plays a magician who gets in over his head. His antagonist is Theodora, played by Mila Kunis. Theodora is a sultry, naive witch who introduces him to the land of Oz, and to her witch friends. The Wizard struggles to show off his magical skills to impress the witches and earn an Scrooge McDuck-style room of treasure.
But all is not well. Before he takes the throne, the Wizard must confront an evil witch who has been destroying Oz. Here we can expect a journey into danger with friends, a welcome Oz tradition.
The perennial appeal of the original The Wizard of Oz originates with Dorothy, who yearns for a place far away from uncaring adults and a greyscale Kansas world so sincerely that she is transported over the rainbow. That same yearning is in all children, and Judy Garland made it real Adults enjoy The Wizard of Oz through a haze of nostalgia, as we identify less and less with Dorothy, and more with her loving, predictable parent figures.
Oz the Great and Powerful will not have the same emotional appeal. It promises a fun adventure with a likeable, talented cast. I'll even get goosebumps over the wicked witch. But I don't think it will stand up next to the original.
See the trailer here: