Sam Raimi cut the "heart" and "brains" from his Oz, but added a "nice flying monkey"

Illustration for article titled Sam Raimi cut the "heart" and "brains" from his Oz, but added a "nice flying monkey"

You've seen the bananas trailer for Sam Raimi's giant, Tim-Burton-looking prequel Oz: The Great and Powerful. Now find out all the details we learned at the Comic-Con panel and follow-up press conference. Find out which Oz characters didn't make the cut, more on that flying monkey army, and whether or not Bruce Campbell will be popping by in this Raimi movie.


At the panel, one of the first and biggest Oz bombshells dropped was the announcement that the Tin Man and the Scarecrow will not be in the movie. But there will be flying monkeys — crap-loads of them. Raimi explained in the press conference, "The Wicked Witch has an army of flying baboons. And we saw a glimpse of them [in the trailer]. It's the first animation that's completed on it. There's also a flying monkey story, different than the baboons. A nice flying monkey, so don't worry."

The next tidbit — who is Bruce Campbell playing in this movie? And will Ted Raimi be appearing as well? These two fellas are Raimi staples. The answer? Yes, they will both be in the movie.

According to the director, "Yes, my younger brother Ted plays a tiny part, otherwise my mother would have my head. And Bruce Campbell, unfortunately, is in the movie. He plays a bit part, because he was busy working. I think he was shooting his TV show, so he took a day off and came down and just did a tiny little, few-line role for us. But it's a tiny little cameo. It's really funny to watch in the picture. He did a great job."

As for the plot itself, everything is centered around Franco's Wizard, who is kind of a dick. "It's the story of a selfish man, who's a little bit of a lothario, a little bit of a cad." Oz is "a land of second chances" for the Wizard, who's also redeemed by the love of Glinda, the Good Witch. "It's how he became ensconced in the Emerald City," said Raimi. "By the time this picture ends, the audience has one interpretation of how it all came to be [...] how he became the protector of that great city."

But Raimi promised that this movie would be a departure from his usual horror-filled flicks. And he promised a "family movie" with an uplifting feel. With Michelle Williams as Glinda and Mila Kunis as Theodora, we're pretty sold on the camp matched with the wild CG settings. The popularity of the Oz franchise and these ladies could make Oz: The Great and Powerful a mint in Munchkin dollars, but we need to see more from the monkeys first.



While it looks really pretty, I'm not sure about this movie yet. I wish there were more practical effects, but I never really expect them anymore.

I'll stay hopeful for now, but I'm certainly taking a wait and see approach on this. Somehow I don't see it being as magical as the 1939 Wizard of Oz or a batshit insane ans Return to Oz.

Also, the trailer irked me because the Kansas bit should have been Sepia tone and not Black and White.