Thursday, 14 March 2013

Oz: The Great and Powerful (2013)

We're off to see the wizard. Hopefully it won't take 127 Hours

Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz. At first he thinks he's hit the jackpot-fame and fortune are his for the taking. That all changes, however, when he meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz), and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone's been expecting. Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity-and even a bit of wizardry-Oscar transforms himself not only into the great and powerful Wizard of Oz but into a better man as well.

Sam Raimi may not have been the first choice to direct this spiritual prequel to The Wizard of Oz, but he does a great job directing, utilizing his experience from his horror films to effectively bring terror to many scenes and his experience from humor to bring many moments worth laughing about.

James Franco may grin too much, but he brings what is needed to the role of Oscar Diggs, the titular wizard, being believable enough as a con-man who cares only about himself, but also as someone who's willing to go along on this journey that they're thrust into to become the great man they wish to end up as. Mila Kunis, without a doubt, gives off the best performance of the entire film, excelling at being deliciously evil and at being sympathetic enough so that you understand her choices, perfectly bringing her take on one of cinemas most iconic villains.

"This is called hitchhiking"

Rachel Weisz & Michelle Williams revel in their roles, while Zach Braff stumbles at times, the chemistry between him and Franco being hit and miss, like his jokes. Joey King does an amazing job as China Girl, one of the films best characters.

The film may be overall predictable and some of the scenes are too obviously filmed in front of a green screen, but it's visually gorgeous, highly enjoyable and contains humor that actually works. In short, Oz The Great & Powerful is everything Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland should have been. Plus, no characters do silly dancing once the film reaches it climax, so that's a plus.

And yes, Raimi fans, Bruce Campbell does make an appearance.

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