- 18 July 2012
- By John Howell
A prequel to the classic 1939 musical fantasy The Wizard of Oz is on its way and the first trailer has hit. The original film told the story of Dorothy and her dog Toto who end up in the fantastical land of Oz after being caught in a tornado. After meeting the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion, they travel to the Emerald City in search of the Wizard of Oz, who Dorthy hopes can help her return home. She is helped on her journey by the Good Witch of the North and pursued by the Wicked Witch of the East (it's a safe bet she was the film's villain). The Wizard of Oz is based on the children's book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum published in 1900.
This prequel, entitled Oz: The Great and Powerful (or just Oz for short) does not feature Dorothy or more importantly her dog Toto (who given his cuteness factor was clearly the bigger star) but instead focuses on the wizard and how he reached Oz in the first place, ultimately to become its ruler. Oz: The great and Powerful is not a musical this time round either.
Oz is played by James Franco, who starts out as a dodgy, small-time circus magician called Oscar Diggs. Like Dorthy in the original, Oscar is swept away from his home town Kansas by a tornado into the magical world of Oz. He quickly becomes entangled in the problems facing this land and must use all his magical arts and ingenuity to solve the land's ills. The three witches of Oz, played by Rachel Weisz (Evanora), Mila Kunis (Theodora) and Michelle Williams (Glinda the Good Witch), doubt he is the the great wizard the population has been expecting.
Oz: The great and Powerful is directed by Sam Raimi of Spider Man fame from a screenplay by Mitchell Kapner and David Lindsay-Abaire and is again based on L. Frank Baum's novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
Like The Wizard of Oz, the early scenes are in black and white and the film only turns to colour when Franco arrives in Oz.
"Kansas is full of good men," James Franco declares in the trailer. "I don't want to be a good man - I want to be a great one."
"Aren't you the great man we've been waiting for?" someone asks at the end.
I liked the first half of the two minute trailer, but later on it was looking a little too much like Tim Burton's recent film version of Alice in Wonderland. There also seem to be too many special effects competing for our attention. Still, it's early days and it's only a trailer.
However good or bad the sequel is, it's clear Oz :The Great and Powerful given the special effects improvements time since the last film was made, the prequel will bear little resemblance to the musical fairytale style of original.
With an estimated US $200,000,000 budget, Oz: The Great and Powerful is in 3D (of course) and is expected to hit theatres 7 March 2013. Watch the trailer below:
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