Oz the Great and Powerful (2013), directed by Sam Raimi, was basically a prequel to The Wizard of Oz (1939), directed by Victor Fleming. The Wizard of Oz has been one of my favourite films since my mum showed it to me as a young child, so I was naturally a little excited, but also a little skeptical, when Oz the Great and Powerful came out in 2013. Admittedly though, I didn’t watch it until a few weeks ago and to say I was disappointed doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt about it.
The promise of returning to that fantastical world that I loved as a child, but as a revamped version, made me a little giddy with excitement and I felt like a child again. The beginning of the film I enjoyed. I liked the way it seemed to pay tribute to the 1939 film in the way it started in black and white with a smaller ratio picture then transitioned to “glorious technicolor” like The Wizard of Oz did. After that it was just a complete let down, it really just felt like a grab for money by the film makers, and, honesty, I really wish I hadn’t watched it.
On the other hand, a sequel I enjoyed more than the original was The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004). I realise both of these examples make me seem like I watch a lot of movies meant for young people. I swear I don’t, these are just the ones that really stick out to me in the “sequel category”.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved The Princess Diaries (2001), it brings me much happiness, but I just enjoyed the second one more. Part of that reason is the characters were a little older and slightly more mature so that was nice to see. More than that though, The Princess Diaries 2 was just a funnier film. I think the fact that the viewer gets to know and love the characters in the first film contributes to this as you know what to expect.
Something else I discovered about these films, which I think have also contributed to the success of the sequel, is that they are both directed by the same person and written by the same people too: Garry Marshall (director), and Meg Cabot and Gina Wendkos (writers).
Also, Julie Andrews makes anything good.