Monday, March 11, 2013

Movie Review : Oz, The Great and Powerful

Not being a fan of the original Wizard of Oz or any of the follow up movies that were tied to it I went into this one with hopeful thoughts as I was drawn in by the actors and the promise of great visual special effects. I left with a feeling of meh.

We all know the story of Dorothy in the original film as she trys to find her way home by meeting the Wizard of Oz but we didn't know how the Wizard became to be and this film shows us his journey.

The film opens just like Wizard of Oz with it being shown in black and white and sets up Oz ( James Franco ) the character and what happens that makes him leave Kansas and settle in the Land of Oz. As he arrives in Oz the film switches to color. The world is bright and colorful and brimming with life and promise. He is met by the witch Theodora ( Mila Kunis ). She believe hims to be the savior for the land and promptly escorts him to the Emerald City to meet her sister Evanora ( Rachel Weisz ). The sisters debate on the legitmacy of Oz and in the end to prove himself he is sent by Evanora to find Glinda the Good Witch ( Michelle Williams ) and defeat her.

Once the Glinda explains to Oz who's side she is on and which the side the other witches are really on they formulate a plan to reclaim the Emerald City for the land of Oz and its people. Using his trickery and slight of hand rather than powers that a Wizard should have as he is not one, he and Glinda come up with strategy for the people to follow that allows them to help as they do not kill by nature and overtaking the Emerald City without doing that is problematic in Oz's eyes.

The people of Oz march onto the Emerald City with Oz leading the way with Glinda's help. After an extended battle that has starts and stops with misdirection we see how the bad witches and Oz come to be as we know them best in the original movie. The city is reclaimed with the witches being banished and Oz left in power.

Verdict : I saw this film in 3D and while the special effects were nice I see no reason you need to pay the surcharge for 3D. I expected more on that front. Though you know roughly how the story will play out I think the actual translation to the screen was a tad lacking though that might be because of my general dislike for the first film. James Franco is miscast in this film and is the weakest part of it. Johnny Depp was once attached to play the role and would have brought the character to life. Mila at times overacts in my opinion. Thought Michelle did a great job and Rachel once past the first arc is regulated to the background. The supporting characters were the best with China Girl, Finley ( flying monkey ) and Knuck ( Tony Cox in his typical cranky role ). If not for these characters the movie would have fallen of its wheels. I give this a slight THUMBS UP to view but for sure don't waste your money on 3D and if you are going to watch this to see something new added to the story of the Wizard of Oz you will be disappointed.

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