Watson’s Review of “Oz the Great and Powerful”

The amazing Technicolor dreamworld of Oz, as originally imagined at the turn of the 20th century by children’s author L. Frank Baum, was unforgettably brought to life in the iconic 1939 screen musical “The Wizard of Oz,” a groundbreaking masterwork that would enrich and live on in childhood memories for decades to come — just think of the glimmering green towers of the Emerald City or the swirling golden spiral that births the Yellow Brick Road, and feel that flood of sweet nostalgia wash over you and cleanse your soul. Seven decades later, we return to director Victor Fleming’s fantasy wonderland in “Oz the Great and Powerful,” Disney’s spiritual prequel to the MGM classic, which — copyright issues kept in mind — rebuilds the land brick by yellow brick, albeit with more than a little help from computerised jiggery-pokery.

Of course, this is not the first time Oz has been paid a grand revisit by Hollywood — 1978’s “The Wiz” retold Dorothy Gale’s tale with a Harlem-inspired urban environment, while 1985’s “Return to Oz” continued her adventures with a dark and twisted steampunk edge — but not since the Golden Age has it been so richly detailed, elaborately designed and vividly realised. Director Sam Raimi, whose blockbusting “Spider-Man” trilogy was a technical marvel, seamlessly blends practical sets with computer-generated imagery and presents Oz in carefully orchestrated 3D that bursts out from the screen — here, Oz is as immersive as the alien moon Pandora in James Cameron’s “Avatar.” (Continue Reading…)

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For more from Stephen Watson, check out Just Another Movie Blog!

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