From con man to ruler, “Oz the Great and Powerful” tells the story of a man who goes from being a small-time touring magician to becoming the Wizard who one day helps Dorothy Gale return back to Kansas.
The prequel certainly is not the first reimagining of author L. Frank Baum’s world of Oz, but it does a wonderful job of reintroducing us to a land that first captivated movie goers in a single transition from black and white to color in 1939.
Director Sam Raimi’s visually-stunning film is what blu-ray was built for, with every bit of scenery quickly coming to life with color beginning with the first moment we see Oz (James Franco) descend into the fantasy world in a hot air balloon. From the famous yellow brick road to the Wicked Witch’s flying apes, Raimi takes us back to the mystical land with such detail it makes the original seem like a hazy dream nearly forgotten.
With a few new characters and some iconic ones, Raimi delivers a surprisingly entertaining film, despite not throwing any surprises at audiences. However, the lack of revelations isn’t disappointing, and perhaps demonstrates the director’s respect for the story many are already familiar with. Instead, we are taken on a journey in which we learn about a reclusive character we knew little about until now.
Before Your Very Eyes: From Kansas to Oz: This feature takes art lovers behind the green screen and through the process of creating Oz. From ideas sketched on napkins to the final visual effects, this feature gives wonderful insight of just how much work goes into bring imagination to life.
Bloopers: Always a fun feature, who doesn’t enjoy watching actors laugh at themselves as they stumble over their lines.
China Girl and the Suspension of Disbelief: Like the masked magician, this feature unveils the magic behind the workings of how moviemakers bring to life computer generated characters.
Mila’s Metamorphosis: This feature is pretty straight forward as we see the grueling makeup process of creating the Wicked Witch.
Mr. Elfman’s Musical Concoctions: This interview with celebrated composer Danny Elfman is not just for music lovers as we see what inspired the film’s score.
My Journey in Oz by James Franco: The jack-of-all-trades Franco takes audiences on a ride of his Oz experience through this documentary that gives some personality to the film’s making.
Second Screen Experience: Features like this are what make home videos worth they buy and give you more excuses to re-watch your favorite films. This interactive experience features bonuses and specials for fans that creates an interactive movie viewing experience by simply downloading an app on your smartphone.
Walt Disney and the Road to Oz: This feature is for Disney fanatics, as archive footage of the visionary takes us through his fascination with Oz.
Overall, Oz is entertaining and offers up plenty to enjoy from both film and features. So gather the family for an adventures return to the land of Oz.