Oz: The Great And Powerful (Sam Raimi) - 2013

Long before Dorothy, Toto and the Tin Man, there was the Wizard (James Franco) who was really just a carnival magician.  Based loosely on the 1900 novel (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz) by the prolific poet and novelist L. Frank Baum (1856-1919), this prequel to the 1939 movie (The Wizard of Oz) takes us on another tornado-ride from Kansas to the land of Munchkins.  Baum wrote 18 Oz adventures and numerous other flights of fancy.  This fantasy is really tame compared to current movie fare but there is much to appreciate in the recreation of an earlier literary era.  My favorite characters are the China doll (voiced by Joely King) and Glinda the Good Witch wonderfully played by Michelle Williams.  The other witches (Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz) are OK but I liked them better before they went to green face.  Director Raimi deserves credit for imaging the colorful scenery and citizenry of Oz.  However, there probably is not enough here for another sequel in this century.  [JAM 3/10/2013]