‘Oz the Great and Powerful’ trailer fascinates

I’ve watched the trailer for “Oz the Great and Powerful” a few times now and I’ll probably watch it again tonight. The preview for Sam Raimi’s return to Oz – with the backstory of the Wizard from Kansas and those sisters who become witches – is loaded with beautiful shots and glimpses of the movie.

Part of what’s fascinating is how the trailer for the film, starring James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams, exploits the visual iconography of the “Wizard of Oz” story.

Want proof? Check this out:

What about that image doesn’t remind you of Margaret Hamilton’s appearance as the Wicked Witch of the West?

Author L. Frank Baum’s “Oz” stories were all over the place not only in terms of the geography of Oz but also the stories and characters.

But the trailer, at least, sticks mostly to territory familiar to lovers of the 1939 Judy Garland movie as well as “Wicked,” the book and play that explores the lives of the witches before they were witches.

Random thoughts about the trailer:

I like the switch from small, black-and-white screen to widescreen, CGI-filled color. I’m guessing the movie follows the format of the 1939 film in that respect, but if not, at least the trailer creates a connection to the classic film by doing so.

The movie looks to be exploring the iconography of the books. The fragile little doll in the movie appears to be a resident of The Dainty China Country, from the first book.

There’s also plenty of familiar characters and imagery, including a healthy dose of Munchkins.

Is the flying monkey who accompanies the wizard comic relief? If so, that will contradict the nightmares of a few generations of little kids.

Who’s the wicked witch? I guess we’re to assume it’s one or both of the dark-haired sisters played by Kunis and Weisz. Or is it a character we don’t see until her appearance in that swirling red cloud?

We’ll know the answers to all our questions in March.



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