The trailer: Based on this clip, Oz: The Great and Powerful — the Wizard of Oz prequel that hits theaters in March 2013 — closely echoes the style and structure of the 1939 original. (Watch the trailer below.) When we meet star James Franco as the soon-to-be-Wizard, he exists, humbly enough, in a black-and-white Kansas. Soon, a tornado transports him to the lavishly colorful Oz where he's uncomfortably held in great regard and must battle power-mad witches (decades, apparently, before Dorothy's own travails). Will this prequel delight audiences as much as their first trip to Oz?
The reaction: Some question the need for a Wizard of Oz sequel, but "we're cautiously optimistic," says Kevin Jagernauth at Indiewire. The "bright, beautifully conceived" visuals really stand out, looking "every inch like something that demands to be seen on the big screen." I'm not as convinced, says Mike Sampson at ScreenCrush. "It may just be the Disney marketing," but this looks a lot like 2010's Tim Burton-directed extension of the Alice in Wonderland universe — and that "wasn't exactly a good movie." The similarities are undeniable, says Liam Goodwin at Filmonic, but this "actually looks better" than Alice in Wonderland, and sure-footed director Sam Raimi may be able to avoid the pitfalls of Burton's popular (but underwhelming) film.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Ted Cruz is the new Sarah Palin
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How liberals are unwittingly paving the way for the legalization of adult incest
- How the Simpsons/Family Guy crossover revealed the worst of both shows
- Watch out, China — America is working on dogfighting drones
- Fall film guide: All the movies you should see in October
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- Why you probably don't have Ebola — even if you shook hands with America's 'patient zero'
- You're reheating pizza wrong
Subscribe to the Week