By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist November 14, 2012 at 8:49AM
You may have forgotten, but Sam Raimi's "Oz The Great And Powerful" has been a long time coming. It actually started production way back in July 2011, meaning it will be just under two years before it hits theaters next spring. But it looks like that time and attention to detail have certainly paid off because if anything, the 3D- and effects-heavy movie looks pretty damn great. The murky, digitally undercooked world of Tim Burton's "Alice In Wonderland" looks nearly amateur by comparison.
But of course, razzle dazzle won't be enough on its own, and the success or failure of the picture will be with the actors and story itself. And while we're not quite sold, we're cautiously optimistic. With James Franco in the lead, we're never quite sure if he's having a laugh or not, but he holds his own well as Oscar Diggs, a magician transported to Oz, who is mistaken as the next King of Emerald City, but steps into the adventure anyway for the bounty of gold at the end of the yellow brick road. On the way, he'll battle two evil witches -- Evanaora (Rachel Weisz) and Theodora (Mila Kunis) -- while being assisted by Glinda (Michelle Williams -- and yeah, they all look pretty luminous).
But it's the visuals that really stand out here, bright, beautifully conceived and feeling every inch like something that demands to be seen on a big screen. Are we looking at the first big blockbuster of 2013? We'll find out on March 1st. Official synopsis followed by the new trailer.
Disney’s fantastical adventure “Oz The Great and Powerful,” directed by Sam Raimi, imagines the origins of L. Frank Baum’s beloved wizard character. When Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he’s hit the jackpot—fame and fortune are his for the taking—that is until he meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone’s been expecting. Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity—and even a bit of wizardry—Oscar transforms himself not only into the great and powerful wizard but into a better man as well.