Friday, 14 June 2013

Movie Review: Oz the Great and Powerful

Movie Review: Oz the Great and Powerful
Director: Sam Raimi
Year Released: 2013
Running Time: 130mins
Classification: PG
Genre: Adventure, Kids and Family, Fantasy

I was reluctant to watch this movie. I wasn’t quite sure how the actors would sit in this genre since none (that I’ve seen) have been in this style before. I loved The Wizard of Oz as a kid and loved, even more, Wicked the musical. I didn’t want anything to ruin my memories of Oz. But, alas, it is not ruined.
Oz the Great and Powerful is not even in the same league, hence not worth being associated with The Wizard of Oz or Wicked.

The story tells how a circus magician, Oz (same as the land), played by James Franco, arrives in Oz and how his arrival changes the struggle between 3 witches (Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams). With famous actors/actresses, magical costumes and stunning visual effects, how can this movie go wrong? Well for a start it felt more like a mini TV series than a big Hollywood film.

None of the actors/actresses delivered. This may be due to them not fitted for this genre or to the ‘shallow’ script. The characters were developed lazily and poorly, even the established characters were so basically written, there was no depth in their personality therefore I felt nothing towards them.
The worst was Oz himself, James Franco. He is an unreliable man who wants more in life but does not have the courage to achieve his ambition. He is a liar; he sleeps around, and will do anything for money. Oz is not a likable character, even till the end when all ends well and he saves the day, I was left feeling cheated and underwhelmed. He had the most reason and depth to have his character develop thoroughly but at the end of the day he is Oz 'the not so great and not so wonderful'. 
For the 3 witches, it would have been better to have shown their history rather than hear it from the characters. At least with visual aid, the ‘who’s good, who’s bad’ isn’t just merely implied but set in solid. From the movie, I did not feel the hatred between them was real since I had nothing to go by but talk.

(Side note: Am I the only one who thinks James Franco is not a good actor? Okay, so I haven’t seen 72 hours, but I’ve seen him in other movies and… nope, don’t like his acting…. Maybe it’s just me.)

The costumes stay true to the story with one exception, Theodora. She is the one dressed black pants with a purple jacket and a massive rim hat which I can only assume was chosen because it resembles a witch's hat. Her costume looks less Ozzian, and more Carmen San Diego in purple.

The visual effects were bright and stunning….. but a little too bright. The characters seemed to bounce off the screen in a ‘does not fit into the scenery’ way. Imagine the puzzle pieces that do not fit, now picture those pieces in an entirely different colour as the puzzle. This might have been done on purpose to allow a magical effect but what surprised me the most was all the animated creatures suited the background just fine. Then again I watched this movie in 2D and on a fairly modest sized screen. Maybe on the big screen it would have been different.
Having mentioned 2D, this movie was obviously made for 3D with the occasional flower or weapon diving straight into the camera. The 3D effect was less beautiful (Avatar) but more fun (Spy Kids). Watching it in 2D, I found the effects wasteful and eventually annoying. I recommend watching it in 3D.

Having ranted about the movie: the black and white introduction was a nice touch. Oz the Great and Powerful gave a respectful nod to the original film. It felt like home…..
The Wicked witch of the West was my favourite character by far. She had enough intensity in her make up and eyes to make her really evil.

This movie is enjoyable if you watch it in a kid’s perspective. I did not love the movie, but I did not hate it. I can see the enjoyment and the fun ride some people might have, and at some parts so did I, but I will not be re-watching this movie any time soon. 

Terri's rating: 2/5

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