Directed by: Sam Raimi
Starring: James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams, Zach Braff, Joey King
Sassi’s Star Rating: 2.5/5
Oz, The Great and Powerful . . . and apparently humble? Touching down in the beloved land of Oz is tricky for any production company, even the mighty Disney.
In a circus roaming the plains of America, the magician Oz is a two-bit conman, wooing and leaving a chain of heart-broken girls in his wake. Never concerned for anything more than money and fame, Oz (James Franco) has no redeeming quality, despite the efforts of his manager Frank (Zach Braff). When a tornado sweeps Oz into the merry old land of . . . well . . . Oz, he is forced into a battle between sister witches, a place no man wants to land.
He comes across the blindly innocent witch Theodora (Mila Kunis). Who guides him to the Emerald city, while managing to fall deeply in love with him over night. On the way Oz rescues a flying monkey named Finley (Zach Braff), then a china doll (Joey King), before eventually running into the witch Glinda (Michelle Williams).
If you could pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, the movie might be better, but it’s hard to feel sympathy toward Franco. The way Oz treats and ditches Theodora puts you on her side, where you’re definitely not supposed to be.
While the CGI is beautiful, it feels over done, especially with the love of The Wizard of Oz. You want the visuals to be as breathtaking for our time, as the original was for its own. But Oz falls a bit flat – gimmicky use of 3D effects and obvious dialogue such as, ‘They’re getting closer,” when we clearly see hordes of baboons rushing toward the characters, give the feeling that too much was left to CGI, inhibiting the characters from interacting on set.
The witches frustratingly rely on the ‘strength’ of Oz, seeming to forget they are powerful witches in their native world and could handle things on their own – Dorothy needs to drop in and show these ladies how to get things done. I’m not trying to sound like a feminist, but the movie made me feel like little else.
If you want to get lost in a magical world, there are some neat scenes, the mending of the china girl is well done, as well as the opening credits, so it’s not all a loss. The film has a lot of potential, I just wish they had built some redeeming characters, before they saturated the screen with CGI.
Follow the yellow brick road, just mind your step for plot holes. Oz, the Great and Powerful in cinemas now!
Category: Film & TV