THE LAND YOU KNOW. THE STORY YOU DON’T.
In 1905, a circus magician (James Franco) ends up in a hot-air balloon that takes him to Oz, a fantastical land, where he’s mistaken for a powerful wizard who can fight witches. It takes guts to make a prequel to one of history’s most beloved films. Sam Raimi’s attempt is handsome and entertaining, albeit a tad too conventional (and very Tim Burton-esque). Based on L. Frank Baum’s books about Oz, there’s a lot here for fans of The Wizard of Oz (1939) to cherish, including how the film transitions from black-and-white to a glorious color landscape in 3D – and Franco is fun in the lead.
2013-U.S. 130 min. Color-B/W. Part Widescreen. Directed by Sam Raimi. Music: Danny Elfman. Cast: James Franco (Oscar “Oz” Diggs), Mila Kunis (Theodora), Rachel Weisz (Evanora), Michelle Williams (Glinda), Zach Braff, Bill Cobbs… Bruce Campbell.
Trivia: Johnny Depp, Robert Downey, Jr., Hilary Swank and Christoph Waltz were allegedly considered for roles.