Monday, 11 March 2013

Movie Review: Oz the Great and Powerful

I really did not know what to expect from this movie.
Before I get into it I should say, I did not see it in 3D...yet.

Here's the synopsis from IMdb :
A small-time magician arrives in an enchanted land and is forced to decide if he will be a good man or a great one. (short and sweet, huh?)

I really wanted to see this movie for a variety of reason. I've become a bit of a special effects junkie, and I have to say that on that note, this movie did not disappoint. The China Doll is all I really feel like I need to say. And The Wizard of Oz brings me a lot of happy memories of my Mother, who loved Judy Garland.
In terms of the story, James Franco was good as Oscar, the man who would become Oz. In the beginning we see him, in black and white, as a magician in a traveling circus whose womanizing ways finally catch up with him. He gets into a hot air balloon and is sucked into a tornado, which transports him to Oz. The scenes in Kansas are in black and white and Oz is in glorious color, much like the original.
Michelle Williams makes a brief appearance in the black and white portion of the movie as Emma, a woman preparing to marry John Gale who as come to tell Oscar that she is moving on. Her appearance, I believe, is a nod to the original. I won't give it away, but Oz fans will get a kick out of it.
Once Oscar gets to Oz he meets Theodora, played by Mila Kunis. I have to say when Kunis came on the screen I was quite taken aback...she was so beautiful I was completely overwhelmed. I think it was a combo of the right makeup and how the director dealt with the transition into color (not that Kunis wasn't attractive to begin with) that created this absolutely stunning woman. Theodora decides Oscar is the wizard from a prophecy, and that she is in love with him, and the story really begins.

I won't give too much away in regards to plot for those who want to see it, but I will say that the story sticks true to Oz as I know it, adding a few interesting tidbits along the way. Rachel Weisz is stellar as Theodora's sister Evanora, in a way I felt like she was in fact too good. The other actors were good but once you put them in a scene with Weisz there was no comparison....except when it came to Mila Kunis. She is really the star of this movie. Her transition from good to wicked is remarkable, and she is just stunning.
Don't get me wrong, I like Michelle Williams. I think she was well cast as Glinda. I have to admit though, when I first heard her voice and she sounded like she was doing the Marilyn voice (the fluffy Jessica Rabbit-esque nonsense she did in My Week With Marilyn) I got really upset. Luckily she didn't, and she carried on in true Glinda fashion with smiles and sunshine and riding in a bubble. Not that she wasn't good, she just wasn't as good as Weisz and Kunis, in my opinion. Franco has proved himself time and time again, but he also suffered the same fate of being good, but not quite as good as the sisters.

The story tries to give some reasons why things are the way they are in the original, and I thought it all rang rather true to the original story, and was also a nod to Gregory Maguire's Wicked. I'm curious to see where Disney decides to take Oz after this.

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