Oz the Great and Powerful (2013) Poster


Jump to: Director Trademark (2) | Spoilers (4)
At the start of the film, Oz works with the circus company "Baum Brothers Circus". This is a reference to L. Frank Baum, the original author of the Oz series.
Michelle Williams' character Annie is marrying a man named John Gale. Director Sam Raimi has confirmed that Annie and John are intended to be the (previously unnamed) parents of Dorothy Gale, the main character in The Wizard of Oz (1939) and "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" (book), and a primary or secondary character in most of the other books.
The Tin Man is the only one of Dorothy's three companions in The Wizard of Oz (1939) not to be directly referenced in this film. The Tinkers, however are a loose reference to the Tin Man. They were written in for this adaption.
The film opens in sepia-tone academy ratio for the Kansas scenes, before widening out and blooming into full color in Oz. However, even the Kansas scenes are 3-D (when screened appropriately). Monochrome 3-D films are exceptionally rare, and the Kansas portion of this film is believed to be the longest sepia-tone sequence in modern 3-D.
Oz gives his full name as: Oscar Zoroaster Phadrig Isaac Norman Henkle Emmanuel Ambrose Diggs. That makes his initials: O.Z.P.I.N.H.E.A.D.
Bert Lahr's great-grandson, played a tinker in the movie. Bert Lahr was the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz (1939).
Hilary Swank and Michelle Williams were director Sam Raimi's first choices for the role of Evanora. Rachel Weisz got the script through her agent and loved the role but neither the studio or Sam Raimi imagined her for the part. Weisz auditioned and had an two hour conversation with Raimi and later she was cast as Evanora. Williams was eventually cast as Glinda.
Early on, Oscar (Oz) makes mention of his shabby jacket. There is a famous story of how a shabby jacket was purchased at a used clothing store for use in The Wizard of Oz (1939) movie. It was later discovered (and confirmed) that the jacket was originally made for and owned by L. Frank Baum (the author of The Wizard of Oz).
After the tornado sequence, just before Oz loses control of the balloon, one of the nearby mountaintops is in the shape of the Wicked Witch on a broom.
Director Sam Raimi and composer Danny Elfman had a major falling out during the post-production of Spider-Man 2 (2004), with Elfman stating that they would never work together again. With this film, they were able to patch things up and reconcile.
When Oz and Finley first meet, they are almost attacked by a lion. Oz manages to scare it away, hinting at the fact that it is a "cowardly lion", an essential staple of Wizard of Oz
Robert Downey Jr. and Johnny Depp were both offered the role of Oz. Downey wasn't interested; Depp liked the role but was already committed to The Lone Ranger (2013).
Producer Joe Roth was intrigued by the prospect of exploring the origins of the Wizard of Oz character: "During the years that I spent running Walt Disney Studios, I learned about how hard it was to find a fairy tale with a good strong male protagonist. You've got your Sleeping Beauties, your Cinderellas and your Alices, but a fairy tale with a male protagonist is very hard to come by. But with the origin story of the Wizard of Oz, here was a fairy tale story with a natural male protagonist. Which is why I knew that this was an idea for a movie that was genuinely worth pursuing." Screenwriter Mitchell Kapner felt the same way about the character.
In the opening credits, you can see two figures dancing together. If you look closely at the shadow they cast, it appears to look like the Wicked Witch of the West.
To prepare for his role as a circus magician, James Franco received training with magician Lance Burton.
The Emerald City flag's lion is strongly reminiscent of the MGM lion logo (The Wizard of Oz (1939) was produced by MGM).
Sam Raimi opted to use practical sets in conjunction with computer-generated imagery: physical sets were constructed so the actors could have a visual reference, as opposed to using green-screens for every scene.
Zach Braff and Joey King were on set to record their dialogue simultaneously with the other actors, whenever their CG characters (Finley and the China Girl) were present in a scene.
This is Sam Raimi's first film to be rated PG in the United States. All his previous directorial films have been PG-13 or R.
Art director Robert Stromberg cited the Disney animated films Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), Pinocchio (1940), Fantasia (1940), Bambi (1942), Cinderella (1950), Alice in Wonderland (1951), and Sleeping Beauty (1959) as an influence on Oz's landscape design.
Oz's assistant Frank is named for "Oz" creator L. Frank Baum.
A puppet of the China Girl was used on set.
While visiting the Oz cemetery, as Glinda shows Oscar her father's statue, the statue closely resembles Frank Morgan, who played multiple roles in The Wizard of Oz (1939).
Olivia Wilde, Amy Adams, Blake Lively, Kate Beckinsale, Keira Knightley, Rebecca Hall, and Kristen Stewart were considered for the roles of the witches.
During the scene when the Master Tinker (Bill Cobbs) demonstrates the image projector to Oz, they are shown wearing goggles with green lenses. This is a reference to the original novels where all the citizens of the Emerald City wear green-tinted goggles to protect their vision from the bright emeralds and jewels the city is constructed of. In reality, it is another illusion by the "great" wizard to trick Oz's citizens into believing the entire city is colored green, as a sample of his power.
This is the second Oz-related movie to be produced by the Disney company. Their first film was Return to Oz (1985).
James Franco and Mila Kunis previously appeared together as the bizarre couple "Taste" and "Whippit" in Date Night (2010).
Robert Stromberg studied the films of Frank Capra and James Wong Howe to achieve the appropriate Art Deco design for the Emerald City of Oz.
Four of the five main characters from another film by director Sam Raimi, The Evil Dead(1981), make a cameo appearance in this film. Bruce Cambell, Ellen Sandweiss, Betsy Baker, and Theresa Tilly all had small roles in Oz. The only one to not be present was Richard DeManincor, the actor who had played as Scott.
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The screenplay for this film was featured in the 2010 Blacklist; a list of the "most liked" unmade scripts of the year.
Last movie picture of John Paxton, father of actor Bill Paxton and also a frequently partner in Sam Raimi movies.
Blake Lively was offered the role of Glinda, but chose to do Oliver Stone's Savages (2012) instead.
Christoph Waltz was in early talks to play a role.
John C. Reilly was considered for the role of Frank.
Rachel Weisz left halfway through the shoot to film her entire role in The Bourne Legacy (2012).
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Before Sam Raimi signed on to direct the film, directors Sam Mendes and Adam Shankman were also reported to be top candidates.
This is the 4th time that James Franco and Sam Raimi have worked together they worked on the spiderman movies together
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This is the third time Mila Kunis circles a role in "Oz". She previously appeared in a stage production of "The Wizard of Oz" in third grade, and additionally starred as Dorothy in a parody on That '70s Show (1998).
This is the second time Zach Braff has starred in an Oz themed production: in Scrubs: My Way Home (2006) he plays the role of Dorothy in a Wizard of Oz parody. His Scrubs character JD also mentions that he appeared in his school's production of the musical version of The Wizard of Oz titled "The Wiz".
Confirmed by both Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell, Sam Raimi's personally owned 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 appears in this film, and like it's appearance in The Quick and the Dead (1995) it was stripped down to it's chassis and used as a wagon, although it is unclear which wagon.
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Theodora in Greek means "gift from God"
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Mila Kunis starred in the movie Ted (2012), where Ted's neighbor Ming had a duck named James Franco.
Even though Oz, The Great and Powerful is more based on the novels from Baum, the story-line emits the existence of the Princess Ozma, who was apparently kidnapped by Oz, himself, as the book The Land of Oz explained, as the first sequel in Baum's catalog of Oz books.
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In addition to the legal issues, the film was also faced with delays when several cast members went on hiatus due to unrelated commitments and circumstances. Rachel Weisz left halfway through the shoot to film her entire role in The Bourne Legacy, Michelle Williams was required to promote the release of My Week with Marilyn, and Franco's father died during production.
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(Connection to Once Upon A Time) Theodora's transformation into the Wicked Witch is similar to Regina the Evil Queen, as well as her primary magical powers. Regina starts out as a slightly naive person who is manipulated into committing acts of cruelty by the actions of a twisted relative, her mother Cora, who is also a powerful witch. Also, as previously mentioned, Regina has the same magical powers as Theodora: Fire Magic, and they primarily use fireballs as weapons.
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Director Trademark 

