Oz, The Great and Powerful is a film by Sam Raimi that hits theaters next spring. As the trailer states, Mr. Raimi directed The Spider-Man Trilogy and produced Alice in Wonderland. First of all, I appreciate the snide, subtle dig at the recent film The Amazing Spider-Man. As if the original (and yes, I understand the irony behind calling it such) Spider-Man movies are on some higher plane than the new, too-soon, web crawler film. But more importantly, Raimi directed the always overshadowed The Evil Dead genius saga! Has the world forsworn Ash’s beautiful legacy? No. Hollywood just doesn’t work that way. Spider-Man and Alice are obviously fresher in everyone’s minds, not to mention that they are much safer, despite Tim Burton’s dark crush on the macabre.
Bygones. The teaser trailer for Raimi’s scary-looking Oz works. It entices. It grabs hold of our fond memories of Dorothy and Auntie Em and precious little Toto and rattles them in a discordant cage where evil, flying monkeys reign. And though the twister that sucks up a hard-to-pin-down Franco seems unassuming in its short air time here, no doubt it will be a brutal, paralyzing force of nature that crashes through the full feature.
I do enjoy the cute little porcelain figurine that seems frightened in her one second cameo. I fear for her and all her friends. But in the end, this is Disney. And though that doesn’t necessarily always guarantee a happy ending, the odds are forever in a moviegoer’s favor. Plus, like the Star Wars prequels, we have the benefit of knowing (for better or for worse) where this is going. Franco’s Wizard seems like someone we will root for, someone with an entrepreneur’s spirit and a desire to excel and succeed, but we know that Oz will harden him, make him cold, make him greed for power and get it! I suppose then, this film should fall on the darker side of the spectrum after all. It will probably be about one wizard’s reckoning. Bring on the witches! Which witch is good and which witch is behind the terrifying green clawed arm at the end? I guess we’ll just have to wait for spring to pull back these curtains.
Releases March 8, 2013