Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Cary Fukunaga Finds His Evil Clown Pennywise for 'It' Remake Cary Fukunaga Finds His Evil Clown Pennywise for 'It' Remake Watch: Ryan Gosling Finally Eats His Cereal in Tribute to Meme Creator Ryan McHenry Watch: Ryan Gosling Finally Eats His Cereal in Tribute to Meme Creator Ryan McHenry Quentin Tarantino Enjoys Running the New Beverly, Even When He's Shooting a Movie Quentin Tarantino Enjoys Running the New Beverly, Even When He's Shooting a Movie See Andrew Garfield in First Images from Martin Scorsese's 'Silence' See Andrew Garfield in First Images from Martin Scorsese's 'Silence' Carey Mulligan Just Says No, Goes Full Feminist with 'Far from the Madding Crowd' and 'Suffragette' Carey Mulligan Just Says No, Goes Full Feminist with 'Far from the Madding Crowd' and 'Suffragette' 6 Things Non-Record-Breaker 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' Reveals about the Current Box Office 6 Things Non-Record-Breaker 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' Reveals about the Current Box Office Box Office: 'Far from the Madding Crowd' Starring Carey Mulligan Leads Specialty Openers Box Office: 'Far from the Madding Crowd' Starring Carey Mulligan Leads Specialty Openers Guillermo del Toro Feted at San Francisco Film Fest: "I saw my first corpse at age 4" (Video) Guillermo del Toro Feted at San Francisco Film Fest: "I saw my first corpse at age 4" (Video) Oscar Predictions 2016 Oscar Predictions 2016 It Looks Like David Lynch's 'Mulholland Drive' Is Indeed Coming to Criterion It Looks Like David Lynch's 'Mulholland Drive' Is Indeed Coming to Criterion Cary Fukunaga Teams with 'Brokeback Mountain' Writers for A24's First Original Film Cary Fukunaga Teams with 'Brokeback Mountain' Writers for A24's First Original Film Amy Berg's Sex Abuse Doc 'An Open Secret' Finally Lands Distribution, Goes to Cannes Amy Berg's Sex Abuse Doc 'An Open Secret' Finally Lands Distribution, Goes to Cannes Whither Sony? No Place to Go But Up Whither Sony? No Place to Go But Up Hollywood, Please Don't Remake Nicolas Roeg's 'Don't Look Now' Hollywood, Please Don't Remake Nicolas Roeg's 'Don't Look Now' Riviera Maya Film Fest Dares to Bring Edgy Fare to Cinema-Starved Mexican Audiences Riviera Maya Film Fest Dares to Bring Edgy Fare to Cinema-Starved Mexican Audiences Cannes First Look: Hou Hsiao-Hsien's Long-Awaited Martial Arts Epic 'The Assassin' Cannes First Look: Hou Hsiao-Hsien's Long-Awaited Martial Arts Epic 'The Assassin' '54: The Director's Cut' Comes to Digital HD in All Its Hedonistic Glory '54: The Director's Cut' Comes to Digital HD in All Its Hedonistic Glory Mark Hamill Shares Vintage Photos from the 'Star Wars' Set Mark Hamill Shares Vintage Photos from the 'Star Wars' Set Hear a Rare Recording of One of Stanley Kubrick's Most Revealing Interviews Hear a Rare Recording of One of Stanley Kubrick's Most Revealing Interviews Watch: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Amy Schumer Hilariously Slam Hollywood Sexism (NSFW) Watch: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Amy Schumer Hilariously Slam Hollywood Sexism (NSFW)

Immersed in Movies: Puppet Cams, China Girl and VFX Wizardry in 'Oz the Great and Powerful'

Thompson on Hollywood By Bill Desowitz | Thompson on Hollywood March 8, 2013 at 2:23PM

Bryan Singer and Sam Raimi both embraced lighter, kid-friendlier fables with "Jack the Giant Slayer" and "Oz the Great and Powerful," tapping into their inner child while pushing virtual production and 3-D with theatrical flair. While the results have been mixed (it's hard to pull off innocence after the post-modern "Shreking" of our culture), Disney placed serious pressure on Raimi, whose return to "Oz" was a bumpy ride.
0
"Oz the Great and Powerful"
"Oz the Great and Powerful"

Bryan Singer and Sam Raimi have both embraced lighter, kid-friendlier fables with "Jack the Giant Slayer" and "Oz the Great and Powerful," respectively, tapping into their inner child while pushing virtual production and 3-D with theatrical flair. While the results have been mixed (it's hard to pull off innocence after the post-modern "Shreking" of our culture), Disney placed serious pressure on Raimi, whose return to "Oz" was a bumpy ride. 

First of all, how to compete with the 1939 film "The Wizard of Oz," no matter how hard you hide behind the original L. Frank Baum book, "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," while conjuring an original wizard origin story? And as likable as James Franco is as the conniving would-be magician, it's not like having Robert Downey Jr. (the original choice), Johnny Depp, or George Clooney as the charismatic scoundrel from Kansas. Also, the which-witch-is-which charade with Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams overshadows the wizard for most of the journey.

Still, Raimi and company are most successful when playing off Baum or going in new creative directions with only a tip of the hat to the legendary Technicolor classic. For instance, a wonderful "Hugo-esque" subtext in Oz's adoration of Edison serves as a key plot point while paying homage to early cinema.

"We were trying to set up Oz's knowledge as a tinkerer," Raimi explained at a recent press conference, "Oz's awareness of Edison's kinescope and early motion picture cameras, so that we could properly support the idea that he could have created this technology with the help of the tinkerers once he got to the Land of Oz."

Also, Raimi had never created a world before, much less tinkered with 3-D, so finding that sweet spot between evoking the original movie and conjuring something new was quite an opportunity. Fortunately, most of the eye candy looks stunning, thanks in large part to Oscar-winning production designer Robert Stromberg ("Avatar"), who also worked on Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland," and recommended that they veer more toward the practical than the virtual on this one. 

That not only grounded the actors and artists in more of a physical reality (shooting on large stages in Raimi's hometown of Michigan), but it also enhanced the theatricality. Stromberg's infusion of Art Nouveau for Glinda's castle and Art Deco for Evanora's Emerald City is an inspired aesthetic clash. However, there's a perception that "Oz " is all CG glitter, so either the balance got altered in post by Sony Pictures Imageworks or we're misreading what we're actually seeing.

This article is related to: Immersed In Movies, Sam Raimi, Oz The Great And Powerful, Features, VFX, Disney


E-Mail Updates