REVIEW: Oz The Great And Powerful

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600full-oz-the-great-and-powerful-posterFor this prequel to even come close to the timeless magic of The Wizard Of Oz was virtually impossible, especially when Hollywood are loaded on remakes, sequels and prequels with CGI effects. However, Oz The Great And Powerful is a telling of the story leading to the events of the 1939 classic; hence, we get an insight to how Oz became the Wizard and the relationship between the witches. With this in mind, there was a great deal of curiosity about Oz The Great And Powerful but like many films that focus primarily on visuals, expectations were average. Despite the film was corny regarding script and narrative structure, it was still a visual delight that marks a satisfactory return to Oz.

Oz The Great And Powerful had so much going for it regarding visuals, but there was more against it in terms of narrative structure, characters and plot. So, in order for it to succeed, an experienced and recognised director was required. Sam Raimi already took a huge turn in his career from the director of Evil Dead to Spider-Man, but Oz The Great And Powerful had become an even more unusual addition to his filmography. However, on a visual level, Raimi can deliver and his representation of Oz could be an interesting transformation. While his work on Oz The Great And Powerful is fantastic, visually, and is worth paying to watch in 3D, there is quite a number of flat, bland elements that does not make it the experience that it should have been.

After 73 years, Oz The Great And Powerful clearly was not going to be the same as the 1939 classic starring Judy Garland, but portraying some kind of contribution would satisfy fans. Also, due to the high number of films today in a similar category to Oz The Great And Powerful, a hint of originality needed to be included. Therefore, audiences would rely on the film to capture the breath-taking visual experience along with using tools of originality from the 1939 version. However, it was difficult because the film was not going to achieve both at the same time and unfortunately it didn’t. The narrative structure was not in a word ‘shambles’ but it did have a similar idea behind the story like in Alice In Wonderland and The Chronicles Of Narnia. That is what audiences are used to now with technological advancements and Oz The Great And Powerful severely lacked the imagination of a new adventure and became extremely predictable.

James Franco makes his fourth collaborative appearance in a Sam Raimi film, but this time in the leading role as Oscar Diggs, a small-time magician who enters the Land of Oz and makes his path to become the Wizard. Following Frank Morgan’s eccentric portrayal of the character in The Wizard Of Oz, James Franco would not be at the top of the list to portray the Wizard at a younger age. However, Franco is at the prime of his career so he must have been cast in the role of such a big character for a reason other than as a box office booster. Unfortunately, Franco’s performance was disappointing. There was a severe lack of charisma about his role and at times, it was just James Franco playing himself in a fancy costume. The character of Oscar Diggs is suitable in Oz and the pieces fit which lead to the original version but Franco’s mediocre performance does not completely fulfill what we should have seen.

In supporting roles were Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams as the Three Witches of Oz. First, there’s Kunis, most certainly a cash-grabbing selection in the cast, as Theodora who transforms into a certain witch that we have seen before. Very much like Oscar Diggs, Theodora as a character was handled rather well but again, it was the actor who failed. Kunis’ attractive appearance is bound to catch the eye of the audience but there was just nothing beyond that. In fact, her role came across as boring and even the character development was not getting anywhere and suddenly altered without telling the audience. However, Rachel Weisz is the complete stand-out performer as Evanora, who becomes a scheming, beautiful character who seduces the audience with her magic and totally sweeps away Julia Roberts’ performance in Mirror Mirror. Michelle Williams delivers a great performance too as Glinda, the Good Witch of the South. In a nutshell, some of the characters should have had a better cast and the inclusion of CGI characters should have been excluded.

Audiences will come to the conclusion that Oz The Great And Powerful is your ordinary 3D, large-scale blockbuster but has a large, old-fashioned background behind it. The film was playing with fire as it had to become a film by itself but at the same time, pay some kind of homage to The Wizard Of Oz. Nevertheless, while Oz The Great And Powerful uses specific references from the classic and becomes at least a decent effort, it is still a mixed bag that ignites how much miscasting and bad screenwriting can jeopardise the quality of a film as a film.

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~ by SJMJ91 on 28/04/2013.

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