'Oz' remakes and spinoffs

'Oz' remakes and spinoffs

Credit: Disney

(ABC NEWS)This Friday, a prequel to the "Wizard of Oz," "Oz the Great and Powerful," hits theaters 74 years after the original film. But it's not the first adaptation of the classic tale by L. Frank Baum. In the prequel being released by Disney, parent company of ABC News, James Franco plays Oscar Diggs, a small-time circus magician who gets thrown into the vibrant land of Oz by way of a tornado in Kansas. Diggs is not as lucky as he thinks when he meets three witches, played by Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams, who are not convinced that Diggs eventually will become the wizard. In this magical land, Diggs encounters good and evil. Through the journey, he learns to become a good man, but he must determine good from evil in order to transform himself into the powerful Wizard of Oz seen in the original "Wizard of Oz" tale. "When I first read the script, I really responded to the fact that it had a good heart at its center," Williams told " Good Morning America" last month. "Its sense of humor wasn't sarcastic or mean, and I thought it was really something that my daughter could see and her friends would enjoy." Franco spoke about the spin on the classic to KABC. "People do have an idea of Oz," he said. "There are things that they want from Oz. So the yellow brick road, the emerald city, flying monkeys, witches. These are things that people expect, and if they weren't there it wouldn't quite feel like Oz." But early reviews of the film have found something missing. "'Oz the Great and Powerful' plays with the notion of making people believe through spectacle and trickery -- that what you see is more important than what you actually get," the Associated Press film review said. "It's Oz's bread and butter and it's a primary tenet of the moviemaking process itself, of course. But this time, something is missing in the magic." In preparation of the film's debut Friday, click through to take a look back at the Oz creations that came before.

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by JENNIFER ABBEY and ROSALYN OSHMYANSKY

ABC NEWS

Posted on March 7, 2013 at 11:57 AM

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