Monday, April 8, 2013

Movie Review - Oz, the Great and Powerful by Sam Raimi

Happy Monday!

I saw Oz, the Great and Powerful few days after the release and I have to admit, I had mixed feelings about it! I have always loved Sam Raimi's movies and the fact, that James Franco was playing Oz, was quite intriguing. Honestly, the mixture of of Sam Raimi's directing and the cast of fascinating actors made it interesting. Here is why.

(Let me remind you, that this review has not the same rating as in IMDB. I rate here from 1-5, where 1 is lowest and 5 is highest.)


Title: Oz, the Great and Powerful
Director: Sam Raimi
Screenplay: Mitchell Kapner, David Lindsay-Abaire
Based on: L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Production: Walt Disney Pictures, Roth Films
Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy
Length: 130 minutes
Starring: James Franco, Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz, Mila Kunis, Zach Braff

Summary:


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. Written by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures




My review:

What an entertaining movie it was!

Visuals and 3D graphics:

Let me start with saying, that I have not been able to watch 3D movies for few years after Avatar, where I got sick after just 15 minutes of watching the movie. I literally got seasick, my brain could not register the movements that quickly. So, I thought, I am one of the very few people who will never be able to see a 3D movie. A month ago, my friend, knowing my problem, suggested to face my fear and I went to see The Croods in 3D. I was prepared for the worst, but as you already can guess, I had no problems! When Oz got out, I simply needed to see it in 3D and I am so happy, that I did!

Anyway, the reason, I am mentioning seeing Oz, the Great and Powerful in this context is, that I loved the visuals of the movie. The settings which were created by the filmmakers, were so incredibly beautiful and colorful, that I was awed. The contrasts between the colors gave a very vivid picture of the world of Oz, it simply took me into the world of magic. Literally. It might be the side effects of finally being able to enjoy the art of cinematography (which I highly appreciate) in 3D, but I think it's probably more the graphic artists who did wonders with Oz.

Plot and script:

I have read the book(s) the story is based on, but I think this movie lived it's own life separately from the book. The script was not too far from the book, so don't get me wrong here. What I mean, is, that when I usually watch movies based on books, I keep comparing them in the back of my head - the original versus the script. I did not do that at all during the 130 minutes the movie lasted; filmmakers did not give me a chance to do that. They just swept my feet away, carried me through the plot without me being distracted enough to think, and gave me the experience which I truly enjoyed!

You meet Oscar Diggs, who is a circus magician with (let's be honest here) no ethics and during the escape from a guy whose woman Oscar has wooed, he ends up in a different world. It's a world with real magic and where real witches exist. Oscar gets a chance to save the Land of Oz and he grabs it to his own benefit. But as usually in fantasies, nothing really is as it seems. Oscar not only becomes the Wizard of Oz, he also learns a lot about himself and becomes a better person by the choices he makes.

A true Disney plot!

Cast:

When I first saw the trailer and realized it's going to be James Franco playing Oz, I had difficulties believing that. I was surprised by the choice because playing in a Disney movie as Oz did not seem very obvious role for Franco in my opinion. I was very curious to see how Franco performed.

He was a BRILLIANT choice! His smirky naughty smile, his way around the women, the sparkle in his eyes and also his tenderness was perfect. He did not play Oz, he WAS Oz, a natural born Oz! Oz showed a very different side of James Franco's talent and I am glad I got to see it.

Michelle Williams was a tad flat for my taste and it has nothing to do with her skills, but with Glinda as a character. I have never been a big fan of truly good witches and that's the reason behind it. She was too good to be an interesting character, too good to be true - even in a fantasy.

Rachel Weisz as Evanora and Mila Kunis as Theodora were the dynamic duo in the movie. I did not like much of the softer side of Theodora in the beginning of the movie, but I loved the darker and evil side of her. Mila Kunis did exceptionally well after the change Theodora went through. Her voice and body language changed and developed only to the better as the story went. Mila Kunis' role made me think of: Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!

One of my favorite characters was the China Girl played (voiced) by Joey King. On of my favorite scenes in the movie was when Oz fixed her broken legs - I think it was a beautiful scene when they meet.

Last, but not least, I would like to mention that Zach Braff as Finley was lovable! The growing friendship between Oz and Finley was nicely developed. It was funny and heart-warming.

Dislikes:

I do love Disney movies. With that said, I think Oz, the Great and Powerful was little too sweet. I think, that a younger audience might love it, but for me personally the story was too sugarcoated. I would have wanted to see more balance between the good and the evil.

Favorite quote:
Oz: "Can you fight?"
Munckins: "No, but we can sing!"

 Generally:

Oz, the Great and Powerful was an entertaining movie with very solid visuals, captivating cast and a good story! I definitely recommend it, so if you haven't seen it yet, what are you waiting for?! It is a movie you would want to see in the theatre, it needs a good big screen and loud sound! Go and see it!


5 Flowers!
4 stars.

Thanks for coming by and happy movie watching!


 

3 comments:

  1. Nice review Inga. Don’t expect to see the classic in top-form, just expect to see something like it, be happy, click your ruby slippers three times, and have a grand time. That’s what happened to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! You made me smile with your comment! :D
      Lovely!
      Inga

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  2. Great review. I am a little hesitant to watch it, so I think I will just go in with no expectations. The Wizard of Oz is my mom's favorite movie, so I have seen it a ridiculous number of times. Lol.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. :)

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