The week of March 8, 2013 is one that I have been awaiting since the early months of 2011, and, although it happened to fall on quite a cluttered academic week, my anticipation didn’t waver a bit. As an avid fan of the land of yellow bricks, I have been anxious for the release of Oz: The Great and Powerful ever since its announcement a couple of years ago. The 1939 adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s novel was one that provided early moviegoers with wonder, wickedness, and an all-around good time. Prior to the middle of the 20th century the art of filmmaking was still in its development stages in terms of effects as simple as color—but director of the original, Victor Fleming, rose to the challenge and made beautiful use of new Technicolor film.
Most Ozians are familiar with the fun fact that the ruby slippers weren’t always so—their original novelized counterparts are silver. Fleming, however, found that ruby would be more appealing on screen. Fans of ruby footwear still may not find gratification in Disney’s recent installment. Fear not, as there are plenty of aspects that more than make up for the absence of Dorothy’s trademark slippers. The film, similar to the original, opens in black and white and, after shifting to Oz, switches to beautiful and vibrant color. The use of computer generated imagery is abundant and appropriately utilized, albeit a scene or two where the effects toe the line just a bit too heavily.
The characterization of Oz’s pre-Dorothy characters is pretty unique and fresh to this film. Viewers should not enter the theater with expectations of striped stockings, frilly pink dresses, or even green skin and black hats—at least not right off the bat…or broom, I should say. Disney has made it a point to market the film around the character that many love and others fear like no other. The incorrigible witch of western skies doesn’t show her true colors until halfway through the film, but the actress that portrays her does a beautiful job building a solid backstory for her character, with at least one or two lines that add to the less-silly-more-scary element. With Danny Elfman at the helm of producing the score for the film, moviegoers can expect his usual playful intros with dark and twisted crescendos backing the film’s pivotal scenes (think Batman Returns).
Overall, Oz has something for just about every audience in it. Since the essentials of the original are deep-rooted in fans, director Sam Raimi makes clever creative decisions that will be sure to bring nostalgic smirks to the faces of viewers. For instance, you won’t be seeing Dorothy or her slippers, but don’t count out a nod or two in their direction. There may be no place like home, but the place to be this weekend is Oz, now playing in theaters everywhere. Even Variety has already confirmed that a sequel is in the works.
Story originally published at the Quad | BU's independent online student magazine and blog.