BY NANCY R. MANDELL
Fantasy as a genre seems to be spreading faster than the flu. Spurred by TV’s “Grimm” and “Once Upon a Time”─not to mention horror offshoots like “The Walking Dead” and “American Horror Story”─ last year brought us “Red Riding Hood,” “Mirror Mirror” and “Snow White and the Huntsman.” Just a week ago, Warner Bros. released “Jack the Giant Slayer,” and now we have Disney’s “Oz the Great and Powerful,” a prequel to the L. Frank Baum classic ─and even more so to MGM’s film version of ─“The Wizard of Oz.”
Using all the best artifice of 3D, director Sam Raimi (“The Evil Dead” and “Spider-Man” 1 and 2) has crafted an enchanting, enchanted landscape where the dazzlingly colorful scenery bears no resemblance to nature, where cherry blossoms morph into butterflies immediately before our eyes and a bluebird seems to land on our nose.
All this detail is fine until the scary flock of flying griffin-like creatures unleashed by the wicked witch(es) get a bit too close, in my opinion, for the movie’s PG rating! Then again, I don’t remember Margaret Hamilton showing any cleavage in the 1939 ”Wizard of Oz” that approaches the décolletage of Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz as the two wicked witches of this film. But after all, kids today withstood Katy Perry’s infamous Sesame Street costume, so not to worry!