As we have done with other great pieces of literature, we will examine a film today for plot, characters, and literary devices.
Oz the Great and Powerful is a 2013 American fantasy adventure film directed by Sam Raimi, produced by Joe Roth, and written by David Lindsay-Abaire and Mitchell Kapner. The film stars James Franco as Oscar Diggs, Mila Kunis as Theodora, Rachel Weisz as Evanora, and Michelle Williams as Glinda.
The film is based on L. Frank Baum’s Oz novels, and also pays homage to the 1939 MGM film, The Wizard of Oz. Set 20 years before the events of the books, Oz the Great and Powerful focuses on Oscar Diggs, who arrives in the Land of Oz and encounters three witches: Theodora, Evanora and Glinda. Oscar is then enlisted to restore order in Oz, while struggling to resolve conflicts with the witches and himself.
Oz the Great and Powerful premiered at the El Capitan Theatre on February 14, 2013, and with general theatrical release by Walt Disney Pictures on March 8, 2013, through the Disney Digital 3D, RealD 3D and IMAX 3D formats, as well as in conventional theatres. Despite mixed reviews, the film was a box office success, grossing $491 million worldwide in revenue, $149 million of which was earned during its opening weekend worldwide.
In 1905 Kansas, Oscar “Oz” Diggs works as a small-time magician in a traveling circus. As a storm approaches, the circus strongman learns Oscar has flirted with his wife and goes to attack him. Oscar escapes in a hot air balloon, but is sucked into a tornado that takes him to the Land of Oz. There the witch Theodora believes him to be a wizard prophesied to overthrow the Wicked Witch who killed the king of Oz. En route to the Emerald City, Oscar flirts with Theodora, who falls in love with him, wishing to be his queen when he rules Oz. They encounter the flying monkey Finley, who pledges a life debt to Oscar when he saves Finley from a lion.
Upon reaching the Emerald City, Oscar meets Theadora’s sister Evanora, who is skeptical of Oscar being the foretold wizard. Evanora tells Oscar that the Wicked Witch resides in the Dark Forest and can be killed by destroying her wand, the source of her power. Oscar and Finley are joined en route to the forest by China Girl, a young, living china doll whose home and family were destroyed by the Wicked Witch. The three reach the forest and, upon retrieving the wand, discover the “Wicked Witch” to be Glinda the Good Witch, who tells them Evanora is the true Wicked Witch. Evanora sees this with her crystal ball and manipulates Theodora against Oscar by showing him together with Glinda, saying he is trying to court all three witches. She offers the heartbroken Theodora a magic apple she promises will remove her heartache. Theodora bites it and transforms into a heartless, green-skinned Wicked Witch.
Glinda brings Oscar’s group to her domain in Oz to escape Evanora’s army of Winkies and flying baboons. She confides to Oscar that she knows he is not truly a wizard. However, she still believes he can still help them stop Evanora, and provides him an “army” of Quadlings, tinkers, and Munchkins to do it. Theodora enters Glinda’s domain and angrily reveals her new, hideous appearance to Oscar before threatening to kill him and his allies with the Emerald City’s well-prepared army. Oscar despairs that his army cannot defeat the Wicked Witches, but after telling China Girl about the exploits of his hero Thomas Edison, he realizes they can fight using prestidigitation.
Glinda and her subjects mount a mock attack on the Wicked Witches’ castle using an automated army of scarecrows blanketed by thick fog. The Wicked Witches are tricked into sending their flying baboons through a poppy field that puts the baboons to sleep. However, two baboons manage to capture Glinda, who is brought to the city square and enchained. Meanwhile, Oscar infiltrates the Emerald City with his allies, only to seemingly abandon them in a hot air balloon loaded with the king’s gold, which Theodora destroys with a fireball. Oscar then secretly reveals himself to his friends, having faked his death. Oscar uses a hidden smoke machine and image projector to present a giant, holographic image of his face as his “true” form, and a fireworks display to attack and intimidate the Wicked Witches. Evanora fearfully hides in her castle while Theodora flees on her broom, unable to hurt the “invincible” wizard; Oscar says Theodora is welcome back should she find good in her heart again. Glinda is freed by China Girl and defeats Evanora, destroying the Wicked Witch’s emerald necklace that hides her true, crone-like appearance. The banished Evanora is carried off by flying baboons.
The film concludes with Oscar, now king of Oz, using his projector to sustain the belief he is still a powerful wizard and keep the citizens of Oz united against the Wicked Witches. He also presents gifts to his friends: Master Tinker, who helped build his machines, receives Oscar’s camping-tool jackknife.