Oz the Great and Powerful

FANTASY; 2hr 10min

STARRING: James Franco, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz

When she was bad… Kunis and Franco

“I want to be Harry Houdini and Thomas Edison all rolled into one,” declares Oscar “Oz” Diggs (a pantomimic Franco). Great, in other words, as opposed to merely good. There’s fat chance of that, Oz being a third-rate magician in a 1905 Kansas hicksville circus — until a twister cuts him loose, landing him with a thrilling splash in the magical Technicolor kingdom of Oz. Yes, that Oz, pre-Dorothy, inspired by L. Frank Baum’s 1900 novel.


A flummoxed Oz is welcomed by worshipful witch Theodora (Kunis; Weisz is her sinuously crafty sister, Evanora), who is convinced that he’s an all-powerful wizard, destined to free the Emerald City by slaying the slippery Wicked Witch of the West (Kunis again). While Oz isn’t convinced, it seems that greatness may finally be catching up with him, whether he likes it or not.

With Sam Raimi directing, the hellzapoppin’ 3-D is as miraculous as the wide-eyed fairy story it’s hung upon. Only in an idealised world could a carny conman and a pretty white witch (Williams, all sweetness, light and core strength as Glinda) lay waste to the cackling forces of darkness. Luckily, in the Land of Oz, the impossible is an everyday event.