Oz The Great And Powerful [Review 33 for FQ13]


Why I Saw It: The trailers made it look like it was going to be an interesting prequel to The Wizard Of Oz. As if that’s not enough of a reason, I like Zach Braff, and the special effects from the trailers made it look to be visually appealing.

What Was It About?  “Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz. At first he thinks he’s hit the jackpot-fame and fortune are his for the taking. That all changes, however, when he meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz), and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone’s been expecting. Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity-and even a bit of wizardry-Oscar transforms himself not only into the great and powerful Wizard of Oz but into a better man as well.

Rating: 7.4 out of 10

oz-great-powerful-china-doll-monkeyMemorable Performances: The performance for James Franco was memorable in a bad way, which I’ll explain later. I wouldn’t say that Michelle Williams and Rachel Weisz did a great job with their roles, but their characters were memorable and they did a decent job with it, so from that respect I’d name them. As for Mila Kunis… not so much. Zach Braff’s voice-over work on the monkey was good, but it was just voice-over, so I won’t necessarily think of it when thinking of his best performances.

Potential Nominations for Film Quest ’13:  

  • Biggest Disappointment

Favorite Parts: The scene where Oz had his machine working and was putting on a huge display to fool the witches was probably the best part of the film… and perhaps the only really enjoyable part of it. Aside from when Glinda was leading the charge against the evil forces, using a little trickeration of her own in the process.


The Regrettable Aspects: There were soo many regrettable things about Oz The Great And Powerful…


This is about as non-smirky as James Franco got. All film.

James Franco just seemed really out of place as Oz. I understand that the character was supposed to be someone with questionable morals, a swindler, a liar, someone who can’t be relied upon. That said, at times during the film, he was supposed to have shown real emotion. He was supposed to be empathetic towards China Doll and saddened by the news conveyed to him by Annie. And yet, the entire time, he was smirking like it was all part of a big con. I reconsidered my interpretation of the character, thinking that maybe this was something James Franco was doing intentionally, but based on other performances I’ve seen from him, I don’t think it was intentional. And if it was, then it’s a poor choice by the actor and director, because it didn’t fit the story they were telling.

The Wicked Witch Of The West (the green one), with just about everything involving the character, was a huge let-down. From the trailers for the film, that’s one area that I was really anticipating as being a highlight of the film, and it was quite the opposite. The early part, where the evil witch was a mystery, was great. Everything after that involving witches not named Glinda? Disappointing. I did like the claws on the table part, but that was the only good part of that part.

The visual aspects on this film had their ups and downs, but half of them were let downs, due, i suspect, to the fact that they appeared to be meant for viewing in the 3D format. I didn’t view the film that way, mostly because I feel like the way a scene looks shouldn’t focus on one aspect of the scene, especially when it won’t look right for more than half of the viewers.

Would I watch it again? I probably WON’T watch it again until my son is old enough to watch it, which will be about a decade or so. I’d probably turn down the opportunity to watch it again if someone asked me to join them in a viewing.

To Whom Would I Recommend It?  I’d recommend it to someone who has very low expectations, or someone who likes The Wizard Of Oz.

Other Recommendations:

The WIZARD OF OZ – This might be an obvious recommendation, but it’s quite possibly the only time I’ll be recommending it, and in the face of such a let-down, I find that it’s probably best just to go back and watch the original.

The PRESTIGE – If something magic-related is what you’re going for, this is probably my favorite option. It’s quite possibly my favorite Christopher Nolan movie, and almost certainly my favorite performance from both Christian Bale AND Hugh Jackman… and I really enjoy Batman and the X-Men.

HOOK – Another film related to something from decades before and has very little in common with the original, but I really like it and I’d highly recommend it. Robin Williams does an excellent job, as does Dustin Hoffman. I’m not sure why OZ couldn’t have gone more along the same route.

If you’ve got recommendations for alternatives to OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL, or for other similar films, let me know!



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