Rated PG for sequences of action and scary
images, and brief mild language
Directed by Sam Raimi
Produced by Joe Roth
Based on Oz series
by L. Frank Baum
Music by Danny Elfman
Cinematography Peter Deming
Editing by Bob Murawski
Walt Disney Pictures
Distributed by Walt Disney
March 8, 2013
Running time 130 minutes
Country United States
Disney has done the unthinkable! Itís a prequel to The Wizard of
OzÖ which makes sense since they did a sequel to it years ago.
That sequel was a mindfuck, by the way. And it was awesome.
Amazingly, this prequel isnít half bad either.
Oz: The Great and Powerful tells the story
of Oscar Diggs, the man who would eventually become the legendary
Wizard of Oz. We learn who he was before he came to the land of
Technicolor, how he came to Oz, and how he became the Wizard. We even
learn the origins of the Wicked Witch which is actually quite a bit
more interesting and unexpected.
Hey, Iíll be the first one to
admit that I wasnít expecting to like this movie. To me, it seemed a
bit much Ė like an episode of Cake Boss where the boss keeps yelling
ďMORE RAINBOW FROSTING!Ē and unicorns flew out of his ass as he farted
cotton candy and rainbow and, yes, it can be a bit much at
times. Take the sequence when Oscar first arrives in OzÖ itís like a
goddamn special effects demo reel. You almost want to slap the movie
and tell it to dial it down. It didnít make me feel wonderÖ just a
sense of annoyance at someone showing off.
As expected, Oz:
The Great and Powerful falls short in every aspect when compared
to the original classic as you would expect it to. The Wizard of
Oz is a true cinematic treasure that, almost 80 years later, is
still looks more polished than most modern day fantasies. Still,
Oz: The Great and Powerful ainít that bad. Itís a little uneven
tonally, but still very enjoyable.
One of the greatest fails of
the movie is, unfortunately, James Franco. I love the guy, I really
do, but he was wrong for this movie. The Wizard is supposed to be a
larger than life figure of bombastic presentation and bullshittery.
Franco comes off as a leering pedophile-like character that just oozes
uncomfortability in every scene heís in. He almost looks like heís
trying to figure out a way to fuck every other character in the movie.
The Great and Powerful is still pretty good, though. The story is
different enough from The Wizard of Oz to be its own separate entity
and avoids and direct comparisons (at least from those who have
actually watched the movies). It introduces some pretty neat
characters like a china doll girl, a winged monkey, and a beautiful
witch who wants to be good. They are what holds the movie together.
All in all, itís uneven and overpowering in places, but as for a
prequel to a movie that is, face it, sacred, itís not that bad. Ten
years from now, I think kids will still be watching the original,
barely aware this one even exists, but as an extension of the tale, it
could have been much worse.