Wrote this on March 17th after seeing the film. Posted it on Facebook, felt like it belonged here.
Just saw Oz The Great and Powerful. I thought it was very good. Being a fan of the original film and of some of the books, there were a lot of things included that are in the original book, but left out of The Wizard of Oz film. It really brought me back to my childhood when first reading the book. I can’t tell you how much of it looked like the painted illustrations in the copy of the novel that I own, it really overwhelmed me at times. There were a few things that I may have done differently, but overall it was a really good fantasy film that expands on the world and character of Oz. The Wicked Witch really is a tragic character and they pulled that off nicely here. Forget “Wicked”, this is L. Frank Baum’s world of Oz, so don’t try to compare it. While not a direct adaptation of any of the novels, it does draw from all of the source material. All of the other characters are just as interesting as the leads in their own way and all brought to life by a really good cast and great direction from Sam Raimi. A lot of the style really harkened back to his older films, even some of the scary and fantastical characteristics of the Evil Dead series or Darkman. Movie buffs will notice it immediately.
Blending CGI and practical fx (courtesy of The Walking Dead’s Greg Nicotero) it brings the Land of Oz alive without completely relying on digital animation, there is a lot, but it feels right to use it here. One of the biggest treats is how they designed the opening credits and how they made Kansas and the traveling circus look in the beginning of the film. I even chose to see it in 3D and it was some of the best I’ve seen. Great performances from the whole cast. A prequel that is a lot of fun and pulls from classic movie making, I recommend checking it out. You’d think it be hard to connect a new movie to the original that is now 74 years old, but they did a really good job bringing them together AND allowing them to stand on their own. I think there have been some ‘meh’ reviews from critics because it is hard to compare a new movie to such a classic, but it’s really not fair to go into this judging it that way. I guess you could say it’s not for everyone, but for me it was enough. Maybe we’ll see another one in the next few years and maybe we won’t, but if we do I’d welcome it with open arms.