“I may not be the reviewer you want, but I may be the reviewer you need.” Kituria the Great and Powerful
A bit of trivia:
Oz the Great and Powerful was directed by Sam Raimi. His first full-length feature film was The Evil Dead; all of the main cast members from The Evil Dead have small roles in this movie.
Oz the Great and Powerful begins in a photo-frame view, black and white, with the same tone of the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz. We are introduced to our lead, Oscar “Oz” Diggs (James Franco) and his assistant Frank (Zach Braff). Oz is a con-artist in a traveling circus, performing his “magic” for small crowds, and he is a bit of a Lothario. There is seduction, miscommunication, a chase by the angry boyfriend of one of his lovers and subsequently his escape by hot air balloon that sends him hurtling into a tornado. The result: a crash landing in the Land of Oz.
Shortly after landing, Oz meets Theodora the Good Witch (stunningly beautiful Mila Kunis) who assumes that he is the Wizard prophesied to save the Land of Oz. On their overnight travel, conspicuously off the yellow brick road to the Emerald City, we are lead to believe that he seduced her in a way that she has fallen in love. They have ZERO chemistry NADA. I detect something along the lines of STRONG LIKE, not love from Theodora. We also meet Finley (Zach Braff), a winged monkey, who pledges a life debt to Oz after an encounter with the Cowardly Lion; Knuck (Tony Cox), a feisty munchkin; and Evanora (Rachel Weisz).
The character of Oz is painfully boring and dull. This is a story of redemption, a charlatan finding some bit of good in him in order to save the Land of Oz and become king. Moreover, he does so in a laborious manner. The movie does not really gather steam until he leaves the Emerald city to destroy the wicked witch. On his travels, he picks up a few companions and they breathe life to the story. After visiting China Town, decimated by the Wicked Witch’s flying monkeys, coming to the aid of China Doll by repairing her legs with “magical” glue. This welcomed addition of a cute and determined character gave the next scenes the punch they need.
Oz is introduced to Glinda the Good Witch (Michelle Williams) and finds out; he was sent on an actual Witch Hunt by Evanora. We are taken on a beautiful aerial ride across the Land of Oz to Munchkinland home to: Quadlings(reminds me of the Who’s from Whoville); Tinkers; and of course Munchkins, portrayed by little people, not Ludacris’ head on a little person’s body. I’m looking at you Fred Claus. Here we get our one abbreviated musical number; it is mildly amusing and performed by the Munchkins.
There is betrayal, throwing down of the gauntlet, preparing for battle montage, kidnapping, a general distrust of our leading man, battle, triumph and redemption. This all leads us to a semi-climactic ending and happens fairly quickly in comparison to the rest of the movie. It is called pacing people, pacing.
The dark parts of this movie are dark, very, very dark. The action sequences and CGI are incredible. The Land of Oz and Emerald City are beautiful. Lots of saturated vibrant colors and incredible attention to detail, as is the usual for Disney films. There is a pretty awesome transformation scene for the Wicked Witch of the West. I was lucky enough to watch the Blu-ray disc on a 52-inch television; I can only imagine how intense the film appeared in theaters. The most interesting and complex character is Theodora. If there is a sequel/prequel in the works, it should be focused on her life before and after her transformation. Otherwise, the story was meh. There should have been two directors: one for the action and one for the acting. The movie had a touch of Michael Bay’s “let’s blow some shit up for the sake of blowing it up.”
If you enjoy stunning visuals and background noise for a day of house cleaning, I recommend picking this up at your local Redbox. Unlike my fellow ProFan contributor, I would not recommend this as a pick of the week. If you are looking for a family-friendly selection for movie night, I’d pass and buy Wreck-It Ralph. Yes, BUY Wreck-It Ralph.