REVIEW: Oz: The Great And Powerful


Can a modern prequel to one of Hollywood’s most cherished films of all time live up to the high standards expected? Well thanks to a charming cast, witty script and unforgettable characters we are extremely happy to say that Oz: The Great and Powerful succeeds in living up to the legend of Oz.

Set in the early 20th century, Oz: The Great and Powerful tells the tale of how a fairground magician from Kansas became the wonderful wizard of the land of Oz. I really wasn’t sure what to expect going in to Oz, the trailers had looked exciting and certainly piqued my interest, but I still wasn’t sold on the concept, and the involvement of Sam Raimi didn’t alleviate these fears. When it comes to Raimi I am very conflicted, I love a vast majority of his films, however I’ve never been a fan of the gothic B-movie aesthetic that comes with them, this time though I’m glad to say I couldn’t have been more wrong. Not only does Raimi manage to deliver a visual spectacle, surpassing Tim Burton’s Wonderland, but he also manages to tell a wonderful heartfelt tale at the same time.

Visually the film really stands out, and imagines L. Frank Baums land of Oz perfectly, the differences between early 20th centry Kansas, and the transition from black and white square ratio to the colourful widescreen presentation used when in the land of Oz are brilliant. The CGI characters such as the monkey and china girl are next to flawless, and integrated to the live action pieces seamlessly, it’s almost as if somewhere Raimi has his own genetics lab where he is grafting wings on to our little marsupial pals.

The script is fantastic, and whilst I felt the transformation of Mila Kunis’ Wicked Witch wasn’t as fleshed out as I would have liked, the dialogue throughout is pin sharp, and I found myself laughing out loud on numerous occasions. The script would be nothing without the cast though, as James Franco puts in a stellar performance as the charming Wizard himself, making the tricky con-man both likeable and relatable  The other stand out performance of the piece is undoubtedly Zach Braff, who is hilarious as Oz’s monkey companion with a perfect subtle delivery throughout which had myself and the majority of the cinema in stitches.

Oz: The Great And Powerful is a fun, charming, fantasy adventure which seem to appear very seldom, thanks to a brilliant cast and fantastic script this light hearted romp through the land of Oz remains entertaining throughout and is perfect for the whole family, and an early unexpected favourite of 2013 here at UTF.