Feast your eyes on new 'Oz: The Great And Powerful' trailerThough it pains me to say, since picking up Oz: The Great And Powerful was what meant he abandoned the long-percolating World Of Warcraft movie (/cry), I am getting more and more excited about Sam Raimi's excursion into the wonderful world created by L. Frank Baum.
While we'll have to wait until March 2013 to grasp the full majesty or awfulness, since it could go either way, of Raimi's vision of Oz - which will be released in 2D, Disney Digital 3D, RealD 3D, and IMAX 3d (computer, kick up the 4d3d3d3) - this second full-length trailer gives an eye-watering glimpse of its flashy inhabitants, and an almost incomprehensibly beautiful Michelle Williams as Glinda:
(Good to see Franco hasn't troubled himself with an accent or dialog coach this time around to sound more like a gentleman from Kansas in- oh wait, that's every movie he's ever done.)
So what to expect, storywise?
Here's the official synopsis: “Oz The Great and Powerful” imagines the origins of L. Frank Baum’s beloved character, the Wizard of Oz. When Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he’s hit the jackpot—fame and fortune are his for the taking—that is until he meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone’s been expecting. Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity—and even a bit of wizardry—Oscar transforms himself not only into the great and powerful Wizard of Oz but into a better man as well."
Interesting, given that Oz: The Great And Powerful is (meant to be, at least) a prequel to The Wizard Of Oz, in which the Wizard isn't a particularly good man at all.
Oz is a risky pick for a potential tentpole release for Disney, not only because of the John Carter-shaped turd that sits on their financial records for 2012, but because Oz-related films aren't typically the ones to go gangbusters at the multiplex. Indeed, though it's now seen as a classic film (the classic film, in some quarters), 1939's The Wizard Of Oz wasn't initially a commercial success.
Likewise, 1978's The Wiz tanked, and 1985's Return To Oz was a similar box-office bomb, not to mention sending an entire generation of children to the analyst's couch to deal with The Wheelers and Princess Mombi's hall of heads. (Despite their commercial failings, both films warrant revisiting.)
So, is Raimi the man to bring the land of Oz into a realm of commercial viability? It's hard to say, since there probably isn't much crossover appeal for those who followed his every Spider-Man move with baited breath, but given the script is working from Baum's writing rather than the 1939 film, and that his work has so far been underestimated or dumbed down by most big and small screen Oz-verse adaptations, there's a real possibility Oz: Great And Powerful could turn out to be a fantasy classic.
Or, it might turn out to be The Muppets' Wizard Of Oz. Check back in 2013!