Oz: The Great and Powerful

March 06, 2013 | 5:10 p.m.

‘Oz the Great and Powerful': Sam Raimi on 3-D fantasy, James Franco

With three “Spider-Man” films on his resume, Sam Raimi has overseen some pretty large projects. But the director said that none of them quite prepared him for “Oz the Great and Powerful.” “Spider-Man lives in a world that already exists, and we were just creating the CG to put into it,” Raimi told Hero Complex in a recent interview. “With ‘Oz’ we had to create a world from scratch. No blade of grass or flower existed before. It was all generated by artists and props people and botanists.” Opening Friday, “Oz the Great and Powerful” represents the first directorial effort from Raimi since his 2009 horror movie “Drag Me to Hell,” and stands as his grandest filmmaking challenge to date, simply from a technical standpoint if no other. In fashioning his take on the world conjured by L. Frank Baum, […]
March 04, 2013 | 2:31 p.m.

‘Oz the Great and Powerful': Michelle Williams on Glinda inspiration

In both L. Frank Baum’s “Oz” novels and Victor Fleming’s 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz,” Glinda the Good Witch is all-knowing, aware of everything that happens in Oz and, for the most part, what needs to be done about it. But there’s a different Glinda in “Oz the Great and Powerful,” the Sam Raimi-directed film that opens to high fan anticipation this Friday. As played by Michelle Williams, the wand-waving beacon of goodness can sometimes be just as helpless and in-the-dark as the people she’s there to lead. That was a conscious choice made by Raimi, and one that he and Williams discussed often on set, the actress told Hero Complex. “Glinda can’t be omniscient because then she has no struggle,” Williams said. “If she already knows everything about the situation, there’s nothing for her to discover.” Designed as […]
March 01, 2013 | 9:00 a.m.

‘Oz: The Great and Powerful': Robert Stromberg on Raimi, Burton, Baum

China Girl (voiced by Joey King), left; James Franco, center; Finley (voiced by Zach Braff), right in "Oz the Great and Powerful." (Disney)
Veteran visual effects professional and production designer Robert Stromberg has made a career out of conjuring new worlds for filmmakers including James Cameron, Tim Burton and Guillermo del Toro — it’s a skill that has landed him a turn of his own in the director’s chair in the upcoming “Maleficent,” starring Angelina Jolie as the sorceress. For “Oz: The Great and Powerful,” starring James Franco as a magician con man who finds himself accidentally whisked away to the magical land that exists beyond the rainbow, Stromberg collaborated with director Sam Raimi to craft a “dreamlike place that no one had seen before.” That entailed constructing around 30 sets on eight soundstages in Raimi’s home state of Michigan, where the film, set to open March 8, was shot. Hero Complex recently spoke with Stromberg about his approach to rendering the world of L. […]
Feb. 25, 2013 | 6:40 p.m.

‘Oz the Great and Powerful': Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz catch fire

Rachel Weisz, left, and Mila Kunis in "Oz the Great and Powerful." (Disney Enterprises)
With “Oz the Great and Powerful” landing in theaters in less than two weeks on March 8, a new clip from the film spotlights the interesting sisterly dynamics between a pair of witches played by Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz. The movie, which marks the first film from director Sam Raimi since 2009’s “Drag Me to Hell,” takes place before the events depicted in the landmark 1939 musical “The Wizard of Oz,” and is based on the classic literature of L. Frank Baum. In the beginning of the clip, Kunis seems innocent and trusting, thrilled that the sleight-of-hand magician played by James Franco has arrived to broker peace in Oz. But in the final moment of the sequence, she reveals she also has one very hot temper. What you don’t get from this clip is a sense of the film’s epic […]
Feb. 25, 2013 | 3:44 p.m.

