Oz the Great and Powerful $$$$
Starring: James Franko, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, and Michelle Williams.
Director: Sam Raimi.
Prequels are an interesting beast. They tell us how everyone got to our favorite story and the best reveal a great deal about the characters we love that we didn’t previously know. However, when you attempt a sequel for an especially beloved story you run the risk of straying too far from what made it successful. Fortunately, this film did not fail in capturing the wonder that is the Land of Oz.
Oscar Diggs (James Franko), otherwise known as Oz, is a magician with a traveling carnival. Which means he’s really nothing more than a small time con man. When he is caught putting the moves on the Strong Man’s wife, he borrows a hot-air balloon and escapes an imminent beat down. It doesn’t take long for him to run into a tornado that dumps him into the magical land of Oz.
Once there he runs into Theodora (Mila Kunis) who recruits him to exterminate the evil witch (Michelle Williams) that has been plaguing the kingdom. With the help of a flying monkey, named Finley (Zach Braff), he sets off to earn a kingly reward in gold and gems.
However, in Oz things are not always what the seem.
Due to time constraints I ended up seeing this in 3-D, which I almost never do, and have to say that I’m glad I did. There were some 3D effects that really added to the magical nature of the film that would have been lost in a regular 2D showing. I highly recommend that you see this film in its 3D version.
What I loved best about the movie was the bright, beautiful scenery and the equally colorful and imaginative creatures that populate the story. Disney was really able to present a wonder land that we haven’t seen before. The story itself was excellent and did a nice job introducing us to familiar characters and bringing us to the point where we are ready for Dorthy and her band of misfits to show up. I don’t know if this will become a classic, but it certainly blends well with the original movie.
About the only complaint I have is that I think they could have cast Oscar better. James Franko has moments where he is wonderful as the charming fraud, but most of the time I found his charisma level to be fairly low during the movie. Mila Kunis had her up and down moments as well. But I expect that there will be people that will disagree with me on this point.
All in all, this film earned a full four Movie Bucks and I recommend seeing it first run, and on the best screen available to you.
Randy’s Rating System
$$$$ = Full Price See this movie right away and pay full price, it’s worth it.
$$$ = Matinee Catch this as a matinee or other discounted showing.
$$ = Discount Wait until this movie reaches a discount theater near you.
$ = Rental Wait until this movie reaches your local video rental outlet.
0 = No Sale Don’t see this movie at any price.