Oz the Great and Powerful – Movie Review
By Anne Brodie Mar 7, 2013, 22:52 GMT
The prequel to the 1939 classic "The Wizard of Oz" tells of a circus performer named Oz, who is transported through a tornado to the mysterious land of Oz, where he must fight real magic and three witches battling for control of the land. ...more
The origins story behind the Wonderful Wizard of Oz’ arrival and life in the Emerald City is familiar, traditional and new. The elements of Dorothy’s tornado-driven arrival in Oz are vividly redrawn for an earlier time. But the Emerald City is darker and ominous, a choice in stark contrast to the jolly place of the 1930 movie.
A handsome, self-proclaimed “con man” Oscar (James Franco) is working the crowds in rural Kansas in an unknown time period, winning them over with magic and illusions and seducing its women with tiny music boxes that allegedly belonged to his grandmother. He’s lying of course; he has them manufactured in bulk and hands them out to doe eyed gals.
A young woman (Michelle Williams) he is truly drawn to visits him in his circus caravan to tell him she is engaged, dropping strong hints that she won’t be if he says the word. He tells her he’s not worthy of her. Oscar’s a bounder of course, and he admits it, but soon disgruntled patrons are on his trail and he makes good his escape in a hot air balloon. But as fate would have it, he flies right into a twister. Like Dorothy after him, the experience changes his life forever.
After a massive pummeling by Mother Nature, he falls through the clouds onto the magical ground. He has landed in a Technicolor dreamscape of flowers and sunshine – Oz! A flying monkey named Finley (Zach Braff) calls for his help. Finley’s entangled by vines and a lion’s about to attack him. This is the kind of world Oscar’s fallen into.
Ahead are meetings with witches of the good and bad sort (Rachel Weisz, Mila Kunis) romance, terror, tyranny and revolution. And it all depends on Oscar, now Oz’, magical abilities. He has found an opportunity to use his con artist experiences for good. And that’s all you’re getting.
The film doesn’t hit anywhere near the heights The Wizard of Oz reached in 1939. Our tastes have changed and so has the marketplace. The attention span is shorter today and the payoffs have to be bigger, flashier, and more explosive and come quicker.
There isn’t time for dreaming and the danger never lets up. It’s a darker concept and thank God for James Franco’s winning smile and character. If not for him it Oz the Great and Powerful would be a grim experience.
The 3D perfection and depth feels somewhat metallic and sharp and the vastness of the vast visual field don’t allow the viewer to focus on the details of the fantasy world so painstakingly created. The artwork and design in the film is breathtaking at times.
The costuming is absolutely glorious and offers a big hit of nostalgia. In the end it’s a little awkward and thin, but it wins points through the enthusiastic performances and big ideas that went into this wonderful conceit of Oz and its Munchkins.
Visit the movie database for more information.
35mm fantasy adventure
Written by L. Frank Baum, Mitchell Kapner, David Lindsay-Abaire
Directed by Sam Raimi
Opens March 8
Runtime: 127 minutes
MPAA: Rated PG for Sequences of Action and Scary Images and Brief Mild Language
FROM THE WEB
Further Reading on M&CJames Franco Biography -
James Franco Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesMichelle Williams (actress) Biography - Mila Kunis Biography -
Mila Kunis Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesRachel Weisz Biography -
Rachel Weisz Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesSam Raimi Biography -
Sam Raimi Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sites
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