‘Oz the Great and Powerful': Come see it early, for free, in IMAX

Excited to see Sam Raimi’s lavish interpretation of the world of L. Frank Baum, “Oz the Great and Powerful”? Hero Complex will host a free screening of the film at the AMC Century City 15 & IMAX on Wednesday, March 6, two days before the movie opens in theaters. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. and will be followed by a Q&A with actor Zach Braff. The RSVP opens at 10 a.m. Tuesday; log on to www.latimes.com/OZ to register to attend the screening. “Oz the Great and Powerful” is the first film from Raimi since his 2009 horror outing, “Drag Me to Hell.” Here, he’s working squarely in the family film tradition, creating a spectacle event movie that takes place prior to the events depicted in the Oscar-winning 1939 musical, “The Wizard of Oz.” In the screenplay, credited to Mitchell […]
Feb. 23, 2013 | 7:00 a.m.

113 years in the land of Oz: A look at the wizard’s world

2005: A scene from the 2005 television movie "The Muppets' Wizard of Oz," starring  Ashanti as Dorothy.  (ABC)
“Oz:  The Great and Powerful” opens in theaters on March 8 — more than 100 years after the beloved children’s book “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” first introduced the world to the magical land of Oz and its “humbug” wizard. Directed by Sam Raimi, “Oz: The Great and Powerful”  tells the story of how the wizard of Oz, (James Franco) arrived in this marvelous land  in the first place. It is just the latest in a long series of movies, television shows, novels and even ballets to play off the world created by L. Frank Baum — a place where monkeys fly, trees talk and witches are both good and bad. Baum was actually the first person to adapt his popular children’s novel for a different medium. He published “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” in 1900 and by 1903, he […]
Feb. 05, 2013 | 2:28 p.m.

‘Find Your Way to Oz’ with Chrome Experiment and ride the tornado

A screen grab from "Find Your Way to Oz," an interactive experience for Google Chrome.
“Oz: The Great and Powerful” will be blowing into theaters on March 8, and to help you get ready, Disney and Google have teamed up to present “Find Your Way to Oz” — a Chrome Experiment that functions like an interactive trailer for the film. Enter the site, and you’ll find yourself in an old-time Kansas fairground where you can explore wooden circus cars, make your own moving picture and create a tune for a self-playing music box. If you click on the balloon icon at the bottom of the screen, you can make your way over to a hot air balloon and jump in for a virtual ride. Photos: ‘Oz’ character posters  You can use your mouse to guide the balloon through the tornado, but it’s a game you can’t win. Inevitably, you will rise up through the top of […]
Feb. 01, 2013 | 3:47 p.m.

Super Bowl XLVII ad spotlight: ‘Star Trek,’ ‘Iron Man,’ ‘Lone Ranger’

Super Bowl teasers (featured image)
Forget the Ravens vs. the 49ers. How does “Star Trek” stack up against “Iron Man 3″? More than half of the grown-ups who tune in to the Super Bowl on Sunday will be watching not for the game, but for the ads, according to a recent poll by Harris Interactive. And movie fans in particular have a reason to stay put on the sofa during commercial breaks, with new spots expected for “Fast Six,” “Iron Man 3,” The Lone Ranger,” “Snitch,” “Star Trek Into Darkness,” “Oz the Great and Powerful” and “World War Z.” All in all, it’s a movie marketing bacchanal. Some studios have started teasing their Super Bowl ads early — an ad for an ad, if you will– and one is using the event as an occasion to debut its own app. So before you whip up […]
Jan. 10, 2013 | 4:05 p.m.

Composing wizard Danny Elfman talks sweeping, gigantic ‘Oz’ score

'Oz: The Great and Powerful' composer Danny Elfman
“The Wizard of Oz” features some of the most beloved songs in movie musical history: “Over the Rainbow,” “We’re Off to See the Wizard,” “Ding-Dong! The Witch is Dead.” But with Disney’s March 8 release, “Oz: The Great and Powerful,” director Sam Raimi and composer Danny Elfman were quite conscious of putting a wholly unique stamp on a project inspired by author L. Frank Baum’s original books, not the Oscar-winning 1939 movie. In one instance, though, that directive proved especially tricky — when writing a song for a sequence in which a group of happy Munchkins welcome James Franco’s Oz to the Emerald City, Elfman found himself in something of a predicament. “These Munchkins are little people in a joyous town of fantasy singing an up-tempo welcoming song. There really aren’t that many ways to apply that,” Elfman said during […]
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