Sam Raimi: [Object POV] During the tornado sequence in the hot air balloon, Raimi follows the point-of-view of one of the posts from the picket fence.
Sam Raimi: [familiar actors] Raimi is known to include cameos by friends, family, and favorite actors from his past projects. This film includes Bruce Campbell as a Winkie guard; Ellen Sandweiss, Betsy Baker and Theresa Tilly as Quadlings; Raimi's brother, Ted Raimi, as the man who sees the wire during Oz's Kansas show; and two of Raimi's former teachers - Jim Moll and James Bird - as Emerald City townspeople. In fact, Richard DeManincor is the only lead actor from Raimi's The Evil Dead (1981) to not cameo in this film.


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Mila Kunis' Wicked Witch prosthetic make-up demanded four hours to apply and another hour to remove, with Kunis taking nearly two months to fully recover from the subsequent removal of the makeup from her skin.
Though this film is ostensibly based only on the series of "Oz" books by L. Frank Baum and not the famous 1939 musical for legal reasons (the Oz stories are public domain, however the 1939 film and all elements original to it are owned by Warner Bros.), the movie does borrow heavily from The Wizard of Oz (1939):
  • the film opens in sepia tone and in the old 1.33:1 academy ratio for the Kansas sequences, then switches to 2.35:1 Widescreen and color in Oz
  • the Wicked Witch of the West is green, travels via fire cloud, shoots fireballs, and rides on a smoking broom
  • Glinda travels by bubble
  • multi-colored horses (i.e. the "horse of a different color") appear in a pasture outside Emerald City
  • the Munchkins perform a musical number
  • the design and constant reference to the road of yellow brick as the "Yellow Brick Road" (Baum never referred to it as such)
  • the Art Deco design of the Emerald City, especially the Wizard's throne room and his methods of illusion are all strongly influenced by the 1939 movie
  • rainbows appear often throughout the film, an allusion to the signature song "Over the Rainbow"
  • many of the costumes, especially Glinda, Theodora (after she becomes wicked), the Munchkins, and the Winkies, are extremely similar to the 1939 versions
  • the appearance of Finley is directly inspired by the "bellhop" costume of the 1939 monkeys; the other flying monkeys in this film are a new, "scarier" design based on baboons
  • actors from the Kansas sequence also play Oz characters with similar attributes: Frank and Finley (Oz's long-suffering but loyal assistants); Annie and Glinda (Oz's love interests); the girl in the wheelchair and China Girl (both need Oz's help to walk)
Because Time Warner owns the rights to certain iconic elements of The Wizard of Oz (1939) MGM film, including the ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland, Disney was unable to use them nor any character likenesses from that particular film. This extended to the green of the Wicked Witch's skin, for which Disney used what its legal department considered a sufficiently different shade called "theostein" (a portmanteau of "Theodora" and "Frankenstein (1931)"). However, the studio could not use the signature chin mole of Margaret Hamilton's portrayal of the Wicked Witch of the West.
Some characters are foreshadowed in the latter part of the film. Frank is foreshadowed by Finley, since both of them became loyal servants of Oz. The Girl In The Wheelchair is foreshadowed by the China Girl, since both of them need to walk and believed in Oz. Annie is foreshadowed by Glinda The Good Witch, since both of them are close friends of Oz (and are both played by one actress).

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