Meet the Wizard in 'Oz the Great and Powerful'
Monday, March 11, 2013 • 9:19pm
Movie: Meet the Wizard in “Oz the Great and Powerful”
March 11, 2013
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
It would be hard to find anyone who does not know of “The Wizard of Oz” and how the story unfolds. One of the more famous prequels to the original story is the book-then-hit-Broadway-show “Wicked” which focused on Glinda and the Wicked Witch, but “Oz the Great and Powerful” takes a look at the story of the man behind the curtain.
A smalltime magician within a traveling circus Oz (James Franco, “127 Hours”) dreams of becoming rich and famous; he does not just want to be good man, he wants to be great one. When a twister hits the Kansas town the circus has stopped in, Oz gets swept up in it while taking cover in a hot air balloon. When it is clear that he has survived the ordeal, he opens his eyes to find himself in a strange new land filled with a yellow brick road, poppy fields and an Emerald City. He befriends a few witches- Theodora (Mila Kunis, “That ‘70’s Show”), Evanora (Rachel Weisz, “The Mummy”) and Glinda (Michelle Williams, “My Week with Marilyn”)- and gains travel companions in the form of a monkey dressed as a bellhop named Finley (Zach Braff, “Scrubs”) and a china doll (Joey King, “Ramona and Beezus”).
Oz is told of a prophecy of a great wizard from Kansas that would come to the Land of Oz and save all of its inhabitants from the wicked witch. If he can kill the witch he will rule the land and inherit all of its treasure, giving him the fame and fortune he has been seeking. When he discovers that the line between being a good witch and bad witch is thin, he must use all of his creativity and magic to help the people of Oz and in the process becomes a great man, the Wizard of Oz.
Marketed as a prequel to the classic “The Wizard of Oz,” “Oz the Great and Powerful” could obviously never hold a candle to the original, but it does prove to be entertaining while all of the nods to the original film throughout were a nice touch. Unfortunately, the major flaws in the film are linked with important aspects in it. The CGI is inconsistent; one minute you will be impressed by the Land of Oz the next you will be trying not laugh at the hideous green screen or rolling your eyes at tie-dyed horses. Due to the fact the setting is whimsical you can sometimes just accept the faulty CGI, but the major problem the film has is much harder to ignore: the acting.
Franco is essentially playing himself in a top hat and his cheesy smiles and sometimes awkward line delivery will make you roll your eyes (unless you can appreciate him clearly overacting on purpose). Kunis’s fluctuation between good and bad tends to come out of nowhere when it happens, until she is fully wicked, and she seems like she is boring herself in a lot of her scenes. Weisz and Williams are both fine in their roles, but nothing spectacular; they have both been in much better films and have proven to be much better actresses than what you see in this film.
If you are going to see “Oz the Great and Powerful” just for fun time out at the movies and not expecting anything super special, you will be able to unwind and enjoy. If you are bringing children to see it, depending on their age, the Wicked Witch may make them hide their face and curl into themselves, like the children I sat next to, so be prepared to explain how she can be defeated to ease their worries.
“Oz the Great and Powerful” is rated PG for sequences of action and scary images, and brief mild language and runs 130 minutes. It is in theaters now.
Jennifer Fratangelo is a 2010 graduate of Montclair State University, Summa Cum Laude, and a 2008 graduate of Sussex County Community College. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies with a concentration in Public Relations and an Associate of Arts degree in Liberal Arts.
On her spare time she enjoys exercising, traveling and has an obsession with all things movie-related.
The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TheAlternativePress.com or anyone who works for TheAlternativePress.com. TheAlternativePress.com is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.