When Oscar (James Franco), a small-time circus magician, is hurled to the vibrant land of Oz, he’s pretty sure he’s hit the jackpot. This soon changes when he meets Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams) – three witches who aren’t convinced Oscar is the great wizard that everyone’s expecting. Reluctantly drawn into the problems the land of Oz is suffering from, Oscar must differentiate between good and evil before it’s too late. Through illusion, ingenuity and a loose form of wizardry; Oscar must transform himself into the great wizard the prophecy tells of, and a better man than he once was.
Directed by Sam Raimi, Disney’s fantastical Oz: the Great and Powerful is a visual wonder, verging on a sensory overload. Every inch a Raimi film, it’s one of the most beautiful films of the year; a magical, marvelous movie with a colour palette vibrant enough to match its wonder. With enough nods to the classic to please fans, it’s clever and witty enough to be an entertaining film in its own right.
The star-studded cast owes somewhat to its success: James Franco is perfect as the dubious yet ridiculously charming wizard. Franco seamlessly interacts with the CGI creatures, even when the green screen is a little off in places (most noticeably the beautiful China Girl), giving his most genuine performance to date. Still, there’s no denying the star of Oz: the Great and Powerful is the stunning visuals. A genuine delight for all the family, it’s easily an instant Disney classic.