A few nights ago Joe and a friend went to see a preview screening of “Oz the Great and Powerful”. I wanted to attend but I wasn’t feeling too well, plus baby Simon has yet to accept a bottle so it makes it difficult for me to leave him for long periods.
Joe has been anxiously awaiting the release of this movie so he jumped at the opportunity to attend a free screening and agreed to write the review.
SYNOPSIS: Disney’s fantastical adventure “Oz The Great and Powerful,” directed by Sam Raimi, imagines the origins of L. Frank Baum’s beloved wizard character. When Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he’s hit the jackpot—fame and fortune are his for the taking—that is until 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 wizard but into a better man as well.
Joe’s review of OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL:
“Oz the Great and Powerful” is an excellent homage to the original Wizard of Oz film that surpassed my expectations and kept the singing to a minimum.
I’ve been a fan of Sam Raimi for a long time, but wasn’t sure how he’d handle a family film. Oz has the classic Raimi flying-projectile shots and I did notice several plot parallels with his 1992 horror-adventure Army of Darkness, but the film carries a sense of innocence while dealing with themes of lying and womanizing in a mature way. Also, the CGI was really organic-feeling and was not overpowering or fake-looking at all.
“Oz the Great and Powerful” earned its PG rating with some flying baboon jump-scares, and thus is probably too scary for small children, but overall it’s appealing to children without insulting their intelligence, which also makes it very watchable for adults.
I thought James Franco did a solid job of carrying the film in a role that seemed tailored for the originally-cast Robert Downey Jr., and Zach Braff did an excellent comic-relief job as a talking monkey. I enjoyed watching the witches’ backstories unfold in an Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader sort of way without the foreknowledge of who would become the iconic villain in the 1939 film.
Going into the film, I was most excited that my favorite actor/nerd-man-crush, Bruce Campbell, had a part in what is decidedly an A-list film. I wouldn’t have minded some more screen time, but he took what could have been an unimpressive role and made it memorable.
Overall I was really pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed Oz the Great and Powerful, and even more surprised that it made me want to watch the original Wizard of Oz again. I give this movie two Bruce Campbells up.
OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL opens nationwide on Friday, March 8
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I receive complimentary passes to the featured event, the opinions are mine and are not influenced by the company.