'Oz, The Great and Powerful': A deep dive into Sam Raimi's new trailer
The pieces to the puzzle that is Sam Raimi’s Oz, The Great and Powerful were just coming together, to be solidified and clarified with today’s new revealing trailer. And then this: a tantalizing splendor of new images and sequences that tease more of the plot but throw a monkey-wrench into the whole which-witch debate. James Franco’s Kansas magician is more like Dorothy than we ever knew: a mystical twister transports him to a strange land, where he encounters a witch (or three) and has to kill a Wicked one if he wants to acquire what he most desires.
Click below for a quick tour through the new promo.
Note the black and white, and the boxier frame, a throwback to the Hollywood days of yore and an homage to the Kansas sequences of the 1939 classic. We’ve seen these “I want to be a great [man]” scenes before in previous trailers, but the musical score here is much more heightened.
“I don’t want to die!” screams a terrified wizard-to-be, as his balloon is engulfed by the twister. “I haven’t accomplished anything yet!” An Auntie Em style prairie house is broken apart in the vortex, but the battered balloon stays in one piece.
Oz — let’s just call him Oz for now, ‘kay? — awakes in a brilliant Seussian landscape, but his first contact isn’t a patch of giggling flowers. Scarlet-clad Mila Kunis introduces herself as Theodora the good witch. “She’s the first character Oz encounters when he gets to the land, and she’s just incredibly sweet, incredibly naïve, and just so believes that he is the wizard,” Kunis said at Comic-Con. But is she really a good witch? Play back her introduction and listen extremely closely: is the delivery oddly out of rhythm? “I am Theodora the good… witch.” Is it possible her sentence was cobbled together in post-production specifically for the trailer?
Good, wicked, whatever, Theodora has puppy eyes for the wizard, and on their journey to Emerald City, they level-jump with some camp-fire smooching. Director Sam Raimi described Franco’s magician as a selfish cad, and he doesn’t waste any time. “Where’s your broom?” seems like the Oz-version of “How you doing?”
Theodora escorts Oz to the Emerald City, where they meet her more glamorous sister, Evanora. Those soldiers marching through the streets resemble the “Oooooooh-e-ooooooh” guards that ultimately end up serving the Wicked Witch of the West, no? “The prophecy shall be fulfilled,” Evanora bubbles, as we see a tidal wave flood a field (of poppies?) as a regal female watches the waters rise.
Oz? Meet Evanora. Evanora? Meet my boyfriend. “I’m here to serve you,” says Evanora. Not cool, sis. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Start putting on that green makeup, Mila.
Evanora goes above and beyond to make Oz feel at home. “The royal treasure of Oz,” she says, showing him riches only Aladdin could imagine. “It belongs to you.” Talk about giving away the milk the free. Can you blame the guy for going all Scrooge McDuck in his new fortune?
Oh, wait. There’s a catch. First, Oz has to defeat the Wicked Witch. Which old witch? The Wicked Witch. Wait, so who’s the Wicked Witch? Is Evanora siccing Oz on goody-goody Glinda for her own Machiavellian reasons? Or is there possibly a fourth witch in this tale? (Doubtful, yes, but there technically are four witches in the poster.) Oz and his bellhop monkey hit the yellow brick road and eventually encounter Michelle Williams’ Glinda. She certainly doesn’t seem wicked. She calls him the great wizard from Kansas, and flattery will get you everywhere with men who struggle with self-doubt. While Glinda is eager for Oz to set things right, he collects another road companion, a porcelain doll whose cracked leg he mends.
The heavens have darkened on Oz and Glinda and fire explodes towards them from some foreboding clouds. This is way more intimidating than some hag sky-writing “Surrender Oz.” Then we see Oz and his little friends being accosted by some botanical ancestor to Audrey II, but perhaps that confrontation occurred earlier on their journey? Finally, the flying monkeys — or perhaps more precisely in this case, flying olive baboons. Looks like Evanora is commanding them to fly, but tough to be absolutely sure…
Edgar Allen Poe would appreciate these two ravens that warn Oz and his companions that danger lies ahead. “Did those crows just say we’re gonna die?” asks bellhop monkey. Yes, they did, but don’t act so surprised, you talking monkey who pals around with a walking doll.
“Your magic is the only thing strong enough to save us all,” Evanora tells the fraudulent wiz. Again, this exchange might be from earlier in the movie; they’re still in the treasure vault when she makes her plea. And his next scene is with Glinda, and they don’t look to be in Emerald City anymore. In fact, they seem to have reached the end of the yellow-brick road. Or the beginning. Is it Munchkinland? The residents might not be trained to fight the battle that’s coming, but they can sing. Note to Michelle Williams: Don’t encourage the rowdy Munchkins.
Um, yeah, Glinda, about that whole magic thing. Faced with incoming firebombs and a flock of evil winged monkeys, Oz tries to come clean. But Glinda doesn’t care, telling him that the people he’s defending don’t know — or need to know — that minor detail. “You are capable of more than you know,” she says with all the earnestness she can muster. At this point, the two sisters may have turned on him, because Williams told Comic-Con attendees that Glinda was “the only one who continually sees the best in Oz, even when his selfish nature makes that very difficult.”
As the pace quickens, we see a quick collage of images. Fireworks. My guess: fireworks are the gimmick that Oz uses to convince Evanora and Emerald City that he has any magical power at all in the first place. Then, Oz and Theodora are racing across a collapsing natural bridge, Evanora elevates (without a broom), Oz rallies the troops, the “Oooooooh-e-ooooooh” guards advance in the dark, and then two witches exchange Jedi-like electric bolts. Evanora versus Glinda?
Obligatory flying-monkey 3-D shot.
A few scenes earlier, Oz tackled Glinda to protect her from an incoming fireball. Is it possible someone was riding that lightning? In the final shot, as Oz and Glinda look on, a ghastly figure emerges from the spitting flames: The Wicked Witch of the West. I’m not 7 anymore, but that silhouette still means something terrifying and exciting.
Any new theories about which witch goes all she-Hulk at the end, and how?