The trailer for “Oz the Great and Powerful” starts off really well, hearkening back to its source material — the 1939 movie rather than L. Frank Baum’s book — by starting off with a gritty black-and-white Kansas before transporting star James Franco to the technicolor world of Oz.

In fact, the director Sam Raimi’s tornado funnel is so evocative of the original Judy Garland-gobbling version that one half expects cowardly lion Burt Lahr to go sailing by behind Franco’s sturdy hot air balloon. (He doesn’t.)

That’s where the similarities end, though. This Oz has nasty CGI plants with rows of sharp teeth and Mila Kunis as the Wicked Witch of the West. Watch for yourself below. Expect lots of visual effects and appearances by the movie’s other co-stars, including Michelle Williams as good witch Glinda and Rachel Weicz as the Wicked Witch of the East.

Here’s Disney’s synopsis of the plot:

“When Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he’s hit the jackpot — fame and fortune are his for the taking — that is until he meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone’s been expecting. Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity — and even a bit of wizardry — Oscar transforms himself not only into the great and powerful Wizard of Oz but into a better man as well.”

“Oz the Great and Powerful” is due in theaters on March 8, 2013.

Posted by:Liz Kelly Nelson