Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)
Oscar (James Franco), commonly known to all as Oz, is a simple circus magician who spends his time coning audiences and gullible women through tricks and slights of hand. His life is about to change forever however when a tornado whips across the Kansas plains and grabs his hot air balloon carrying him to magical Land of Oz. There he is greeted by Theodora (Mila Kunis), a witch, who addresses him as Wizard and shares the story of how the people of Oz have been expecting him, the great Wizard who will save them all. He travels with Theodora to the Emerald City where she tells him his throne and riches beyond his imagination await him. At the Emerald City they meet Theodora’s sister Evanora (Rachel Weisz) who is also a witch, but doesn’t quite believe Oz is the Wizard he claims to be. Before he can claim his throne Theodora tells him he must defeat the Wicked Witch by breaking her wand. So Oz sets out to face the Wicked Witch but instead meets with Glinda (Michelle Williams) and other witch and learns of the real problems facing the inhabitants of this magical land. With the help of Glinda and the good people of the Land of Oz the Wizard uses all his powers to show who is truly good and who is truly evil before it is too late. Also Starring Zach Braff, Bill Cobbs, Joey King, Tony Cox, Stephen R. Hart, Abigail Spencer, Bruce Campbell.
Oz the Great and Powerful is a dazzling display of cinematic magic and fantasy come to life. For the adult fans of The Wizard of Oz in the audience, Oz the Great and Powerful is a delight homage to a great film from a by-gone era. For the younger generation it is a playful fantasy with moments that thrill, delight and scare. The downfall to these two sides of the film is that they don’t ever quite fully mesh so really you feel at times as if you are watching two completely different movies. Despite this I think overall as an entertaining movie it is quite successful. It has all the elements it needs with a thrilling ending to boot. And we all know that for me, if the ending isn’t good then you can just forget about it. The colors and settings are magnificent; straight out of your imagination. And while at times there are moments you feel as if the director Sam Raimi got his fantasy’s a bit mixed up – the flowers at the beginning of the color portion are a bit too Alice in Wonderland for my taste – it doesn’t stop you from enjoying the beauty of it all. I do wish there had been just a bit more consistency between this film and it predecessor The Wizard of Oz. Certain things however from what I have read were forbidden use in the Disney film due to Copy Right issues. So those who are true fans of the original will miss some elements like the snow on the poppies or the expected “Oh-Ee-Oh” from the guards and the playful songs from the munchkins. I did love that Oz the Great and Powerful stayed true to its roots by being black and white in the beginning and revealing the wonder of color when you reach the Land of Oz. While an expected it delivers the necessary effects on your senses. I do have to touch a bit on the casting. I think Michelle Williams as Glinda was perfection. I still can’t make up my mind about Weisz and I wasn’t thrilled with the performance of Kunis which was more than noticeably fake at times. I will however say that I think there was perhaps a better choice for the Wizard than Franco. He certainly had the look but then with magic of makeup anyone could. His performance just wasn’t quite right. He was almost too self-absorbed and you really weren’t sure if you believed his transformation at the end to having a heart of gold. But I will leave it up to you to decide. I think for the first true Blockbuster release of 2013 it does well and I encourage families to go and see it because you will enjoy it.
8/10 Stars – Not quite what I expected but still an enjoyable tale of adventure and technicolor dreams!
Oz the Great and Powerful will be viewed by many people in several different ways. As we all know this movie is based on the popular children’s book by L. Frank Baum “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” and takes place BEFORE the events in the movie The Wizard of Oz. Since 1939 when the original movie came out, the only 2 means into the world of Oz was the book and the movie, but in 2003 a very new and very famous new chapter into the back story of the Wicked Witch came into existence with the Broadway Musical Wicked. Because Wicked is soooooo predominant in society still and Oz the Great and Power is based on the events before Dorothy, the people out there that have seen Wicked and have fallen in love with the story will see this movie differently then people who haven’t. I will say this to clear any confusion – Disney didn’t have the copyrights to any of the stuff from the original film nor does it follow any story lines from the musical Wicked. You will notice some of the little things don’t “match” up nicely with the original film, however, the overall story is a nice touch that seems to fit well with the next chapter that will belong to Dorothy (if anyone dares to touch a remake).
Having said all that, let me give my thoughts on the movie itself. In my opinion, the movie is in 2 parts – the boring, cheesy, hokie 1st half BEFORE the wicked witch is shown and the well-told, fast-paced 2nd half after the green witch appears! I couldn’t tell if director Sam Raimi (Spider-man, Drag Me to Hell, The Grudge) wanted Oz to be as James Franco portrayed him, but he does have Franco’s personality written all over him. His traveling companions are the best part of the movie and are what make it charming and funny. The problem I think this movie has is trying to be a prequel to a movie it had not copyrights for in the first place. The monkeys are baboons and the witches seem to have very little personality. If it weren’t for the nice final act, I don’t think I would give this movie thumbs up based on visuals alone (which it has plenty of). Go take a look and see what your overall take is on a new installment into the world of Oz – before Dorothy or Elphaba.
7/10 Stars – Great visuals and a final act that saves it from not being a disappointment, however, no copyrights placed a huge burden on making this truly Great and Powerful.
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Category: Adventure, Blu-ray, Family, Fantasy, Sci-Fi · Tags: Abigail Spencer, Alice in Wonderland, Baboons, Bill Cobbs, Blockbuster, Bruce Campbell, Dorothy, Elphaba, Emerald City, flying monkies, hot air balloon, James Franco, Joey King, Magic, Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis, munchkins, Oz: The Great and Powerful, poppies, Rachel Weisz, Sam Raimi, Scarecrow, Stephen R. Hart, The Land of Oz, The Wizard of Oz, Tony Cox, wizard of oz, Zach Braff