On CLIPS In March, 2013
OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL
Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time magician and ladies' man with questionable ethics, is on the run from a jealous husband. Escaping in a hot-air balloon, he is caught in a tornado and hurled into the colorful land of Oz. Encountering witches Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams), Oscar must use his powers of illusion to separate good from evil and become the savior of this strange land. "Oz the Great and Powerful" is a magical and captivating prequel to "The Wizard of Oz". Delivering the best movie adaptation of an L. Frank Baum book since the 1939 classic, director Sam Raimi fills the screen with wonder and enchantment. Opening the film in a black and white 1905 Kansas like the original, Raimi stunningly transitions to the richly saturated colors of Oz where 3D hypnotically pulls the audience into the layered landscape. There's plenty to entertain in 2D, but the third dimension provides an amazing addition. James Franco heads an outstanding cast that includes some engaging supporting performances. Besides the three witches, Zach Braff is memorable as Oscar's Kansas assistant Frank and as the voice of sarcastic flying monkey Finley. Joey King is a heartbreaker as a wheelchair-bound young girl in Kansas and the voice of a broken china doll who both desperately seek the magician's help. Michelle Williams also performs double duty as Glinda and Annie, Oscar's adoring girlfriend on planet Earth. The double roles are among the many nods, some extremely clever, to the 1939 cinematic gem. While this highly visual treat is not a musical, Danny Elfman has composed an alluring score with a delightful new tune: "The Munchkin's Welcome Song". The rivalry of the three witches gets much attention and conjures up a few surprises - none of which will be revealed here. "Oz the Great and Powerful" may not rival "The Wizard of Oz" as a masterpiece, but it is a wickedly bewitching tale.
The home video debut (June 11, 2013) of this enchanting movie is spectacular in any dimension. The film transfer matches the theater experience with perfect picture and sound. The vibrant colors of Oz are hypnotizing - even on the small screen. There are several available-to-own choices: DVD, Blu-ray, Blu-ray/DVD combo pack and 3D Blu-ray. All editions contain a Digital Copy for use on various devices. The Blu-ray features a wealth of extras that include featurettes about the music, makeup, production design and much more. James Franco has produced and directed a short about his personal Oz experience that is among the treats. The DVD has only 2 of the bonus features: the fascinating "Walt Disney and the Road to Oz" and bloopers. For those who own a 3D television, the 3D Blu-ray is involving and simply astounding. The extras for this edition are available through the Digital Copy. All Disney disc formats of this film are designed to satisfy. The DVD is great. The Blu-ray is powerful. The 3D Blu-ray is great and powerful.