It turns out, more than one movie came out this weekend. That is right. The very strongly advertised and anticipated Oz The Great And Powerful. Really, I feel bad for any other movie trying to make money. It’d be like coming out vs The Avengers.
Of course, there is also the potential for naysayers. You can’t touch The Wizard of Oz after all. It is too nostalgic to be remade, re-imagined, or even associated with anything. Okay sure. Maybe the classic was based off of a book and not original. But at least it was the only one, right?
Fuck to the no. That classic was at least the 6th or 7th movie version of it, in a 30 year span. I just like to point this stuff out to people, who are quick to say Hollywood is no longer original, always rebooting. The movie you love was a reboot on its own.
So if they want to make up a prequel, with a lame china doll girl, by all means, I say let them!
Go figure, it takes place in Kansas. Oz (James Franco) is working at a traveling fair, being quite the ladies man. Maybe too much of a ladies man. His assistant Frank (Zach Braff) he treats like a trained monkey! Foreshadowing. Either way, he makes the Strong Man angry. Has to run, hops in a hot air balloon. Oh no, Tornado! Boom, Oz.
Shit is all in color and widescreen. Potentially dangerous as well.
Good thing he was found by Theodora (Mila Kunis) and not some creepy flying monkey. She is a witch, but thankfully not wicked. Nor is her sister, Evanora (Rachel Weisz), the current pseudo-ruler of Oz. They are all stoked, that the prophecy is coming true! An Oz will save the day, destroy the witch, and he will rule the land. Yay!
Or you know, shenanigans. Greed. Oz isn’t really the nicest or most honest man. Not to mention not actually being a wizard. Can he, will he, kill the witch? Well, just think about the fact that this is a prequel, then figure it out.
Featuring Michelle Williams as Glinda the Good, Joey King as china doll girl, Tony Cox as a helper, Bill Cobbs as a “Tinkerer” and Bruce Campbell. Why Bruce? Because its a Sam Raimi film.
Plot Twist: Bruce Campbell is the wicked witch!
I watched Oz on the opening night, in 3D, of course. It opens with a long title sequence, and its pretty fantastic. Really sets the mood. If you couldn’t tell from the trailer, the Kansas scenes are in a brown tinted lack of color scope, and squarely in the middle of the screen. Thats okay.
But Oz? Oz kind of turns into a CGI slugfest, over the top and extraordinary. I should have known it when I saw it was Alice In Wonderland producers, which might have had 2 real actors the whole movie as far as I could tell. Nothing wrong with special effects, but most of the time, the cast felt out of place or up against a green screen.
The acting in the movie isn’t the best either. Franco seemed like he wasn’t trying, nor did really any of the witches. Kunis plays some odd naivety, Weisz typical angst, and Williams felt like she had nothing to work with.
I might have been a bit bored halfway through, waiting for the eventual plot changes.
But you know what? The ending is kind of amazing. The attack on Oz, to the playful tricks (some of which are obvious, but not all of them), to the resolution, all feels pretty dang great. Not to mention a small part where Sam Raimi actually threw in an Evil Dead reference, which made me as giddy as a school girl.
Was this movie a lot less spectacular than advertised? Yes. But the ending almost made it super worthy to me.
2 out of 4.