Oz the Great and Powerful (2013) (PG)
This review contains SPOILERS
"Oz the Great and Powerful" is pretty much a detestable movie. What brand of cigar were the producers smoking that convinced them to take the most beloved fantasy adventure of all time and make a prequel for it almost 75 years later?
Let me put this in perspective, The Wicked Witch of the West from "The Wizard of Oz" is one of the best villains of all time, invading the nightmares of children for decades. The movie itself is considered to the one of the best movies ever made, ranking #6 on AFI's list of classics.
So why would you not treat its prequel with the same reverence that people are surrounding with the new addition to the Star Wars franchise?
Oz, or Oscar, is a circus magician. He relies on cheap tricks and illusions to make his money. He's nicely what you would call a "lady's man". Women throw themselves at him here and there, but he only has eyes for himself. He's selfish and a pig and a liar and greedy and a pig and selfish and selfish....yes, I think we get the point. But he also wants to do something with his life. This desire to be someone great and powerful (irony intended) is overwhelming for Oscar. He really, really wants it.
So how does Oz get to Oz? Well, I'll tell you: he's chased by an angry muscle man into a hot air balloon after talking to his sweetheart who's getting married and then he's sucked into a tornado that no one saw coming until it was five feet away. It would seem that the writers couldn't think of a better reason.
The movie starts in black and white, much like the original, and then once in Oz, the screen widens and the color sets in. This is supposed to create a feeling of wonder at the amazing land of Oz, but just made me think, "BEHOLD! The mighty green screen!"
Honestly, there is so much CGI in this movie that it is unusual to see Oz fondle an actual prop.
So, now he's in Oz and he meets Theodora, a witch, who within five minutes is already making out with him. On a side note, I don't remember witches having skin tight leather pants that show off their butts, but they do if they're Mila Kunis. The lack of chemistry between Mila Kunis and James Franco is staggering. The movie takes a huge step backwards in their scenes together from an already suffering film.
Theodora takes Oz to the Emerald City with a little flying monkey named Finley (voiced by Zach Braff), who has pledged his life's servitude to Oz after Oz saved him from a lion by accident. Finley is treated like a bell-hop, just toting around Oz's bag. He struggles with the heavy bag and can't fly with it at first—then, magically, he's suddenly able to fly with the bag when the scene demands that he move faster.
Theodora's sister, named Evanora, who the audience immediately knows is bad, tells Oz that he'll only get to be king and fulfill the prophesy that is never told in full if he hunts down the Wicked Witch and breaks her wand. He believes her and goes into the Dark Forest, where the tress move and there is a surplus of fog. After one minute—aha!—there's the Wicked Witch. Then she sets her wand down to open a gate instead of doing what everybody else in the entire world would have done which would be to tuck the wand under her arm or put it in between her teeth. Thankfully, opening a simple gate (remember that she's a witch so she could have opened it with magic) takes her two minutes. Enough time for Oz to steal the wand and realize that this woman in a dark cloak is not the Wicked Witch who lives in the Dark Forest surrounded by creepy trees and fog, but Glinda, the good witch.
Evanora—as we already knew but somehow this supposed to be a reveal—is the actual Wicked Witch....but not of the West....don't let that confuse you.
Theodora is heartbroken because the man that she danced with for three minutes and kissed disappeared in the night and Evanora convinces her that he never loved her—which is true.
Then Oz has to save the land...simple as that.
"Oz the Great and Powerful" is an exceedingly ignorant film. Not only is the timeline messed up (SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER) like Oz and Glinda being a couple even though in "The Wizard of Oz" the wizard was an old man and Glinda was still young (you can justify this with her being magic but it's still pretty weak) but some things are never explained. THE RUBY SLIPPERS! The single most important prop to come to film yet, are never mentioned....not once...ever....in the whole movie.
When the film is not exploiting its special effects team, it's making horrible dialogue with poorly crafted characters.
James Franco is horrid in this role. I guess that he thought that since he hosted the Oscars completely stoned it would be okay to act a whole movie seemingly high. Every single scene with him in it is sensationally boring. The only good parts of the movie don't have him in it and those are sparse. This is such a blip in his career.
Oh, and Glinda just can't hold onto that freakin' wand!
I wished that I had landed in the field of poppies and slept through this picture.
I hope that this movie cancels anyone else's thought of remaking or adding onto classic movies because I really don't want to watch "Casablanca 2: Rick's Revenge".
Score: 1 and a half stars out of 4
Posted by Micah Jones