The Wizard of Oz is a classic, and very few people would argue against it. While it's unfair to compare a movie released in 2012 to one released in 1939, Disney took the chance to do a prequel/reboot.

We met Professor Marvel in Kansas in the first movie, before Dorothy is whisked away to the land of Oz. Before those events, Professor Marvel was just a carnival magician, with some slight con-man tendencies. A sudden tornado combined with an angry boyfriend leads to a hot air balloon escape.  The balloon gets whipped around in the winds and crashes in a land of razor-toothed pixies, talking china dolls, munchkins and witches.

James Franco's seemingly natural smugness (on-and-off-screen) works at first for the charming Professor, but it ended up grating on me to the point of eye-rolling. It was hard to bring gravity to such a cartoonish character as the Wicked Witch of the West, but Mila Kunis did a good job with what she was given. Michelle Williams did a fine job as Glinda, and Rachel Weisz can do no wrong in my eyes.

I think the weirdest part is that the events of this movie "prove" that the events of Wizard were true. In "Wizard", Dorothy starts in Kansas, goes to Oz, then returns to Kansas with the implication that everything was just a dream. However, since the Professor starts in Kansas then ends up in Oz forever, that means it's a real place. But in addition to that, there are characters in Oz that are connected to people in Kansas, so it's still never entirely clear what is a dream and what isn't.

If you're a Wizard of Oz purist, this might not satisfy your desires. If you just want a night of some fun, if not entirely memorable, entertainment this is worth your time.



On the [Celluloid Hero] scale, "Oz the Great and Powerful" gets a 5 out of 10.


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