It’s been three years since a Sam Raimi film graced theaters and five since he’s had a box office hit (sorry, Drag Me to Hell), but he returns to the big screen next year with something substantially different than his usual fare. In fact, if the lead were Johnny Depp instead of James Franco you might be forgiven for thinking this was a Tim Burton joint.

Oz the Great and Powerful is an upcoming Disney film that posits the origin of L. Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz (the man, not the story). Oscar Diggs (Franco) begins as a mediocre magician in the dustbowl of a black and white Kansas before boarding a hot-air balloon for an ill-fated ride into a tornado. The journey lands him in Oz where he comes face to face with creatures, people, three witches and technicolor. Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, and Michelle Williams play the three witches, and that’s really all the reason one needs to want to see the movie…

Check out the trailer for Sam Raimi’s Oz the Great and Powerful below.

So there’s that.

There’s a definite Alice In Wonderland vibe here, but hopefully its reach only extends to the visuals and ambiance without spilling over into the grand emptiness of that unfortunate blockbuster. Raimi seems to be a director who works better on a smaller budget as evidenced by his best films being the lower profile ones (and his most expensive being Spider-Man 3), but hopefully he can turn this into an entertaining and fantastical piece of world-building.

Oz the Great and Powerful hits theaters March 8, 2013.


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