Oz the Great and Powerful

Posted by james on July 15, 2013

(post.rating: 4)

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This one was a bit confusing. I feel like there was a lack of clear direction here, like a few different visions/directors were having input into what the feel of the movie was going to be.

First; I do like James Franco. But he really didn't pull this off. I think he's a bit too aloof to give this character the "scumbag with a heart of gold" the heart that would make us empathize more.

Same with Mila Kunis. I like her in other things (comedies like That 70's Show) and she wasn't bad in Book of Eli (if still a bit... un-emotive). But this one just fell flat. She's supposed to be the naive witch who falls for the protagonist, then gets her heart spurned and you get to see her descent into evil & corruption. But neither part is that convincing.

Just about all characters seem flat. You know where they were going, but they didn't quite get there.

The opening black & white section (the real world, pre-Oz) is confusing low-budget looking. My suspicion is that they were intentionally trying to mimic the old-fashion set look, as a throwback to the old movie. But maybe that's just hopeful thinking; really, it just looked like they ran out of budget and didn't know how to work a set.

I kept thinking I was watching Alice in Wonderland. But there weren't enough colors for that, and not *nearly* enough Johnny Depp. Which is a bit ironic, since he was one of the top picks before Franco for the lead. He would have done it, and well. But I think a more straight approach would have worked here. The other top pick was Robert Downey Jr. I think he would have been perfect for an Oz film, but probably not this one; it wouldn't have made the rest of the script & characters better.

It's too bad. The story & heritage of Oz is neat and magical, and this just falls flat. I wouldn't be very excited for any other sequels from the source material, unless it's a reboot. Plus, thanks to copyright issues this is based on a non-copyrighted book, but cannot borrow anything from the Wizard of Oz movie which is still in copyright. So no Dorothy or ruby slippers.

This just feels like a badly done rehash. I need to go watch Return to Oz. At least they didn't try to emulate the original, and instead attempted to give little children lasting nightmares of severed heads and the Wheelers.