I have seen the fourth film for the film challenge. It was Oz: The Great and Powerful.
This was a high budget, over-acted film, I thought. It is the story of the Wizard of Oz and the three Witches before Dorothy landed in Oz. The story begins, oddly enough, back in Kansas in 1905, where Oscar Diggs is a magician with a traveling circus. He is a good magician, but he incurs the wrath of the local people when he admits that he cannot make a local paralyzed girl walk and the circus’s strong man is after him for stealing his girl. Oscar, or Oz, jumps into a hot air balloon which takes off just as a tornado is in the vicinity. He is sucked into the tornado, just as Dorothy will be years later, and is deposited in the land of Oz, complete with many 3-D flowers and butterflies and water fairies.
He meets Theodora, a beautiful Witch, and charms her. She tells him about the evil Witch who murdered her father and the prophecy about the Wizard Oz who would fall from the sky and who would become king and save the people of Oz, coincidently the name of this place. She takes him to meet her sister Evanora, who is not convinced that he is the Wizard. In actuality, Evanora is the evil Witch who killed the king. She shows Oz the treasure of Oz that will be his once he is king. She sends the Wizard out to kill the supposed evil Witch, with Findley, the winged monkey he has collected on his way to Oz.
On his way to find the supposedly evil Witch, Oz comes upon the destroyed China Town. He finds a broken China Doll, whom he glues back together and the three of them set off to find the Witch in the Dark Forest. They find her and try to take her wand, then discover that she is not evil at all. She is Glinda, a good Witch and Evanora is actually the evil Witch. Theodora sees Glinda and Oz together and feels betrayed and hurt. Evanora gives her a poisoned apple to eat (does this sound familiar?) and Theodora turns into an ugly, evil Witch. Glinda takes Oz to another city to plan an attack on Oz and the evil Witches.
Oz works with the people of Oz to plot an elaborate hoax and illusion to trick the armies of the Witches and the Witches themselves with his magic. Where all the fireworks and gunpowder and stuff came from, God only knows. It somehow materialized and the elaborate plan works and the armies of the Witches are defeated. But Glinda is taken prisoner and it seems that Evanora will kill her. But China Doll has her magic wand and releases her and Glinda and Evanora face off in a duel. Glinda wins and Evanora reverts back to an old ugly hag. Both she and her sister Theodora are banished from Oz.
Oz becomes the Wizard King and rules over the land of Oz with his new friends and Glinda is the beautiful Witch of the North and the people of Oz live happily in peace. Until Dorothy drops in.
The acting is over done, like something one would see in a high school musical, except you keep wishing there were some musical numbers in this movie to break it up. Franco’s performance is rather lack-luster. Glinda is a little too serene; Theodora is quite vindictive. Evandora is quite evil. She is the most believable of all the Witches. Actually, of all the characters. The 3-D effects are. of course, spectacular. They should be, with the budget to make this film. I wonder what Baum would think about this story line.