I have a seen the 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz more than any other film. I don’t think it would be any kind of a stretch to say that I have probably seen it over a hundred and fifty times. Growing up in my house it was a regular affair to watch the annual broadcast, and once we owned a copy of our own it was viewed even more regularly. So it was with great anticipation and the glassy eyes of nostalgia that I took my seat today to see Sam Raimi’s interpretation of Frank L. Baum’s wonderful world of magic and munchkins. It did not disappoint.
In a way I feel sorry for the creative collaborators for having undertaken a project that carries so much history. In my opinion they did a good job. It’s not a perfect movie, but it is a perfectly delightful movie.
From the moment the opening credits dawned in an otherworldly 4:3 screen ratio, complete with black and white color pallet, I was hooked. The story unfolded with charm and pointed story telling that never felt like it was too much for kids, but connected with my adult sensibilities just as well. In a film where every shot is essentially a special effects shot the characters must truly sell the picture. The characters were at the heart of the story, with Oz (the land itself) being inasmuch a character as any of the others. What stole the show for me was the color. I have never seen such a visually pleasing movie. It was vibrant, imaginative, and delightful.
I’ll not go on about plot elements or boring details. I enjoyed the movie. I have been traveling to Oz via books, movies, and cartoons all my life. Oz the Great and Powerful was the best trip yet.