Unfortunately, that is my highest compliment. Although Oz, the Great and Powerful succeeds in pleasing their demographic–I was left wanting. With that said, I am sure many will love this film and kids (especially) will enjoy the story and beautiful imagery.
First of all, I should state that I like The Wizard of Oz, but I am not a fanatic about it. The new Oz follows its lead in being a wholesome family film, but it does not even get close to its classic status. While some felt that Disney was taking a gamble in trying to reboot a beloved classic, it seems to have paid off for them (sequel is already in the works). Hey, they have to make the $$$.
So, why wanting? For me, it was a bit one dimensional. Everything looked great and paid homage to the original (more based on novel, than the 1939 film because of property rights)–but it was just…flat. I did not care for any character on-screen. I was never invested. It’s just pretty.
The cast okay. Again, no stand outs. James Franco was fine–but could’ve have been more con-artist-y or shady, that way his arch was more believable. Rachel Weisz was good–but it felt like she was limited. Mila Kunis was wasted–that character had SO much potential, yet it was all too fast–too rushed. Michelle Williams had more screen time and yet, her character too is so shallow and simple. The CG sidekicks–Zach Braff as Finley (the monkey) and Joey King as China Doll were, again, okay. See, not much to get excited about it.
Well, there were the cool special effects–the opening sequence was pretty sweet. I appreciated the black and white tribute and then the use of introduced characters in the Oz world (a salute to the original). Ummmm… I’m thinking…I’m thinking…I liked the land of Oz–the poppy fields–the different citizens–the flying baboons (much more scary than plain monkeys). Yeah. I think that is it.
Everything my daughter and I thought of that could have made this film better, would have changed the safe PG rating and possibly alienated some. But hey, in defense of a PG rating–Pixar and Disney have been extremely successful in providing clean, safe entertainment that also has substance and is able to keep an adult’s interest. So, then it just boils down to a lackluster script and unfortunately, director Sam Raimi‘s choices. What a shame. I am a true Raimi fan and was looking forward to this, just because of him. Deep sigh.
Bottom line? It’s not bad. It’s not awesome. It’s okay and kids will like it. That’s it.
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