(Written for Lost In The Multiplex)
The first trailer for Sam Raimi’s Oz: The Great and Powerful has been released this week, as The Disney panel at Comic-Con presented an exclusive promo reel for the film at this year’s convention.
Discovering the origins of L. Frank Baum‘s classic children’s novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the film is a prequel to his work, looking at how the Wizard arrived in Oz and became the ruler.
Describing the film himself, director Sam Raimi commented that, “It’s the story of the Wizard. It’s about who the Wizard was and how he became the Wizard we know.”
He added: “The story begins in Kansas, where he’s a good carnival magician with bad social skills. He has a good heart, but he’s not in touch with it. He thinks the way to greatness is through fortune and fame instead of the selfless expression of his talents. His life becomes untenable in Kansas. He’s an adulterer, and he’s chased out of Kansas, and that balloon gets swept up into a tornado.”
The new trailer introduces us to James Franco as the main character, Diggs, who we will see transform in to the Wizard of Oz we know. But Raimi also went on to say that the Wizard has many flaws. “He’s a Lothario and a cad, but Oz turns out to be the land of second chances for him. He makes new friends, falls in love with Glenda, and becomes a more selfless man.”
The new trailer also introduces us to the three witches of Oz played by Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz and Mila Kunis. Williams and Kunis also attended the event, with Williams describing her character, Glenda, by commenting that, “She is the embodiment of everything that is good and pure, but with more of a human quality. She’s the only one who sees the best in Oz, even when no one else does.”
As for Kunis, she will be playing Theodora, with Rachel Weisz playing her sister Evanora. Kunis commented that, “Theodora is the first character Oz encounters. She is incredibly sweet and naive, and so she really believes that he is the Wizard.”
Filmed in full 3D and beginning in black and white as The Wizard of Oz did, the film comes from the producers of Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland fairy re-telling, with the original novel by Lewis Carroll being one of Baum’s biggest influences. This new trailer really expresses this too, full of bright colours, enchanted settings and magical creatures.
No ruby slippers here though, not even a scarecrow, a lion or a Tin Man. The design of the film is all derived from the text of Baum, with Raimi commenting that the 3D helped create a world that had never been seen before.
Kunis commented that her favourite part of the set was Glenda’s castle: “I have to tell you, walking into Glenda’s castle was one of the most magical experiences of my life. The green in the Emerald City was one of the most amazing things… this will be magical for people.”
The Disney panel introduced the new trailer with a montage from Raimi’s earlier films, including Evil Dead 2, The Quick and the Dead, all three Spider-Man films, Darkman, Army Of Darkness, and Drag Me To Hell.
“This is my home away from home, Comic-Con,” said Raimi. “I love it here.”
Oz: The Great and Powerful is set to be released in UK cinemas in March 2013.