It's no easy task to produce a prequel to one of the most iconic movies of all time. Yet, Oz The Great And Powerful proves that prequels can be entertaining and enhance the overall enjoyment of a film franchise. Unlike the Star Wars prequels, this movie gives depth to the original while delivering its own story with style.
James Franco plays Oscar Diggs, a traveling circus magician who is whisked away to the land of Oz. Franco is perfect for the part, his natural personality seems to suit the role of a charming chancer. Mila Kunis takes on the role of ‘Theodora', the young witch who befriends Oscar. However, it's Rachel Weisz who steals the show as ‘Evenora' the Wicked Witch Of West.
The story centers around Oscar (James Franco), and a prophecy which tells how a mighty king will deliver the people of Oz from the evil clutches of the Wicked Witch. Glinda, the Good Witch, enrolls the help of Oscar to enact regime change at the heart of the Emerald City. The plot is fairly standard stuff, but thankfully it doesn't disrupt the narrative of the original movie.
One of my favourite things about this film is the way the backstories of the characters from the original are explored in more detail. The movie also has stunning visuals. Director Sam Raimi, best known for his work on the recent Spiderman movies, delivers a vivid world which far exceeds the original. Raimi includes the elements which made the original a unique film; even the flying monkeys have a cameo appearance!
If you've enjoyed other ‘Oz' offerings such as the ‘Wicked' musical then you'll love this prequel. Ignore the critical reviews of this movie, take another journey along the yellow brick road, it will leave you feeling over the rainbow.