Oz the Great and Powerful appears to be the last movie directed by Sam Raimi. The unlikely choice of a prequel to the Wizard of Oz story. Since even Disney knows not to remake the original. That being said, Oz the Great and Powerful still pays homage to the 1939 classic. That’s why my brother and I saw the movie with our mom. Since it was our only chance to see an Oz movie in theaters.
Of course recent improvements in technology meant a closer resemblance to the book as well. Making Oz and the Emerald City as bright and colorful as possible. And being a prequel meant throwing in a little Wicked too. Like the original, the opening is in black & white before transitioning to color. A change in aspect ratio was added as well. The film follows a young Oscar “Oz” Diggs and his journey to become the titular Wizard of Oz. I know he worked with Raimi on Spider-Man, but James Franco is still an odd choice to play him. Plus they seriously cast the very non-threatening Mila Kunis as the iconic Wicked Witch of the West. Meanwhile the Wicked Witch of the East appears physically. Their sisterly relationship is obviously inspired by Wicked. Oz gains traveling companions in flying monkey servant Finley, a China Girl doll, and Glinda.
Just like Return to Oz, Oz the Great and Powerful contains no songs. Kind of weird for the only two Disney Oz movies to not do something that Disney is known for. There’s also a lot more talk about high fantasy concepts such as prophecies. While definitely imaginative enough, Oz the Great and Powerful can only come so close to recreating the magic of the original.