Disney have unleashed the first trailer for Sam Raimi’s highly anticipated Wizard of Oz prequel of sorts Oz: The Great and Powerful, and the footage on display here is gorgeous. The film stars James Franco as Oscar Diggs, a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics who is hurled away from dusty Kansas in a hot air balloon to the vibrant Land of Oz. He thinks he’s hit the jackpot, until he meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone’s been expecting. Joey King and Zach Braff also star. From a visual standpoint alone this first trailer is spectacular, with impressive effects in spite of the obvious green screen and some eye-popping colours that will no doubt work well in 3D. Raimi also throws in a nod to the past by opening in letterboxed, black-and-white before transitioning into colour, which is a nice touch. The trio of great supporting actresses promise to be terrific, and the only real wildcard here is the unpredictable and prolific to a fault Franco, who seems to be bringing his A game from what we see here. On paper a revisionist fairy tale prequel to a beloved classic is a dodgy proposition, but this certainly looks a hell of a lot better than Tim Burton’s uninspired Alice In Wonderland, and I’m cautiously optimistic for Oz: The Great and Powerful.
Oz: The Great and Powerful opens on March 8, 2013. Check out the first trailer and poster below (via The Playlist).