Sam Raimi was faced with a predicament. Two of the characters in his upcoming film  Oz The Great and Powerful are completely fantastical (a flying talking monkey and a foot tall talking/walking breakable china ceramic doll) but he didn’t want to have the characters to be completely created and performed in post production, and he also didn’t want to use performance capture as it sometimes results in very robotic-looking performances.

Trust me, you will be amazed at the computer generated performances in this film. How did Raimi and team pull it off? Find out after the jump.

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Oz the Great and Powerful, Sam Raimi‘s first Disney film, is oddly two-faced. Here we have a director who made his name with low budget horror, who became a household name when he infused the superhero genre with his do-it-yourself, energetic visual style. And then there’s Oz, a massive film that gives Raimi the most toys he’s ever had to play with, but also the commitment to make a movie that’s fun for all ages. The result is a Sam Raimi movie wrapped up tightly in a Disney package. And the Raimi elements are willing themselves out.

There’s not a frame of Oz The Great and Powerful that doesn’t bear Raimi’s mark. The production design, the camera moves, the pulpy performances, everything screams his name. I mean, the movie is basically Army of Darkness, right? (Normal guy lands in magical land, is forced to go on quest to save that land.) But just when you see that kinetic, signature style starting to unleash, the story forces the film back into its Disney shell to play to the masses. We’re left with a film that’s entertaining, a little scarier than you’d expect, but extremely inconsistent. Read More »

Just as the world gets ready for a Sam Raimi/Bruce Campbell endorsed remake of Evil Dead, the director himself is finally getting ready to continue the franchise. In a new interview, Sam Raimi said he and his brother, most likely screenwriter Ivan Raimi, would be sitting down to write Evil Dead 4 this summer.

UPDATE: Soon after this initial report was released, Raimi clarified his comments. Unsurprisingly, the film’s future isn’t as certain as the original report made it sound.

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Has Sam Raimi seen The Amazing Spider-Man? How does Joss Whedon describe the tone of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Did San Diego Comic-Con tickets sell out fast? Where did Iron Man join the Guardians of the Galaxy? Want to see some surprising, and spoilerish, Iron Man 3 and Man of Steel toys? Do the Marvel comics take any advice from the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Read about all of this and more in today’s Superhero Bits. Read More »

‘Oz the Great and Powerful’ Super Bowl Spot

Disney isn’t showing off as much new stuff in the Super Bowl commercial for Oz the Great and Powerful as it did for The Lone Ranger , but here’s a quick look at the March release.  We know pretty much what to expect from Sam Raimi‘s Oz prequel, but if you need a refresher check out the spot below.

Watch other 2013 Super Bowl spots at these links: Iron Man 3World War ZStar Trek Into DarknessThe Lone Ranger, Fast & Furious 6.
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In October 2011, I got to visit the wonderful world of Oz and watch director Sam Raimi direct his preboot (prequel/reboot) of the classic L. Frank Baum book series. I learned much on the set of Oz: The Great and Powerful. Most fascinating to me was some of the things Disney had to do satisfy legal concerns over possibly violating copyrighted imagery from the classic 1939 film adaptation, owned by Warner Bros.

And while trailers for the film focus on wholly computer-generated worlds and characters, you might be shocked to learn the lengths that Sam Raimi went through to shoot a lot of the film practically. For example, it was interesting to see Raimi inventing new practical solutions to help the supporting actors create and react to live performances for characters who would eventually be created in CG — and I’m not talking about performance capture.

After the jump you can watch a video blog we recorded talking about the visit, followed by many more things I learned while on the set.

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A few weeks ago, Disney dropped a striking poster featuring the Wicked Witch of the West, adding fuel to the ongoing debate about whether it’s Evanora (Rachel Weisz) or Theodora (Mila Kunis) who goes green in Oz: The Great and Powerful. A new batch of posters doesn’t answer that question, but it does give us a closer look at who the individual players in the movie are. Hit the jump to see individual characters for Evanora, Theodora, Glinda (Michelle Williams), and of course, the Wizard himself (James Franco).

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So far, most of Disney’s promos for Oz: The Great and Powerful have played up the lush fantasy world created by Sam Raimi, or perhaps the epic tale of James Franco‘s Oscar Diggs. The newest featurette, however, delves into the movie’s more comedic aspects.

Or perhaps that should be “comedic,” in quotes, since the jokes are more groanworthy than funny. And they’re definitely not any better when delivered by a CG flying monkey. On the bright side, the video does offer some better insight into who the three witches (played by Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, and Michelle Williams) are, and what makes each one tick. Watch it after the jump.

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