This Year’s Wicked Is Only Part One of Two, But the Trailer Shows Most of the Story

It is hard to know where to start with the blockbuster musical film adaptation of Wicked, which is based on the blockbuster Broadway musical, which is based on Gregory Maguire’s very different and beloved book. But the thing that bothers me most, in this second look at the film, is how much it makes me think of the unfortunate Oz the Great and Powerful, a movie which had almost nothing going for it. It’s the un-reality of it all, the sense that no one actually lives in this world. It’s all just an elaborate set, which is fine for a live musical, which requires a whole different level of suspension of disbelief.

But this is a movie and it ought to look like an immersive world. Instead we have a nonsense train and flying monkeys that look like they escaped from the latest Planet of the War of the World of the Apes film.

Being a movie, it has movie stars. Despite the fact that Wicked is, ostensibly, the story of the Wicked Witch of the West, this trailer is notably more interested in Ariana Grande as Glinda, said Wicked Witch’s reluctant college roommate. Grande seems outmatched, though, by the sheer chemistry of Cynthia Erivo as Elphaba, the green girl herself. They are opposites, and they’ll become best friends, but something is off in their pairing, despite how endearing the two performers are when they appear together in the real world.

As the synopsis—which you don’t really need, as the story is all right there in the trailer—says:

The two meet as students at Shiz University in the fantastical Land of Oz and forge an unlikely but profound friendship. Following an encounter with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, their friendship reaches a crossroads and their lives take very different paths. Glinda’s unflinching desire for popularity sees her seduced by power, while Elphaba’s determination to remain true to herself, and to those around her, will have unexpected and shocking consequences on her future. Their extraordinary adventures in Oz will ultimately see them fulfill their destinies as Glinda the Good and the Wicked Witch of the West.

The rest of the cast includes Michelle Yeoh as Madame Morrible; Jeff Goldblum as the Wizard; and Jonathan Bailey as Fiyero, a prince whose story goes one way in the novel and a whole ‘nother way in the musical. Jon M. Chu (In the Heights) directs, and the film has the same writing team as the musical—book writer Winnie Holzman and composer and lyricist Stephen Schwartz (who has written two new songs for Part Two).

Wicked, the first part, which you 100% know is going to end with “Defying Gravity,” is in theaters November 27th. icon-paragraph-end

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