Even though this is meant to be the prequel to the MGM film, Warner Bros still own the copyright to 1939 The Wizard of Oz film. We also don’t get a good proper introduction to the city either (the film just gets on with things), but it does look great with its geometric solid shapes. Out of all the CGI elements I think that the best addition to this film is Finley and The China Doll. The story was always going to be a tricky one to write, as it had to have a main character that was a very flawed man who had to be likeable.
While the protagonist is hard to watch, the allies he collects along the way (in the form of the China Doll and Finley the bellhop monkey) do allow the Wizard a chance for some character development within the story, and they also give the film some emotion and heart.
To try and make a strong romantic relationship between the Wizard and Theodora in less than 10 minutes of screen time just doesn’t work. The Wizard’s betrayal of Theodora really needed to happen later in the story, building the relationship and tensions further. A lot has already been said online (here and here are two examples) about the role that women play in this film. Even after all this negativity and criticism I have just typed, I do realize that it has already earned over $80 million dollars in the US alone, with a sequel on the way.
It is about how the Wicked Witch comes to be, and how Oz becomes ruler of the land. There are many good aspects of the film, but there is also a TONE of bad things about it too. The sepia coloured Kansas is great- sticking to a visually language very similar to the original film.

They’ve created some very scary flying monkeys (oh the monkey screams are terrifying!), and they’ve even designed Winkies with big noses and deep voices. My favorite was the China Doll- as she is a spitting image of Dorothy from the original series of books. This new James Franco wizard is not the jolly and cheeky humbug from MGM’s classic, but instead is written as a selfish (and kind of sleazy) fraud. These two CGI characters bring some great emotional scenes to this underwhelming film and feel more realistic than the adult counterparts. The green witch needed to emerge at the climax of the film giving her appearance greater impact and validity.
There are some good things in the film, and I really hope that the writers think about what the are writing a little more in the sequel. The thing I do like most about the new film is that it will introduce the world of Oz to a new generation. The start to the New Year has disappeared among the flurry of new book projects- some with extremely tight deadlines! The tornado looked great too, but there was no build up to its reveal, so the strength of its arrival isn’t as strong as in the original film. They’ve even kept the munchkin courtyard similar to the original movie and it was lovely to see the yellow brick swirl once again. We even get hints of the rainbow in the background- the horses of many colours are grazing in the background of a scene along the yellow brick road. Instead what happens is that once the Wicked Witch is revealed she just hangs around her big sister screaming while her sister makes all the evil plans.

A new generation of children and adults alike, who might will hopefully go hunt down an Oz book to read. The concepts designers pull references from the original film but are still able to make it fresh.
We also see hints of the rainbow in the glaring sunshine upon Oz’s arrival into the colourful world. Is the film lacking in heart and magic because the main character is an adult arriving in Oz? Due to this, Theodora’s strong reactions to the Wizard’s apparent betrayal just don’t feel right.
She is no longer a strong iconic character that we all feared as children, but has become a sad little girl standing in her sister’s shadow. Time will reveal all, of course.I’ve been getting asked a fair bit about Disney’s Oz the Great and Powerful, and what I thought of it.
The main problem I found with the film was the story, and this is not because it was nothing like the books, but mainly because it just isn’t written well. To make it worse, once she realizes that her sister Evanora has actually been manipulating her all along- nothing happens!

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