Friday, July 12, 2013

Review: Oz: The Great and Powerful

Directed by     Sam Raimi


James Franco - Oscar Oz Diggs
Mila Kunis -Theodora - Wicked Witch of the West
Rachel Weisz - Evanora - Wicked Witch of the East
Michelle Williams - Glinda - Good Witch of the South
Zach Braff - Voice of Finley
Joey King - Voice of China Girl
Bill Cobbs - Master Tinker
Tony - Knuck
Bruce Campbell - Winkie guard

Oz: TGandP takes place some twenty or thirty years before the time of Dorothy in the Wizard of OZ. This movie is very much a "where did the main characters come from?" feel.  Several  are not in evidence while a few make very short appearances.

The story deals mainly with "OZ" escaping one perdicament only to find himself embroiled in those of OZ.

Many a homage is paid towards the MGM WofOZ that would be ill of me to mention them in case you haven't see this film / dvd yet.  But you do get a feel for what brought about the creation of many of the main characters.  

The film starts with con man and small time carnival magician  escaping from an enraged boy friend only to be transported to the Land of Oz.  There he is befriended by good which Theodora and learns the dire conditions that the Emerald City is in with the murder of the king by the wicked.   Theodora believing that Oscar is  the Wizard as told of in prophecy,   escorts him to the Emerald City.  

Oscar  is told that to become King he must destroy the wicked witch.  He sets out and along the way accrues   a motley crew consisting of a china doll and a winged monkey.

There are a few change ups and reversals and things are often not what they seem. 

The story is a wee bit thin.  If you grew up on the MGM musical, you will find the "prequel" nature of this film interesting, from the standpoint of, where did all these people come from....If you read the book series you could be aggravated at the liberties taken and if you have done neither, there is a great possibility that you will become lost in the convolutions.         

I would give the movie a 7.5.  Disney has a habit of rewriting history to suit their needs and the final product often only vaguely    resembles the original work.  I don't  think they were so openly aggressive in this case, but in typical Disney fashion, lots of splash and color and little substance.  Plus sadly many of their earlier works far outshine this one.

As for extras?  slight but interesting.  Walt's desire to do something with the Oz products that he had reserved really is an interesting look into the past.  What he wanted and what got made are a very interesting.  I would go as far as an 8 on this merit alone.   15.5 total on the film    and a 7.75 overall is something I think hits the mark pretty well. 

It is worth the rent, maybe not so much the purchase...but I am on the fence there.


Dave Tackett said...

Sounds better than I was afraid it might be. It looks gorgeous, but I've little confidence in Franco's ability to carry a film.

Beam Me Up said...

Good point Dave and were it not for his supporting cast, that very well may have happened. Franco seems to be playing a single note, but it is one that suits his character but China Girl is endearing, Glinda totally believable, Finley has his moments. So by the end of the film you can buy Oscar Diggs reformation. I have to say though that Walt really had reservations about doing an an Oz project. Even as good as this one looks, I would bet that Walt would still pass on Oz.

kallamis said...

Seriously guys? He is something to complain about? Really? I haven't seen this movie yet, but I have seen other s done and other people. Need I mention Bay, Or Shamadink here. And I personally gave up on Disney back with the movie titled The Black Hole. They took a great concept of the interdimensional theory, and turned into religious gobbly gook. So I personally haven't had faith in Disney in a very long time. And it's a good thing that they got that Star Battle thing movie franchise whathca-ma-call-it. It should fit right into all their other unintelligent mouse eared induced nonsense.

Dave Tackett said...

kallamis: Not complain, but question. He seems a bit too limited for a lead role (He's a somewhat of a male version of Kristen Stewart).

I'll see your Bay and Shamalamadingdong and raise you an Uwe Boll. But seriously, saying it could be worse isn't much of a recommendation.

Yes, The Black Hole sucked warm sick though a short straw. But, that was 34 years ago!!!

As for Star Wars: Ewoks, Jar-Jar, Midi-chlorians, Greedo shooting first, the added CGI in episode IV, and virtually everything else since (except some books and comics) The Empire Strikes Back. The Star Wars franchise has needed help for a very long time, and with the exception of the three above mentioned directors, virtually anybody would be able to do it. (Even Asylum "Sharknado" Pictures could produce a better script than Attack of the Clones

kallamis said...

You want to know something really bad here Dave? I usually watch things that are done by Asylum. I know what to expect, and sometimes they actually surprise you with something that turns out decent somehow. But yeah, that star thing has needed help after the first one. And I'm still trying to figure out how mystical energy field turned into bugs in the blood. Or I guess that should be vice versa there huh? Apparently Old Ben lost his mind and forgot that part so he just called it a mystical energy field and forgot about the rest of it.

Beam Me Up said...

OMG Sharknado! I just caught that trailer in one of the movies I just watched...I honestly thought that it was a joke! A tornado that sucked up a crapload of man eaters! Seriously?!! Someone needs to pay a penance for that attack on the human consciousness!

kallamis said...

Well, guys, there is only one way to handle such a movie in order to watch it.One is to get good and drunk. But since my body despises alcohol now days, I go another route. And check out this link I am putting in here. Wil Wheaton called the movie awesome. I haven't seen it yet. I'm kind of afraid it may go a bit too far even for bad movie lovers like myself here.

Beam Me Up said...

No Kall, this movie will become either a period in the footnote of Disney film making or a cult film with a crazed middle ground