If Disney’s Oz the Great and Powerful ends up being another Alice in Wonderland-level exercise in style over substance, the parallels to its main character are going to be too obvious to dismiss. In the film, James Franco plays Oscar Diggs, a Kansas con-man magician who does
tricks illusions and enjoys tricking illusioning people out of their coins. During a hot air balloon stunt, he’s pulled into a tornado and whisked away to the strange land of Oz where three good witches (played by Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams) implore him to rid the world of a wicked witch. The only problem? He only talks a big game, and he might not be able to deliver any real magic.
The plot in its vague form mirrors The Wizard of Oz directly, and the look of the universe tries for the CGI expansiveness of Alice, but hopefully Sam Raimi has been able to make the movie his own.
With a new trailer comes new hopes and concerns. It looks like a lot of fun, but some of the dialogue (and the delivery) sounds like first draft exposition. It’s also not hard to think of Franco as a bored actor at this point, and there’s nothing here to disabuse anyone of that notion. However, the callbacks to the 1939 classic are spot-on and exciting. Maybe this could be a real epic after all.
This March, you’ll believe that monkeys can fly.