Two days ago, the news broke that Sam Raimi was in talks to direct Oz, the Great and Powerful, taking the place of Sam Mendes. Now Deadline is reporting that the I's have been dotted and the T's have been crossed and golden bricks have been laid and Raimi is officially on board the film. Not confirmed is the involvement of Robert Downey Jr., who is apparently awaiting a script rewrite before finding room in his relentless schedule.
Oz, the Great and Powerful will follow "...the Wizard Of Oz before he became the Wizard Of Oz circa the 1939 iconic film: he's in fact a circus wrangler transported by tornado to the mysterious world of Oz where he gets mistaken for a know-it-all." And it's going to be in 3D, but everything's going to be in 3D, so that's not really news, is it?
Everyone involved is not making it a secret that they're looking at Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland as a template for what needs to happen here. Let's just hope they're talking about the financial template and not the creative template, because while Alice was a major international blockbuster, it left a lot to be desired in the story and character and competent filmmaking departments.
I know it's not exactly hip to throw my (hilariously limited and ineffectual) support behind an expensive prequel to one of the most beloved movies of all time, but the wonderfully weird world of Oz feels like a perfect fit for a filmmaker like Raimi. Then again, everyone said the same thing about Burton and Wonderland, so I'm not going to count my Tin Men before they un-rust. Just in case.
But come on! Downey as a 1930s con artist type, using charm and deception to seize control of a fantasy world populated by tiny people who sing about lollipop guilds, flying monkeys and dancing scarecrows? Directed by the man who made The Evil Dead? Come on. You know you want to see it.