A terrific idea with a disappointing result. As a prequel to "The Wizard of Oz", it's definitely fun to revisit Oz itself and learn how the wizard became the all powerful Oz. And course, we want to know how the witches ended up on their destiny's path but lackluster direction from Sam Rami and a miscast James Franco diminish what really could have been magical.
Mr. Franco stars but his energy level is far below what we would expect from the con man who defeats the wicked witches and wins the heart of Glinda. What saves the film from being a complete dud are the fantastic visuals and the performances of Michelle Williams as Glinda, Rachel Weitz as Evanora, and Milla Kunis as Theodora.
Especially in 3-D, the film looks beautiful and in a nod to the original, starts in black & white in the Kansas scenes and then turns to color when Mr. Franco arrives in Oz. For an adventure of this nature, you would expect more from Mr. Rami but the director moves the film ever so slowly toward it's big climax. There are some clever nods to the original and moments of intelligent wit but it's a dull trip down the yellow brick road. Kids will probably enjoy it although the flying baboons may be frightening for little ones.