Ever wonder how that Man Behind the Curtain got to Oz in the first place?
Director Sam Raimi's new movie fills in the back story of Oscar "Oz" Diggs, an unctous charlatan in a traveling side show. He flees from an unsympathetic crowd in a hot air balloon, gets caught up in a tornado--what a cool idea!--and lands in the magical land of Oz. There, he meets three witch sisters, Evanora (Rachel Weisz), Glinda (Michelle Williams) and Theodora (Mila Kunis). And a cute, flying monkey and a China doll, who may be the movie's best characters. The witches try to convince Oscar that he is the foretold Wizard who will restore order to Oz and put a very wicked witch in her place.
Here's what the critics are saying:
As a series of sights, which movies like these are, "Oz the Great and Powerful" is more like "Oz the Digital and Relentless." Certainly this is true in its final half-hour, which seemed to me to be all explosions. The script comes from Mitchell Kapner, who concocted the story, and David Lindsay-Abaire, hired on to bring some style and a few jokes. I laughed a few times, mostly at Graff's voice work for the animated monkey with the goo-goo eyes. I suspect there's just enough heart in this sleek Tin Man of a project to connect with an audience. Preteens, however, may freak out whenever Theodora's simian minions reappear, fangs at the ready. It's best to consider "Oz the Great and Powerful" as the bombastic 21st-century prelude to the 20th-century "Oz" we know. Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
Oh, it has its moments of movie magic, in moving scenes where the orphaned miniature porcelain China Girl -- the film's best character -- appears. But too often, "Oz" caves to blockbuster conventions, preoccupied with creating a visual template to make Oz magnificent when Oz's magnificence has more to do with the heart and the soul rather than the spectacle of large blooming flowers and cascading waterfalls. Randy Myers, Contra Costa Times
Like Oscar, though, the picture is better at misdirection than at making magic. Raimi, who launched his career with the cheapo horror mini-masterpiece The Evil Dead before helming the blockbuster Spider-Man trilogy, can’t infuse the story with much verve or joy. Opening in black-and-white and in the old-timey Academy screen ratio of the 1939 film, Oz the Great and Powerful expands to glitzy color and widescreen 3-D when it arrives you-know-where, but the switch doesn’t pop; it just sort of seeps. With all the advances in effects technology, the tornado here can’t match the one that spirited Garland’s Dorothy to Oz. Richard Corliss, Time Magazine
The new spinoff from L. Frank Baum's 1900 children's novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz may not be great, exactly, but it is powerfully entertaining. A prequel that imagines the origins of the famous wizard character, Oz the Great and Powerful reveals his humble carny beginnings in Kansas and continues through his vaunted existence in the Emerald City. Oz is respectful to Victor Fleming's beloved 1939 film classic, incorporating famous lines and retaining plot points that audiences know well. Claudia Puig, USA Today
You may also enjoy reading:
Jack the Giant Slayer: Trailer and Reviews
Snitch: Trailer and Reviews
Identity Thief: Trailer and Reviews