Critical Condition

Oz: The Great and Powerful

2.5 Stars

   


Oz the Great and Powerful

Rated PG for sequences of action and scary images, and brief mild language

Directed by Sam Raimi

Produced by Joe Roth

Screenplay by
Mitchell Kapner
David Lindsay-Abaire
Story by Mitchell Kapner

Based on Oz series
by L. Frank Baum

Starring
James Franco
Mila Kunis
Rachel Weisz
Michelle Williams
Zach Braff
Bill Cobbs
Joey King
Tony Cox

Music by Danny Elfman

Cinematography Peter Deming

Editing by Bob Murawski

Studio
Walt Disney Pictures
Roth Films
Curtis-Donen Productions

Distributed by Walt Disney Studios

Release date
March 8, 2013

Running time 130 minutes

Country United States

Language English.

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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.

Oz: 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.

2.5 Stars

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