Friday, March 15, 2013

Oz 'almost' the Great and Powerful

There are a handful of reasons why I'm not jumping up and down for Oz the Great and Powerful, the prequel to the Wizard of Oz.

One, I seriously struggled with a comical James Franco as Oscar Diggs aka Oz.  Must be all those Spiderman movies. 

Two, Mila Kunis is perfect as the innocent, easy-to-fall-in-love version of the lovely witch, Theodora.  But as the quickly-transformed wicked witch, she was just a little awkward, a little strained.  It must be difficult with all that prosthetics. 

Three, there were little nods at the original Wizard of Oz with a Lion cameo in the flying monkey scene, and a Scarecrow cameo during the Emerald City attack sequence.  But where was Tin Man?  Or, were those cameos unintentional and I'm just reading too much into them?

Four, A Bug's Life reprise.  Oz using circus trickery, theatrics, and a huge-ass smoke machine to fool the witches into thinking he's really a great and powerful wizard follows the formula of a band of circus-performing insects who makes use of circus trickery, theatrics, and a huge-ass bird machine to fool the grasshoppers into thinking they're really the great and powerful heroes of the ant colony.  

Five, Glinda bored me.

There were still enough goodies though.

Rachel Weisz as Evanora was just pure brilliance.  She carries evil and class really, really well.
The flying bell hop monkey was the funniest thing ever.
The poetic justice of Oz refusing to help a crippled girl in his past life (when he was still in black and white) and then helping a China doll walk again (now, in full color) was beautifully done.
Theodora, burning her face with scalding tears when she cries --THAT was epic!

And, the visual dazzle and magical action still gave our kids pure joy.  It's a kids' movie after all.
So I guess it's still a must-see.  Plus, kids will be talking about this before school closes for the summer.  You wouldn't want your kids to be left out, would you?

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