Sam Raimi was in the house at Comic-Con to show an eager and appreciative crowd the very first footage shown anywhere from Oz, the Great and Powerful. Your father's Wizard of Oz this ain't.
As part of Disney's presentation in Hall H at the San Diego Convention Center on day one of Comic-Con, director Sam Raimi—who's been off the scene since 2009's Drag Me to Hell—showed up with a montage of footage from his Wizard of Oz prequel, Oz, the Great and Powerful. Following a tribute reel of clips from his previous movies, Raimi came onstage to a thunderous ovation, befitting the man who gave us the Evil Dead and original Spider-Man trilogies.
Explaining that his Oz (James Franco) is a carnival magician in Kansas who tries to get out of town in a balloon and ends up meeting a tornado, Raimi rolled the 3D footage—which starts appropriately in black and white until Franco's tornado sends him spinning into the land named after him.
The movie is produced by Alice in Wonderland producer Joe Roth, and it shows, since Raimi's Oz looked somewhat like a brighter, more colorful version of that movie's fantasy landscape. Once there, Oz meets Glinda (Michelle Williams) and Theodora (Mila Kunis), along with a bevy of strange and magical creatures that were surely beyond the technology back in 1939, when L. Frank Baum's world was first brought to the screen.
Looking for classic characters like the Scarecrow and the Tin Man? Don't look too hard. Raimi told a fan in the question and answer session after the footage was shown that those beloved characters from the original film don't show up in this one—although we swear we saw a shot of a Wicked Witch sending an army of flying monkeys out into the sky.
Was anyone asking for a prequel to The Wizard of Oz? Not necessarily, but keep in mind that Baum wrote more than one book set in that world, and it seems as if there is much more there that can be explored. If anyone can do it, it's Sam Raimi.
Put Oz, the Great and Powerful on our must-see list for 2013!