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We're off to see the wizard the not so wonderful wizard of Oz
Oz The Great and Powerful (DVD)
Member Name: jipp05
Oz The Great and Powerful (DVD)
Advantages: James Franco and Rachel Weisz are good and the film does look spectacular
Disadvantages: A bit boring and pedestrian
I have a confession to make. I have never actually seen the Wizard of Oz. I feel like I am the only person who hasn't seen it as everyone I have spoken to it has seen it including all my family (I have no idea where I was when they were all watching it). I did love the 1980's sequel Return to Oz however and remember seeing it several times as a child and thinking that it was not only a bit frightening but also very twisted and weird. Knowing the plot of the original was also a bit dark I was really looking forward to the new prequel and wondering what they would do for modern audiences.
~~~~~~~~~~ The Plot ~~~~~~~~~~
Oz: The Great and Powerful is a prequel to the original Wizard of Oz and follows the Wizard as he is transported to Oz. We also get some back story on the land of Oz before Dorothy and Toto arrive and also get to meet the witches one of whom will before the film finishes be turned into the famous wicked witch. There is something about a prophesy about a Wizard named after the land of Oz who will fall from the sky and rid the land of evil and ascend the throne as the rightful ruler of Oz. Of course it is never this easy and Oscar must go on a quest before he can claim the throne for himself.
~~~~~~~~~~ My thoughts ~~~~~~~~~~
I have to say that I was left feeling both frustrated and disappointed with Oz: The great and Powerful. That isn't to say that the film didn't have some great parts but in the end I felt that the film makers squandered an opportunity to make a brilliant film.
The film starts with Oscar Diggs who later becomes the Wizard working as a fairground magician on a travelling circus. Of course the film starts in Kansas and is filmed in black and white. As this part of the film is period the black and white works well and I also think it works as a great way to relax the viewer before assaulting their senses with the vibrant Technicolor that is Oz. This is one of the films main strengths in my opinion is that it looks absolutely fantastic when Oscar arrives in Oz. Everything is so vivid and the set pieces of Oz look absolutely amazing from the flowers to the Emerald City itself. The whole film is a real feast for the eyes.
My biggest criticism of the film is that it is just so pedestrian. The plot is paper thin which isn't a problem in itself but the most unforgivable part is that it is just a bit boring. We never find out exactly how Oscar is transported to Oz, apparently it is something to do with a prophesy but when he is actually there not a lot happens. It all looks spectacular but the script could have been written by a child. I was also disappointed with just how family friendly this is. I knew going in that it was a film aimed at families but some of the best family films have some darkness to them and I am sorry but I cannot imagine any child would find parts of this scary it was as frightening as the Tellytubbies. I expected better considering that this is a film by Sam Raime the man who gave us the original Evil Dead movie which is one of the most twisted films in cinematic history.
I also found the cast to be a bit hit and miss. I had read a lot of negative reviews concerning James Franco who plays the main character of Oscar Diggs saying that he had been completely miscast but I actually enjoyed his performance and thought he brought a lot of likeability and charm to a character that could be considered unlikeable.
Michelle Williams plays Glenda the good witch and she came to this film straight after playing Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn and I could have sworn that she was still inhibiting this character and had she broke in to a rendition of Happy Birthday Mr President I would not have been surprised.
The majority of the reviews I read about this film seemed to save all their best reviews for Mila Klunis who plays Theodora but I thought she was absolutely terrible and the worst of all the cast for me personally. I just found her to be shrill and annoying and I couldn't wait for her to be off the screen.
The most successful of all the main actors for me would have to be Rachel Weiz as Evanora who I thought not only looked absolutely beautiful on screen but she also seemed to be having the most fun with her character and completely blew away the other witches when they were on screen together.
The two main supporting 'actors' were really good and there was something in their performance for both adults and children alike to enjoy. Zach Braff voiced the character of Finley the flying monkey and he managed to generate a good few laughs. The character of China Doll was both amusing and a little bit creepy and I thought that overall these two characters were probably the best written in the entire film.
I went to see this in 3D and I am in two minds about it. Parts of the 3D looked amazing just like the rest of the film but parts of it actually left me feeling a little dizzy. I don't think the 3D was as successful as say Avitar but I think it was a lot better than the majority of 3D where you can tell things were added later after filming to up the 3D content.
~~~~~~~~~~ Recommendation ~~~~~~~~~~
Oz: The Great and Powerful wasn't an awful movie by any means but there was a lot that was wrong with it as far as I am concerned. I thought it was directed really well and it looked stunning but there were parts of the film where I thought it was boring and I think this was the fault of the script which just wasn't strong enough. I went in hoping for a new classic that could be enjoyed by all ages but left feeling that this was a film that was definitely only for kids as it just didn't have enough for adults to enjoy other than how it looked. I thought the film had all the elements to be a really good and enjoyable family film but it just fell a little bit flat for me. I did enjoy the majority of the performances in the film and enjoyed seeing more of the world of Oz being realized on screen and you could certainly see where the budget had been spent ( the estimated budget for the film is a staggering 215 million dollars) but when the film had finished I left the cinema feeling disappointed and was almost as if I had been cheated as the tone of the film was different to the one that was presented up on the screen.
I wouldn't personally watch this again but I am glad that I have seen it and for all fans of the original I guess you need to see this so that you can compare and contrast. Personally I wouldn't go in with high expectations and you might not be as disappointed as me. I am sure that kids will love it as it is a riot of colours and there is just enough in it that adults should be able to sit through it too. Overall I would give this two stars out of five as it was watchable but not great.
~~~~~~~~~~ Runtime ~~~~~~~~~~
The film runtime is 130 minutes so make sure and go to the toilet before hand
~~~~~~~~~~ Cast ~~~~~~~~~~
James Franco - Oscar Diggs
Michelle Williams - Glenda the good witch
Mila Kunis - Theodora
Rachel Weisz - Evanora
Zach Braff - Frank/Finley
Joey King - China Girl
Tony Cox - Knuck
Summary: Might be good for kids but missing something to make it an all round classic for the whole family