Archive | March, 2013

Oz The Great and Powerful…Not so Much…

12 Mar

Hello everypony!

Thanks to the string of poor weather up this way, and various other obstacles I hadn’t been posting much because–well, frankly, I was being boring. Trapped inside due to inclement weather, work, and general laziness–I dove into video games instead of my usual novels or films.

Well–I hope you’re super, extra, excited tonight to know that I managed to drag myself out long enough to see Disney’s latest film, Oz The Great and Powerful, last night.

I went into this film with high hopes. It was hard not to–with the super-star line up that included, Mila Kunis, James Franco, and Scrubs Zack Braff. Surely, this was a combination for success? Not to mention that this movie was a prequel to my childhood favorite, The Wizard of Oz.  I had been very much looking forward to what I hoped would be a charming, witty and powerful prequel. But I was about to be mildly disappointed.

The film starts in black and white, an appreciated tip of the hat to the original Wizard of Oz, (which had also been the first movie ever in color!) and the audience is introduced right away to the main character: a con-artist Houdini wannabe called Oz (James Franco). It’s made obvious that Oz is a liar as well as a player who tricks beautiful young woman with his quick hand and silver tongue. Ultimately, that is the most exciting this character gets. The first twenty minutes or so are spent reflecting how much of a jerk Oz really is. His magic is fake, he’s mean to his only friend (Zack Braff) who he claims isn’t a friend at all–but a trained monkey and he’s been messing with the hearts of every woman he seems to meet. His playboy mannerisms get Oz into trouble with the carnival’s strongman, who attempts to chase down and crush the weaselly, Oz. Oz manages to escape in a hot air balloon–but soon regrets this decision as he is sucked into a spiraling tornado.

After managing to survive his encounter with mother nature, Oz crash-lands in–well…OZ. This is also where the movie becomes vibrantly colored. (So much so that it made me cross-eyed. A word of warning–I don’t recommend this in 3D or in IMAX.) After what felt like an overly-drawn-out panning scene that takes in the multi-colored nature around him, Oz meets his very first witch, Theodora (Mila Kunis). She claims she saw him fall from the sky, and starts babbling about a prophesy, convinced that the con-man, Oz is meant to save their world as a great and powerful wizard. Taken with Theodora’s beauty, Oz goes along with her assumption, wooing the unsuspecting witch as she leads him to the Emerald City. On the way to the city, Oz saves the life of an animated winged monkey in a bell-hop suit called Finley (Zack Braff’s voice) who vows to serve Oz as thanks.  Finley soon regrets this vow as Oz reveals that he is not the prophesized king, wizard and savior of their land–but is in fact just a con-man and Oz swears him to secrecy.

Once at the Emerald City, the audience is introduced to Theodora’s sister, Evenora(Rachel Weisz) who immediately reveals herself as the villain. (But not the main one. Spoilers!) Wanting to keep the throne for herself, Evenora sends Oz off on a journey to prove himself and kill the “wicked witch”. Overwhelmed by greed, Oz agrees and sets off without a word to Theodora. Later, Evenora leads her sister to believe that Oz had woo’d her as well, making Theodora hate him.

While on this journey, Oz comes across a village that had once been made of giant porcelain tea-pots. (Yeah, it felt really random and pointless to me too.)  Hearing someone crying, Oz and Finley discover a little china girl with busted legs. Oz helps her and somehow she manages to stick around for the rest of the film. (haha) The three head onward to face who they believe to be the wicked witch. Of course, this is not the case, and they end up meeting a young, Glinda the good witch.

Glinda makes the group realize who the real villains are, just in time for the group to be chased by angry flying baboons who have multiple annoying 3D jump-scares for you to enjoy. (or not.) Glinda helps them escape with her magic bubble, and takes then to munchkinland where she convinces Oz to lead her “army” against the true wicked witch.

At heart this is the whole plot of the film (leaving out the ending of course.) and I was honestly disappointed. The 3D graphics are beautiful but overwhelming, and occasionally overdone. The plot is overly predictable. And the most believeable characters in the whole film were the two animated ones: Finley and the little China Girl.

As my boyfriend pointed out, Sam Raimi is a hit or miss director. This style worked for Alice in Wonderland–but not so much for Oz as it felt too familiar and over-the-top. I would have liked to see more diversity in the “Quadling” people possibly along the same lines as Wicked where they’re frog-people. The plot was tolerable, but didn’t contain many surprises that I felt were good additions to the film. All in all, I could have saved myself the money and waited for this one to come out on DVD.

I give this a two out of five cupcake score. Not so great or powerful.

 

May contain Goodness

Oz–the not so great or powerful

 

Advertisements