Special Cinema Spotlight: Oz: The Great and Powerful

A Vintage Nerd, Oz: The Great and Powerful, Vintage Blog, The World of Wizard of Oz

When Oz: The Great and Powerful (2013) first came out I was quite skeptical and worried. I was worried that they would somehow ruin the legacy of The Wizard of Oz.

Sitting in the theater with my daughter (my boys are too young for this type of film), I held my breathe and left myself open to the possibilities. I have to admit I was surprised to find myself not hating it. Michelle Williams keeps surprising me too. I saw her in My Week With Marilyn and well, she pulled that off too.

This film is a precursor to The Wizard of Oz. It is set about twenty years before Dorothy comes to Oz.  It begins in a similar fashion as The Wizard of Oz  did, in sepia color. We meet an illusionist/magician by the name of Oscar Diggs (James Franco). He is a bit of a con artist and womanizer and gets caught flirting with the wrong woman. He escapes via hot air balloon and that is when he gets sucked into a tornado and lands right in Oz!

He meets a girl named Theodora (Mila Kunis) who takes him to the Emerald city to meet her sister Evandora (Rachel Weisz). They tell her of their 3rd sister, Glinda and that she murdered their father. There are twists to who is actually good and who is wicked and then in a flash something happens to Theodora. I did not expect this scene and I have to say the transformation is fantastic!

In the midst of all this, Oscar  is tempted to help them defeat Glinda in order to be seated on the thrown but he never expects to create friendships with a monkey named Finley and a living china china doll named China Girl. Oscar learns about being selfless, being brave, and being a good friend. Things that he wasn't in his prior life as a traveling magician. He also learned to believe in himself and others as well.

My favorite characters in this film are Theodora after her transformation ( the clue in the photo above) and China Girl. The film also connects aspects of his life from before to his life now just as they did in The Wizard of Oz which I enjoyed seeing.

All in all, I say well done. They plan to make a sequel that will not include Dorothy since it is set twenty years before she comes and all of the original cast have signed on. I cannot wait!

Have you seen this film? What did you think about it? Were you happily surprised as I was?

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  1. I adored this film. Like you I was worried, but also excited as I love all things Oz and the effects looked wonderful. Theodora and Glinda are definitely my favourites, and I found the emotional transformation (maybe more than the physical one) absolutely heartbreaking. Really interesting subtexts going on about power and politics too. Lots in there! I am loving all your Oz-inspired posts, keep up the great work!

  2. I was a bit nervous about this film too. I'm a huge fan of the Wicked spin-offs and I thought that there was no way this one could compare. I still like Wicked better but this film really is set in a different version of Oz. I ended up really enjoying it. :)

  3. I haven't seen this film yet myself (and didn't actually hear too much about it around these parts when it came out), but the cast alone (who doesn't love Michelle Williams - she's such a cutie pie and moreover a seriously talented actress) would certainly have me plonking down on the couch for a viewing.

    ♥ Jessica


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