Years in planning, with blockbuster expectations (an $85 million opening weekend is projected) — even if they didn’t match the masterpiece that the original film was, Disney’s “Oz, the Great and Powerful” is sharping up as the year’s first “BIG” film. But even as the dollars add up, this $200 million production has a whiff of “What might have been” about it, succeed or fail.
Robert Downey Jr. or Johnny Depp could have been the charismatic, fast-talking hustler/magician Oscar “Oz” Diggs, in Sam Raimi’s “Wizard of Oz” prequel, “Oz, the Great and Powerful.”
Following the movie industry trades, you could watch as Sam Raimi grabbed this project and wouldn’t let go after his “Spider-Man” dreams were dismissed. The longer the planning went on, the more the cast changed. The film was delayed many times, and with Disney involved — you can be sure budget issues had them sweating bullets for the entire time. Might that have killed any dreams of a dream cast?
Olivia Wilde, Amy Adams, Kate Beckinsale, Blake Lively, Keira Knightley and Rebecca Hall were considered possible witches. Wilde, Knightley and Beckinsale, in particular, have a vamp quality that the characters desperately need.
While “Don’t look back” is a motto worth living by, try not to think about those combinations when you watch the finished film. And try not to dream of what might have been.