Oz, The Great and Powerful

Release Date: March 7, 2013
Director: Sam Raimi
Novel by: L. Frank Baum
Screenplay: Mitchell Kapner, David Lindsay-Abaire
Cast: James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams, Zach Braff, Joey King

After watching Oz: The Great and Powerful, I wondered how Oz would have been with Johnny Depp or Robert Downey Jr. instead of James Franco. But we got the third choice, and while Franco did an adequate job, he wasn’t that great (or powerful).

Oz: The Great and Powerful is about Oscar Zoroaster Phadrig Isaac Norman Henkel Emmannuel Ambroise Diggs, “Oz” for short. He’s a magician from a traveling circus and is kind of a jerk. This makes his admiration of Thomas Alva Edison quite appropriate. One day, he jumps into his hot air balloon and into a tornado when trying to run away from “his problems.” He lands in Oz, and everything is pretty. He seizes the opportunity to become the ruler of Emerald City when he matches a prophecy. But things are not as expected, and he will find his inner worth to stand up for his new friends and defeat some evil witches.

So yeah, it’s a prequel to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz book, and it’s a story of a man of dubious character that wants to be great but learns to be good. He also defeats magic with science! Steampunk science! That alone makes the movie seem awesome. The problem is the many tone changes it goes through, which would be fine if they were done in a more cohesive way. So it was good it was so visually stunning, because it made up for the lack of rhythm at parts. All the production value was excellent though, beginning from the black and white that showed the previous life of Oz before he fell into, well, Oz.

Now let me say it’s the CGI characters that steal the show, both Finley the flying monkey (Braff) and the China Girl (King) were engaging, cute, funny, brave and had good lines. The China Girl even had a backstory! They made the time Franco was on screen better. Sadly, you couldn’t say the same thing about Williams’ Glinda. She’s usually a more than decent actress, but she was acting like a grown-up Childlike Empress at times. Her fight scenes were good though, which felt good after she was turned into a damsel in distress. The other actresses fared better. Kunis as Theodora was as good as Franco, and her character was a nice contrast to his. Theodora was nice and innocent, and Oz was still a jerk. Then a transformation happened, and Kunis was as hammy as the character required and she did it excellently. Finally, there was Weisz as Evanora, who was the most consistently good at playing her character.

Oz: The Great and Powerful is an OK movie. It’s not remarkable and won’t be cherished as The Wizard of Oz, but it’s very pretty and it’ll keep you entertained. And apparently the audience liked it just fine and a sequel has been already greenlit.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

mirella

YAM Magazine geek resident. Cloud Cuckoolander. Seldom web developer. Graphic designer.

14 Responses

  1. amy says:

    And 3D? Worth it?
    I think Williams fared worse because it’s Glinda, you can’t not make her talk childlike because of the 1939 version of Wizard of Oz.

    • Mirella says:

      @amy, 3D was decent. It worked for the movie. But it wasn’t that great either. LOL, that movie should have been called Oz. the OK and Average XD

      • amy says:

        @Mirella, did you hear the story on how James Franco was offered the role? xD Do you think Downey or Johnny would have fared better in the role?

        • Mirella says:

          @amy, I knew he was the third option XD I would have loved RDJ better. While I love Depp, it would be a tad too Tim Burton-y~

        • amy says:

          @Mirella, but do you know how he became the third option? Who knew he was going to suck so much hosting the Oscars. xD

        • Mirella says:

          @amy, tell me what you know about Franco being the third option XD

        • amy says:

          @amy, Disney was apparently desperate for a third option, and since Franco was set to host the Oscar, they apparently thought that would make him a bankable personality. I don’t think anyone expected him to suck. I think Franco got paid like $7M for this gig, so he’s going to have to sell this good or Papa Disney ain’t going to be pleased.

          Considering how movie distribution is going, I wouldn’t be surprised to have one major studio that would control all properties (kinda like channels being controlled by one media company), so you wouldn’t want to be B.O poison.

        • mirella says:

          @amy, LOL. Oh well, considering it’s March and that means a shitty season for movies, Oz didn’t do bad for an openning weekend. And they want a sequel already XD

  2. sluvia says:

    Awesome review, especially on the character of OZ, Loved the Monkey and China Doll. Saw it in IMAX 3D. Pretty Impressive. Johnny DEPP would have been my choice. Kunis as Theodora was EXCELLENT!! Thanks Mirella!!

  3. Rodrigo says:

    Joey King and Zach Braff as showstealers, lol. But glad to hear that Mila Kunis did well, but then again she can have great chemistry with a corpse, so…

    Is the 3D worth it? The cinema near my place only shows it subbed in 3D and I hate seeing it dubbed.

    • Mirella says:

      @Rodrigo, the 3D is decent. Not wow-awesome. But enjoyable and it worked well!

      • Rodrigo says:

        @Mirella, Saw this one a few days ago and I take it back on Braff and King. They were fantastic to watch (more like, hear) on the film. Kinda funny that the CGI characters were better developed and executed than the human ones, even if Oz learns to be “good” after starting off as a douche.

  1. August 3, 2014

    […] Sam Raimi’s Oz: The Great and Powerful, which deals with how Oz becomes the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy of Oz has Dorothy (Lea Michele) […]

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