Anthony's Review of Oz the Great and Powerful
The original Wizard of Oz is a Disney classic from the good 'ol days of film making. It's props are highly sought after and highly valuable. It has inspired multitudes of other movies that wanted to follow in the footsteps of such a magical film.
That being said, I was never a big fan of the original film. I've seen it twice, once as a kid, and once in adulthood. And while I don't dispute its legendary status at the end of the day it was just never my cup of tea.
So I went into OTGAP with a very low bar indeed and I walked out pleasantly surprised! Most people would probably consider a modern day prequel to a classic original sinful at best (thanks A LOT Star Wars). Throw that out the window here, I think Sam Raimi manages to capture a lot of the feeling that gave the original film most of its luster. The CG characters looks great, and the main CG characters who follow Oz around on his journey feel life like and physical.
James Franco is hit or miss for me. When he isn't playing something close to who he really is he always feels like "James Franco pretending to be someone". At various points in Oz he certainly runs into these kinds of scenes. But often (and especially as the film hits the final act) that all seems to vanish and i really did forget about who was playing the wizard and that is a good thing. I just started really enjoying it.
All of the witches were really fantastic in their roles. They all looked beautiful and they all acted their butts off especially Mila Kunis and Michelle Williams. And I thought the way they really told the story of the wicked witch and how she came to be as we know her from the original to be well done.
There were some overly in your face references to the original movie which I always hate seeing, in fact it also seems like a studio mandate that if you make a prequel to a movie you MUST makes some kind of reference to the film or films that follow.
Overall I thought the movie was good, I think it will largely satisfy long time fans, and I am positive that your kids are going to love it.