As a child who was raised without cable TV, I looked forward to viewing a few events on commercial broadcast television every year. “The Wizard of Oz” was a classic that I waited for with great excitement, and each year’s viewing never disappointed.
Every year, I got swept away into the magical land of Oz along with Dorothy and Toto in that tornado. I belted out all the songs as Dorothy traveled with The Scarecrow, The Tin Man, and The Cowardly Lion. The yellow brick road, Glinda the Good Witch, and The Munchkins were all sources of fascination. I sighed with delight at spotting the Emerald City after the long journey through the dark forest, and nervously hid under a blanket when the Wicked Witch of the West or her flying monkeys appeared.
Each year’s anticipation and satisfaction over the movie created a fierce love of “The Wizard of Oz,” one that has continued to this day for me. So it was with some trepidation that I approached the screening of the movie “Oz the Great and Powerful.” I was afraid of being disappointed by the prequel, that director Sam Raimi’s attempt to tell the story of the man behind the curtain would fall flat.
I need not have worried much. The imagery created by Disney Studios did the original film proud. I was transported to an earlier version of Oz, one that came 30-some years before Dorothy would arrive. James Franco’s facial expressions had me believing him as a con man carnie Oscar Diggs, a man who aspires to great glory. The comic relief of Zach Braff’s monkey character Finley kept me laughing. China Girl’s loyalty and desire for a family was sweet. And the ugliness of two of the witches had me wishing for a blanket to cower under whenever they unleashed their fury (and fireballs).
I am not a movie critic, but I thoroughly enjoyed “Oz the Great and Powerful.” As a “Wizard of Oz” lover, I walked away from the movie satisfied and happy with how it was done.
Disclosure: Michelle was invited to see a complimentary press screening of the movie.