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May 072014
 

We all remember the story of The Wizard of Oz. In fact, there’s a new movie version coming out called Legends of Oz. I can’t wait to see that. Oz The Great and Powerful takes place 20 years earlier, which makes it a prequel about how the wizard first got to the Land of Oz.

Small time magician Oscar Diggs (James Franco), Oz for short, is a con artist and a womanizer. His life soon changes when a tornado whisks him away in a hot air balloon to the Land of Oz. It was clever how the scenes in Kansas were all in black and white before turning to color in Oz, just like in the original Wizard of Oz movie. Apparently this feature goes from full screen to wide screen in the same manner.

Upon arrival Oz meets the young and lovely witch Theodora (Mila Kunis), who tells him of a prophecy that a wizard named Oz would arrive and save everyone from the wicked witch. Now Oz is not really a wizard, but Theodora mentions that Oz will be the king of Oz. So how could he resist not coming clean?

Later, Oz and Theodora meet Finley (voice of Zach Braff) a talking flying monkey. After Oz luckily saves him from a lion, which I assume is the cowardly lion, Finley becomes his companion. I never knew that there were any good flying monkeys in Oz.

After they get to the Emerald City, Oz meets Theodora’s sister Evanora (Rachel Weisz). She tells Oz that he has to kill the wicked witch first in order to become king. Oz certainly has his work cut out for him now, especially since he still has to keep everyone convinced that he is a wizard.

Oz and Finley search for the wicked witch. Along the way they stop at a destroyed village made of china and porcelain called China Town. (Real clever name.) The only survivor is a living china girl (voice of Joey King). She is simply called China Girl because her name is never revealed. China Girl joins the group since she’s very persistent on getting her way.

They eventually find the wicked witch Glenda (Michelle Williams), but she turns out to be good. Glenda tells them the truth and somehow knows the truth about Oz. Just like with the original Wizard of Oz film; there are allies that are much like certain people from Kansas because the same actors play them. Finley is like Oz’s assistant Frank, China Girl is like the girl in a wheelchair, and Glenda is like Oz’s former girlfriend Annie.

 

Theodora finds out that Oz is with Glenda and her heart breaks. Evanora, the master manipulator she is, gives Theodora an apple that changes her into a heartless monster, later known as the Wicked Witch of the West. That means Evanora is the Wicked Witch of the East. Before I couldn’t tell which witch was who because in every other movie version of The Wizard of Oz that I’ve seen, the two witches were never addressed as Theodora and Evanora. They were mainly mentioned as the witches of the West and East.

Even though Oz confides the truth to some of his comrades about him not being a real wizard, he still leads the good people of Oz into battle as if it were one big magic show. Oz has certainly come a long way since he was in Kansas.

This was a great prelude to the original Wizard of Oz feature. Surprisingly, there was no mention of Finley or China Girl in any other version that I’ve seen. So what could’ve happened to them?

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