Reimagining and rebooting a classic American work of literature and cinema like The Wizard of Oz is inevitably going to involve some playing with fire. With Disney’s upcoming Oz The Great and Powerful, a retelling of the classic from the perspective of the Wizard himself (played by aspiring Renaissance man James Franco), there’s certainly fire. There are explosions and CGI fairy-type creatures (Munchkins? Probably Munchkins.) and a colorful Oz that has that inexplicable Disney feeling.
In the first trailer for Oz, directed by Sam Raimi (Evil Dead, the Spider-Man series), we meet the Wizard in his humble place of origin, peddling his hacky magician act around small-town Kansas, a flyover country lad with big-city dreams (“Kansas is full of good men,” he tells us. “I want to be a great one.”). Then comes the cyclone, and he’s transported to a land full of magical creatures and yellow brick roads and Mila Kunis and Michelle Williams (as good witches Theodora and Glinda, respectively, combating Rachel Weisz’s Wicked Witch Evanora) and is charged with saving them all. And yes, in case you were wondering, the flying monkeys, even when one is voiced by Zach Braff, are present and are still hyped up on high-octane nightmare fuel.