8:00 PM, 18th April, 2013
The Wizard of Oz has to be one of the most referenced films in all of cinema – everything from the direct sequels and remakes like Return To Oz and The Wiz to extended references like those in David Lynch’s Wild at Heart. But the story of the man who was the Wizard… now that’s something we’ve never seen until now.
A shonky circus magician with dubious ethics, Oscar Diggs (Franco) finds himself flung into the magical land of Oz, where everyone proclaims he must be the Wizard that everybody’s been waiting for. But three witches – Glinda (Williams), Theodora (Kunis) and Evanora (Weisz) are not convinced and soon, between figuring out who is good and who is evil, Oscar has to use every bit of his ability in illusion, ingenuity and even a little magic to help the land of Oz and to keep himself alive.
This isn’t the only prequel to The Wizard of Oz out there, and lovers of the musical “Wicked” may be up in arms that this pretty flatly contradicts most of what the musical says about Oz’s back story… however, for those who aren’t tied to musical theatre continuities, it’s an entertaining adventure with some of the usual Sam Raimi touches (including the inevitable Bruce Campbell and Ted Raimi appearances) and a few loving winks to the 1939 original, plus three of Hollywood’s finest female actresses witching-it-up. Good fun family entertainment.