Monday, March 18, 2013

The Great and Powerful Oz: A Review

I’m late, I’m late for a quite important date.

Before I begin, I just have one little note.  This post is a simple review of the movie that just came out: Oz the Great and PowerfulLater, I plan to do a second post which WILL contain SPOILERS because it will discuss in great detail what I didn’t like and why.

And so without further ado, let’s take a peek at the movie behind the curtain

Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a carnival magician known as Oz, wants to be a great man. Not just a good man, but a great one. But when he accidently lands in Oz, he is taken to be a great Wizard who will fulfill a certain prophecy and become king. Oscar sees his chance to become the man he’s always wanted to be, complete with mountain-high piles of gold in the Royal Oz Treasury. But there’s a catch to the prophecy: he has to kill the Wicked Witch (with three possible candidates: Evanora, Theodora, and Glinda). In trying to figure out the three witches and learning to help others besides himself, Oscar learns that, though it may seem impossible, there can be something even greater than greatness itself.

The Great and Powerful

I have to hand it to the special effects team: the special effects they created are simply breathtaking and extremely realistic.  As I’ve stated before, you really do feel as if you are in the Land of Oz, an otherworldly realm where everything is bizarre and brilliant.  However, it seems sometimes that the movie was just a way for some special effects guys to show off their skills – sure, the scenery is beautiful, but did you have to focus on everything Oscar/Oz passed by as he floated along in one of Glinda’s bubble creations?

Obviously, in 1939, the special effects we have now didn’t exist, so of course everything in Oz the Great and Powerful is much more realistic than The Wizard of Oz.

Speaking of The Wizard of Oz, the new movie does try to connect itself (but not perfectly) to the classic.  As evident in the trailers, the movie moves from colorless to colorful (Technicolor), giving a nod to the classic.  There are also cameos of two of Dorothy’s beloved companions, with hints to the third’s “creators.”

There also is lots of humor in the movie, and if I remember correctly, it was all family-friendly humor, something Disney usually excels in.

The Wicked

(Note: these are my observations.  Keep in mind that I am a bit of a coward when it comes to startling movies.  It is your choice whether or not children should see this movie.)

Though the Land of Oz has its beauty, it also has its scary, and this Oz is a lot darker than the one Judy visited.

There are quite a few intense scenes as Oscar/Oz begins his search for the Wicked Witch.  And many times you hear the (off-screen) screaming of the Witch’s flying monkeys as they pass through, but you don’t see them until later in the film.  And when you do, that takes place during another intense and spooky scene in a graveyard.

Speaking of those flying monkeys, these aren’t the furry little guys you remember from Margaret Hamilton’s service.  (No, that furry little guy would be Finley, a random flying monkey who helps Oscar/Oz.)  Instead, these flying monkeys are more like really creepy flying baboons, complete with sharp teeth.

Their boss, the green Wicked Witch, is not quite as wicked or scary as Margaret Hamilton was.  In fact (and I’ll try to avoid spoilers here), the Wicked Witch of the West almost seemed over the top in this movie, especially her first (shadow) appearance.

Lastly, and this may not seem to important, but it is worth noting that Oscar/Oz is portrayed as a womanizer, and little children could be a bit confused.  It’s up to you.

Overall, I’d wait till it comes out on DVD or Blu-ray if you really want to see it.  I gave it 2/5 Mickey Mouse Heads (in place of stars – I thought it was clever!).



One random thing, but there is a point where one character offers another character a green apple to eat, and I did roll my eyes at the very familiar scene.

See you all real soon.  Probably not in the Land of Oz unfortunately, even though I’m in Kansas, but I think the state of Disney is a pretty awesome alternative.

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