Opening this weekend is a prequel to The Wizard of Oz called Oz the Great and Powerful. About the film:
Disney’s fantastical adventure Oz the Great and Powerful, directed by Sam Raimi, imagines the origins of L. Frank Baum’s beloved wizard character. When Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he’s hit the jackpot—fame and fortune are his for the taking—that is until he meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone’s been expecting. Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity—and even a bit of wizardry—Oscar transforms himself not only into the great wizard but into a better man as well.
I remember The Wizard of Oz playing once a year on TV and it was always an event. I remember the Michael Jackson version called The Wiz. I even remember Return to Oz with a very young Fairuza Balk in it. That being said, I still wasn’t all that excited for the new film. I never watched a trailer, didn’t really know who was in it besides James Franco and Zach Braff and knew they shot it in Michigan. So with no expectations this should be a slam dunk success right? Wrong, 100% wrong. I’ll start with the few positives.
Sam Raimi has made horror classics and no this isn’t a horror film, but Raimi has good tension in it. When one of the sisters turns into the iconic green wicked witch, Raimi never quite shows the audience her full transformation for a while. He keeps you guessing on her final look. The film looks great and does have a good feel even though it feels nothing like the original. Some people are really hyping the 3D, but I’m not a fan and didn’t think the 3D added anything of value to the film.
Scrubs alum Zach Braff is the only reason I’d ever watch this film again. His Finley the Monkey is awesome and pretty much the only thing I truly liked about the film. He’s funny and makes great faces and is what you would imagine J.D. would be like as a monkey.
That’s all I got for positives because I kinda thought the movie was terrible. James Franco seemed to be doing James Franco doing the Wizard and not just doing the Wizard. He was doing a caricature of himself as the Wizard instead of just portraying a character in a film.
I like Mila Kunis. I don’t think she’s an award winning actress, but she’s a good actress and does different genres of film and does them all well. It’s sad to say, but I didn’t like her one bit in this. Her witch’s cackle was all over the place. The make up they put on her was pretty bad too. It just wasn’t a good casting choice to me.
I think that’s my biggest complaint about the film, the cast. Besides Braff, none of them really did much for me. Rachel Weisz was good, but she usually always is and didn‘t have much to work with. Michelle Williams seemed to just be a pretty woman on screen for Franco to follow. I already mentioned Kunis and what was with the quick Bruce Campbell cameo? Come on man it’s Bruce freakin’ Campbell, give him a better cameo at least. And what was the point of the little China doll girl? I didn’t get that storyline at all.
The story of Oz the Great and Powerful is pretty straight forward and easy to understand, but did we really need it? The film will open number one to probably a big opening, but you gotta question why this is opening in March and not the summertime for summer blockbuster money. It seemed a bit violent in parts so younger kids might get scared. If Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland can make the money it made, this will surely pass that’s box office numbers. I bring up that movie because it’s the most recent film that has a lot of similarities and neither one I particularly liked. I know a lot of people planning on seeing this and bringing their kids, I just hope they aren’t as unsatisfied with it as much as I was.