A Brief Review of Oz-The Great and Powerful

by Courtney C Horne @FireezDragon

I went and saw the 9 pm open of Oz- The Great and Powerful in Imax 3-D tonight. We got posters! We actually got posters when we saw the open for The Hobbit as well so I guess the giving out posters at opens is a thing they do now.

First a strange note, the Imax glasses were larger and a different shape than the Reald-3d glasses are. I thought initially that larger glasses would be better but the shape rubbed my ear in an annoying way that by the end of the movie was slightly painful.

The Ironman 3 preview and the Superman preview were both good looking. None of the other previews really stuck in my mind as much.

Now on to the film and a warning… There be spoilers ahead.

Oz is the story of how the wizard becomes the wizard of Oz. James Franco plays a carnival musician who is swept up in his hot air balloon (he was in it running from getting beaten up by a strong man who’s lady friend he had put moves on) and carried away via tornado. He lands in Oz and meets Mila Kunis’s character- Theodora a witch who is not yet wicked. Oz is divided and waiting for a wizard that a prophecy has foretold.

It is on James Franco – and his monkey sidekick voiced by Zach Braff- to save the day and bring the good people of Oz and Glenda the good back into the emerald city. In the process, he breaks Theodora’s hearts and turns her wicked.

Eventually order is restored, the wicked witches are banished, and Glenda and Oz bring the good people of Oz back into the emerald city.

The movie is full of references to the film for which it is the prequel. They encounter a lion (who the wizard seems to bear the fault for turning cowardly) and craft a whole army full of scarecrows. The tinman is oddly absent. The wizard gives out gifts at the end of the film in a way not unlike that of the original movie. Strangely the flying monkeys of the original are transformed into baboons. I guess flying monkeys did not seem scary enough for  a modern interpretation so they felt the need to go with a more intimidating primate.

As is the fate of prequels, it is obvious who the good and bad witches are. Oh, your name isn’t Glenda? Well obviously you aren’t the good witch. This isn’t necessarily a flaw but it does eliminate much surprise in the film.

The actors all had great delivery. I credit them for their good jobs as some of the jokes written (especially for the monkey Braff played) were pretty ham fisted. With slightly worse delivery, his jokes could have easily been pretty grating.

Graphically, the whole thing was beautiful. It was stylized gorgeously. Even the credits were done with a creative touch and the film transforms from a narrow format to a wide screen along with the setting transforming from Kansas to Oz. It was a beautiful piece of film.

That being said, beauty aside, the film was anticlimactic. The final battle in which they took Oz was just kinda meh. It didn’t end with a “wow” but more of a “oh, I guess that is the end.” Perhaps it was a pacing problem or perhaps they didn’t write an engaging enough ending. I don’t pretend to know what would have made the end work for me. I just know the way it ended didn’t work.

I would be interested in seeing if they come out with a directors cut with the missing tinman reference and maybe a better pacing to end the film. Often it seems when I find a film anticlimactic it is due to the butchering it went though to get to a screen time.

Well I hope this is an okay review. It is my first one..