Oz is Powerful But Not so Great

Oz the Great and Powerful starts off strong. The story begins in black and white Kanas and viewers are introduced to the famous Oz. Oscar is worse than imagined. Though he possesses showmanship and a talent for stage magic, his personality is ruined by his lust for women and money. He treats his personal assistant badly, and leaves Kanas on a hot air balloon fleeing an angry husband.oz-the-great01

Oscar wakes up in the beautiful vibrant and psychedelic world of Oz. He is immediately found by the wide eyed and naive Theodora. Oscar takes no time to play on her ignorance and takes advantage of her affections as well as her offers to run Oz as a rich and powerful king. But it comes with a price; he must slay the Wicked Witch of the West.

A story of redemption, the movie engages viewers with character who literally develop before your eyes. James Franco is perfect as the wise cracking magician. It is exciting to see his character want and actually change as he fights for a cause. Entertainment Weekly claims Franco is horrible miscast but that could not be further from the truth. The only issue with acting is with Michelle William’s performance as Glinda. But the material for her character is bland and one dimensional that Williams does not have much to work with. Rachel Weisz has a delightful cackle, and Mila Kunis gives her best performance to date.

The movie is visually stunning even in 2D. Care was taken to develop each characters look, make-up and wardrobe. With Greg Nicotero assisting with visual effects, this movie was guaranteed to be a visual treat. He’s most well-known for his work on The Walking Dead, but he resume is too long to list. The world is gorgeous and exactly what we hoped to see in Oz. The creatures are fully realized and each town has its own flair.

reg_1024_OzTheGreat2_mh_021313One of the movie’s biggest problems  is that the plot seems to have been mashed together from too much material. I have not read the original novels nor do not know how many books the plot has been taken from. But it feels like Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2; they just threw a whole bunch of material in, mixed it up, and tried to make it one cohesive plot. Most of the characters are given minor, if any, back story or time to deal with the events of the movies. The characters are ushered from one peril to another with a long lag in Munchkin Land. The script could have been tighter if any non-pertinent details had been removed.

The other issue is that it tries too hard to emulate the original Wizard of Oz. While it is nice to see the Cowardly Lion or the living scarecrow, some of the events and references seemed forced. The homages are not organic. Oz suffers like S. Darko; the producers forced original story material to the point that it is detriment to the movie. Viewers must labor through watching Oz doll out presents, most which make no sensate most loved icon has been left out. It seems Warner Brothers owns the copy right to the Ruby Slippers and will not be venture in any Disney endeavor.

It is fun to watch Oscar become Oz and how the disembodied head came into play and viewers once again feel sorry for the Wicked Witch.  But this isn’t Wicked; it lacks the intellectual impact.  Over all Oz is a beautiful spectacle whose plot suffers s from the Hollywood Blockbuster affliction.  The Great and Powerful Oz has a powerful presence but it is not a great film.

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