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Oz the Great and Powerful - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
Oz the Great and Powerful
Directing: C+
Acting: C+
Writing: C
Cinematography: B+
Editing: B-
Special Effects: B-

There was clearly a lot of very imaginative people who worked on Oz the Great and Powerful. Unfortunately, that apparently did not include the script writers, just about anyone in the makeup department, or even the casting director.

Let's cut to the chase. Okay, I guess I won't spoil this for you, even though I really want to, since I don't recommend you see this film. I mean, your kids could enjoy it. If you're older than about eleven and think this movie is great then we pretty much live on different planes of existence. Anyway, there are three witches in this sort-of prequel to The Wizard of Oz: Theodora (Mila Kunis); Evanora (Rachel Weisz), and Glinda (Michelle Williams). One of them transforms into the familiar green-skinned Wicked Witch; I won't say who. I'll just say that in her "before" form, she is lovely. In her "after" form, in spite of vocal coaching to perfect the cackle (I actually wondered if that was overdubbed by someone else; apparently not), she proves to be wildly miscast.

The movie kind of torpedoes from then on. This Wicked Witch was so stunted in her expression of character, so oddly costumed, so badly applied with makeup, and so far from anything even remotely resembling a deliciously threatening villain -- something a movie like this needs -- that I could hardly even take it. I stopped engaging with the story, which had actually been kind of charming up to that point. I literally fell asleep at one point. There's a whole sequence I missed. I don't think it made or broke the movie though. I don't need to go back and re-watch it, believe me.

Oz the Great and Powerful isn't terrible. It's just patently blah, when all is said and done. Even Michelle Willams can't lend any kind of gravitas to the proceedings.

The effects don't exactly help. A lot of the wide shots are brilliant with color and imagination -- the production designers, if no one else, are to be commended -- but some of the CGI does not mix in well with the live-action characters. There are several instances of James Franco, as Oz, carrying a walking and talking all-porcelain China Girl (voiced by Joey King), and it's blatantly obvious that Franco was acting to nothingness during filming. The girl never quite sits in his hand or on his shoulder right; there's something always off kilter there, and I could not stop noticing it.

I liked that little China Girl, though. I also enjoyed the bellhop-dressed monkey (voiced by Zach Braff), even though the very existence of neither character ever made sense. I don't suppose it had to; this is Oz, after all. In any case, China Girl got all the best lines. I'd watch a movie just about her.

No one else was anywhere near as interesting, even though the movie tries very hard to make them interesting. This is the story of how Oz became the fabled Wizard. There's a lot of talk about a prophesy and how he's there to fulfill it. Between prophesies and wizards and witches, this movie just made me long for the far, far superior Harry Potter movies.

This was the weirdest thing: why would a land in which actual witches are embroiled in rivalries and battles, get saved by a guy who was not actually a wizard, but was only pretending to be one? Even the good witch(es?) pin their hopes on this guy, including one who finds out he's faking it! These are women with genuine magical powers, mind you. But somehow, it's a carnival magician's sleight of hand that saves the day? I just don't get it.

That's the long and short of it, really. Oz the Great and Powerful doesn't make any sense, and is miscast, and uninspired. I hear there are going to be sequels, hooray!

James Franco has a bit of an adventure with a bellhop monkey and a China girl (voiced by Zach Braff and Joey King) in OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL.

Overall: C+
1 comment or Leave a comment
tommy50702 From: tommy50702 Date: March 18th, 2013 04:02 am (UTC) (Link)
I found out that this is a prequel. Not a remake.
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