My mother said I was four years old when I settled on the floor in front of our television to watch The Wizard of Oz for the first time. She said I made it through the tornado ripping up the house and landing on the witch. I made it through Dorothy getting swarmed by munchkins. Yet when giant monkeys soared in, Mama said I propelled off the floor in a hissy and cowered in her lap.
And this weekend, thirty-plus years later, I sat in a theatre, again wowed by the land of Oz. Sam Raimi and teams of special effects artists delighted us with Oz, The Great and Powerful, complete with Munchkins, Tinkers, witches, and yes, flying monkeys. Though not seen at first, they howl and screech through the wind and cast menacing shadows on the land below. Once they make their appearance in hordes, they hiss and bare baboon fangs, and attack with clawed hands and feet. And now they are in 3-D. I squashed back against the theatre seat and wast tempted to duck.
Though obviously computer generated, Oz, the Great and Powerful is a beautiful movie. The costumes are quite imaginative. The characters are wonderfully executed, as James Franco is charming and marvelous. Rachel Weiss is wickedly lovely. And Mila Kunis is surprisingly brilliant. Oz is well worth the price of the ticket and a trip to a good theatre to view it.