Movie Review: Oz The Great And Powerful

Ratings for reviews will appear above the fold, while the review itself will appear below the fold to avoid spoilers for anyone that wants to go into it with a blank slate.

Jean-Paul’s rating: 3/5 stars

A movie based solely on nostalgia.  And opportunism.  Don’t forget opportunism.

If I hadn’t seen James Franco in other things, I would come to the conclusion that he is a horrible actor.  Or maybe he is just a great over-actor?  It’s kind of a blurry line.  He plays the titular Oz, a con man and two bit magician.  So over-acting is certainly called for.  He just doesn’t pull off being a confidence man, though.  There was really no evolution of character with him.  “I’m a con man!”  “No you’re not.”  “No I’m not!”  Mila Kunis wasn’t much better.  I blame the character that she had to work with more than actor, though.  A shy, naive, lovelorn waif with a really nasty temper?  Talk about bipolar.  Michelle Williams was also wooden throughout most of the movie.  Rachel Weisz and Zack Braff did a decent job, though (although the monkey was a little creepy looking).  Given the cast, I’m assume there was a liberal amount of drugs used throughout production.

Despite all the bad acting, the nostalgia really got to me.  It’s very interesting to see the evolution of Oz from sideshow attraction to The Great And Powerful.  The parallels to Dorothy’s adventures were fun to point out.  They also did a really good job of making the land of Oz look remarkable when transitioning from black and white to color.

A bit of kudos go to director Sam Rami for producing a movie where the main characters contain more women than men.  You don’t see that very often.  Even if they were all witches.

This is a fun nostalgia movie with very little at its core, but I think it’s still worth seeing.  It’s also a great movie to take your kids to.  The theater I saw the movie in had a decent helping of children and they all seemed quite engaged throughout.

4 thoughts on “Movie Review: Oz The Great And Powerful

  1. Steven Scott

    I’ve heard the “James Franco makes a terrible confidence man” angle before, and I think that is a bad criticism. If Oz was supposed to be good at conning people, wouldn’t you think he would be somewhere else instead of a go-nowhere circus in the middle of Kansas during the Depression? Didn’t it take Dorothy like 5 minutes with him to see he was a sham in the original?

    1. Jean-Paul Post author

      No, they were all afeared of the wizard until the end and it was only Toto that uncovered him.

  2. Jaime

    Once again Frenchman, I hate agreeing with you, but I agree on almost all counts. While still feeling entertained, I also felt that all the principals were horribly overacting. Instead of conman, all I saw was Franco’s stoner persona. All of the witches performances were flawed, but in different ways.
    I’ll give Raimi credit, Oz itself was beautiful and colorful, but 3d was wasted once again, and all the time he spent on the environment would have been better spent on directing his actors a little better.

    One high point was the CGI of China Doll. It was spectacular. I could actually believe she exists. Unlike the Monkey, Finley, who while the CGI was good, still had the Uncanny Valley problem.

    Overall, 3 out of 5 is score.

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