By Ashley Bergner
Box Office Buzz
It’s been more than 70 years since Hollywood first took us on a journey down the yellow brick road into the magical land of Oz. In the 1939 musical classic “The Wizard of Oz,” a girl named Dorothy dons a pair of sparkling red slippers and sets off on a quest to end the reign of a wicked witch and find her way back home to Kansas.
“The Wizard of Oz” continues to be one of Hollywood’s most beloved films, and it’s one of my favorite musicals. It’s always risky to try to return to such a well-loved classic, and director Sam Raimi wisely chose to pursue a prequel, rather than a reboot. Yet is his film “Oz the Great and Powerful” (released March 8) worth another trip down the yellow brick road?
“Oz the Great and Powerful” begins at a traveling circus in Kansas, where we meet Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a magician who’s more interested in conning people out of their money than in delighting them with magic tricks. He’s forced to flee the circus when he angers one of the other performers, and he escapes in a hot air balloon. However, this seemingly lucky escape quickly turns into a nightmare as the hot air balloon is sucked into a tornado, and Oscar vows he’ll try to become a better man if he’s spared from death. Continue reading