Friday, March 8, 2013

Oz: The Great and Powerful (2013): Review

Tonight I went and saw Oz: The Great and Powerful and I wasn't sure what to expect.  Lately the movies with a more mystical, otherly world tale have been disappointing, so going into this one I didn't want to get my hopes up, just to have them dashed when the movie didn't live up to what I was expecting.  Add onto that, the higher expectations automatically added to this movie because it is the prequel of the classic The Wizard of Oz (1939) which is part of society and a movie that is consistently referenced and expected to be know.  It is even referenced in The Avengers and as the Captain states "I get that reference." With all of the advertising of this movie, I was hoping that the best parts were not being shown in the previews and that it would be able to be more then just a brightly colored, beautifully shot movie.
As stated above, I was quite apprehensive going into this movie, and I discovered upon viewing that there were parts that I really liked but others that were not good at all. Put these parts together and it was an average movie, good enough but probably not worth the amount of money and hype put into it.
Oz: The Great and Powerful is the story of how the Wizard of Oz finds himself to be in the Land of Oz and thrust into the role as the Wizard.  It starts in black and white with a narrower screen frame (reminiscent of the original) and sets up Oscar, played by James Franco, a side show magitian at the World's Fair.  It shows that he is an allusionist and sets him up as a man who just wants to be famous.  It introduces actors that will be in the Land of Oz, once he is transported through the tornado in his hot air balloon.  Once he ends up in Oz he meets Theadora, played by Mila Kunis, who believes that his is the Great Wizard that they have been waiting for to avenge her father's death from the Wicked Witch.  Through his interactions with Evanora, played by Rachel Weisz, Glinda, played by Michelle Williams, and the people of the Land of Oz, he has to figure out who is good, who is evil, and discover if he has it within himself to become the Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz.
I think that this movie was successful in certain parts. I liked how it was able to get to a place, at the end of the movie, where I could picture the story continuing and the people of Oz truly being in the farce of the Wizard.  The action scenes, specifically the finial battle were fun, with a bit of excitement and a lot of flash.  I really liked the supporting cast of Glinda and specifically Finley, voiced by Zack Braff, as Oscar's dedicated servant and sidekick, flying monkey.  The interactions between the two were great, even though Finley was computer generated.  Overall the movie was beautiful to look at and it embraced the rich colors that are used to make the Land of Oz.  It was nice that in the different locations they took on different color schemes and the locations referenced the general moods of the origianl film.
Of the negatives, I believe that the worse was Mila Kunis.  She was casted as Theadora who becomes the Wicked Witch of the West, and I do not think that she was the right choice.  When she was on screen she seemed very disconnected from what was happening and it just didn't work. I could not see how she would become the Wicked Witch of the original movie and I just wanted her to get off screen when she was there.  It may have been this story arc but I think it might have worked if it had a different person there. 
I went to see this movie in IMAX 3D and although the IMAX was fine and at times was beneficial especially with the beautiful coloring of the movie the 3D was distracting.  It felt like that majority of the 3D was for things coming at you, jump factor and this is not what I like when seeing 3D.  I would have preferred it if it focused more on the dimension in the movie instead of things being thrown out at me.  There were also times were there was too much CG which I found distracting and obviously CG.
Although I focused on some big negative, Overall I thought the move was good and the good parts outweigh the negatives and bring my scoring back into a recommendation range. This film is set for families but is a little scary for younger audiences.

My Rating: 2


  1. No one will be talking about it 74 years from now like the classic that spawned it but we kind of already knew that, didn't we? Good review Jane.

    1. Thanks. I agree, this one will not stand up anywhere like the original but it is still a fun night (or day) out for the family.