First off, let me just say that
a) This is the first time I've reviewed a film in any way shape or form
b) THIS MAY CONTAIN MINOR SPOILERS
I saw this film in its IMAX version this afternoon, and friends, it was GOOD! Ok, some of the effects were better than others (and there were some ropey ones) but the good ones really worked well.
The story is that of Oscar "Oz" Diggs (played by James Franco) a fraud magician with a travelling fairground in 1905 Kansas. He is a smoothy with the ladies but is rumbled by an ex conquests, the shows' strongman he legs it and escapes in a hot air balloon.
As with The Wizard of Oz, the Kansas scenes are filmed in monotone, and, also as in Wizard a twister takes our "hero" to another land - the glorious technicolour land of OZ.
And this is where the IMAX comes into its own. The land looks beautiful, the colours are bright and there are many little things happening in the background to make you feel involved with the scenery.
There are quite a few nods to the old film and also a few hints at back story ( ie what made the cowardly lion the way he is),
Franco is excellently cast as Oz, a con man out of his depth, trying not to get too involved when everybody is depending on him to save the day. There are good performances too from Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis and Rachael Weiss as the witches of the South, East and West (especially Kunis, possibly one of the best performances of her career in my opinion).
The Tin Man, Scarecrow and Lion are replaced in this film by Finlay, a flying monkey and a little china doll that will just melt your heart.
A good story with a blockbuster ending, I would give this film 4 out of 5.