“…for when you believe, anything is possible.“ – James Franco as Oz
What’s good: The story is very entertaining.
What’s not good: Too reliant on special effects to tell the story.
What happened: Everyone has visions of greatness. Anything is possible as long as you set your mind to it. While some take advantage of their opportunities and become great, others fall short and never truly realize their full potential. ‘Oz the Great and Powerful’ shows one man’s journey on his path to greatness.
Selfish, egotistical, cruel, and liar are all ways one would describe Oscar Diggs (James Franco). This magician works for a traveling circus under the moniker ‘Oz the Great and Powerful’. He may have aspirations of greatness, but a recent incident on stage threatens to ruin everything. Oz is forced to go on the run when his womanizing finally catches up to him. A quickly approaching tornado will provide Oscar the chance to be the legend he was destined to be.
Oscar’s arrival convinces Theodora (Mila Kunis) that the prophecy is real. She may seem harmless, but this is one witch you don’t want to mess with. Toying with her emotions ultimately brings about a horrific transformation. Her sister Evanora (Rachel Weisz) took control of Oz after what happened long ago. Glinda (Michelle Williams) has become an outcast because of it and is determined to makes things right. Oscar finds himself in a war between witches and isn’t so sure that he’s up to the task. His only allies are a talking monkey in Finley (Zach Braff) and a little China Doll (Joey King). Oscar must defeat the evil witches and save the people of Oz.
‘Oz the Great and Powerful’ is a pretty fun movie for adults and children alike. It is a simple story with a good message. The obvious stars of the film are the special effects and Rachel Weisz. The visuals are absolutely stunning when we finally get to Oz. Everything from the animals to the landscape was very well done. The scene where Oscar helps the China Doll walk was absolutely phenomenal. Weisz’s standout performance was by far the best of the bunch. Her villainous role really made the movie work. James Franco deserves honorable mention as the shady yet loveable hero. Mila Kunis is good in everything she does, but seems to be an odd fit for this one. She is great until her character transforms. Still, her transformation was cool to watch. The main issue with ‘Oz the Great and Powerful’ is it’s excessive use of special effects. As great as they were, you will feel like you are being bombarded with them. Several scenes go by where Franco must have been on set all by himself. This is especially apparent when his character is running for his life early on. Almost the entire chase was done in CGI. The best movies are the ones that use special effects to enhance a story rather than tell it. Relying on special effects takes away from the actual plot and makes you focus more on the visuals. Hollywood should understand that audiences care more about intriguing plot lines than spectacular special effects. Placing more of an emphasis on developing a unique story will allow the actors to shine.
Bottom Line: ‘Oz the Great and Powerful’ is worth the steep price of admission and a commendable addition to the franchise.
Rating: PG Run time: 2 hours, 10 minutes
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