Saturday, March 23, 2013

Review: Oz the Great and Powerful

Starring: James Franco, Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz, Mila Kunis
Directed by: Sam Raimi
Language: English
Rating: PG
Running Time: 130 minutes

This is a movie I wasn’t completely in a rush for. I will admit that I had some concerns. Since I wanted to bond with my mother over the break with a hopefully good movie, we went on opening weekend.

Oscar Zoroaster Phadrig Isaac Norman Henkel Emmannuel Ambroise Diggs or Oz the Great and Powerful works as a magician or con man for a travelling circus in Kansas. He’s a bit lost in life and displays this by distancing his relationship with his assistant, letting the woman that he loves go, and getting into trouble with his flirtatious ways. When running away from an angry circus act after a disappointing show, Oz gets trapped in a hot air balloon during a tornado. Begging for a second chance to be a good and honest man, he lands in the fantastical Land of Oz. He immediately meets a beautiful witch named Theodora. She tells him of the land’s deceased king’s prophecy of a wizard sharing the land’s name falling from the sky to free them of the Wicked Witch’s reign of terror.

Everyone has heard and/or seen the story of The Wizard of Oz. Most have even gone into the backstory as well. Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten around to the origin story. I have failed my native land. lol Anyway, I had some concerns with this movie. Like Eric of Pretty Much It on Youtube, the marketing for the movie was a little deceiving. There was too much focus on the visuals and the Alice in Wonderland copy of a poster didn’t help. During the movie, I wanted to reel back Danny Elfman with the Tim Burton-esque music. Once that went away, my worries faded.

Now for the important factors! The story was very good. It was a split focus on Oz’s beginnings and the witches’ origins and relationship with each other. This gave me more initiative to check out Wicked. At times, it leaned more toward the witches than Oz, but it was a good story nonetheless. There are a couple parts that tend to drag along and one of these parts I would've shortened or cut from the end.

I really enjoyed the characters and the parallel they created that is similar to The Wizard of Oz. It made certain moments very heartfelt and one scene made me want to tear up a little. The actors did a good job, especially the ones with double roles. James Franco was absolutely charming, funny, and had a convincing range as our leading male. The witches were really good as well. Although, Mila Kunis as Theodora was weaker than the others. She wasn't terrible or anything, but at times her emotions seemed over the top or forced. I also wasn't particularly fond of her make-up either. The supporting characters were brilliant and very likable. Even the background characters were great.

With limited timing, I saw this in 3D and it was good. They utilized the technology well. It really pulls you into the world. The CGI was very realistic when it needed to be. It really felt like they put a lot of effort into the environment and animated characters. I especially enjoyed looking at Little China Girl. I must admit I was nervous this was going to look like another Wonderland. I was glad I was proven wrong again. Don’t rely on the poster comparison.

Overall, I was pleasantly satisfied with this film. The characters were likable and expressive whether real or animated, the environments were beautiful, and the CGI and 3D were surprisingly good. I also enjoyed the parallel of ratio and color change from Kansas to Oz, tying in the classic elements from The Wizard of Oz. If you want something light and fun and entertaining for the family no matter what age, I encourage you to give this movie a chance.

Rating: 3.5/5

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