Looking at the box office charts of 2013 will produce, quite possibly several of the greatest disappointments in the most recent cinematic history. Most, if not all of the hyped blockbusters were kind of a flop. Disney’s take on the classic Wizard of Oz story is one we knew we’d see, and as it turns out, this is one of the best movies of this year.
OZ: The Great and Powerful (2013) Film Review
Conning the good people of Kansas is part of Oscar Diggs (James Franco) grand scheme. Known as Oz, the petty magician is all about putting on tricks in the travelling circus show he performs, and using dubious ethics. Mistreating his assistant and leaving a string of broken hearts in his wake, Oz’s day is about to go from bad to worse. Following a disastrous show, he’s must feel when an angry father threatens him. Only trouble is, his balloon flies right into a twister bent on destruction. When Oz wakes up, he’s in a mystical land where he meets an impressionable witch named Theadora (Mila Kunis). She becomes infatuated with Oz only to realize that he’s the prophesied wizard whom the Land of Oz waits for. Her evil sister Evanora (Rachel Wiez) is not so easily swayed.
Theadora’s mistake is to bring Oz to the Emerald City under the assumption that she and Oz will rule the city. He is more interested in the wealth he may obtain. This leads him to a wicked witch named Glinda (Michelle Williams). Assisted on his journey into the dark forest is the loyal Finley (voiced by Zach Braff) and an orphaned china doll (voiced by Joey King). Oz sets out to lay claim to the untold wealth but who is the real villain? Along the yellow brick road, Oz just may discover what it means to be the kind of good people expect.
As I did enjoy the modern re-telling, Tin Man, this is something I thought could be fun. So far this may be my favorite film of the year – bear in mind by saying this, I’ve skipped over seeing several of the blockbusters of the year. It’s not because the script is clever or that the effects are dynamic (they remind us of an Alice in Wonderland look), rather that the film is the “complete package.” It has something for everyone. The scope of each frame ignites imagination, there’s humor, plus (bonus!) any costume drama lover will see some gorgeous fashion, and then there is a sparkling of romance for those of us who like stories with subtle undertones of love. Disney made a charmer of a fantasy flick that bubbles over by way of personality and a personable cast.‘OZ: THE GREAT AND POWERFUL’ (2013) #FWarchives #DisneyMovies Click To Tweet
I don’t care for James Franco and never have. Much to my shock, he’s actually pretty good in this role; he makes Oscar equal parts charm and he learns valuable lessons, changing into a different, far better, man. Thinking back on the film as I write this, the even more impressive feat is that the transition doesn’t seem extreme. While the closing credits reveal Oscar as a “good” man, he’s still a bit of a rascal. There’s some fun and silly charms Oscar plies the ladies with. Between Theadora and eventually Glinda, the Wizard has more than one lady fall under his spell and while I don’t mind how it resolves, those of you who prefer love stories to have more substance may not like the implications in the ending.
Supporting cast is tolerably good with some interesting personalities. I’m not overly fond of any of the female leads for these roles. Mila is pretty good in her role considering she’s the biggest 180 personality switch to contend with; Rachel is tepid (more of a “fun” mean than terrifying); and Michelle isn’t nearly the character I’d have wanted of Glinda. She turns in a nice Glinda, not a memorable one.
That being said, none of the cast ruins the film; the real stars of the movie is China Girl and Finley. These two supporting characters are the jewels of the script. China Girl’s innocence and faith in the Wizard is precious (tell me you don’t love her little temper tantrum), and Finley’s rambling commentary is fun. I dare you not to like these two.
Lest you didn’t realize it, Oz: the Great and Powerful is an origins story. It’s not the typical narrative and is instead before Dorothy, the Tin Man and company find the yellow brick road. With a sequel already in play, this viewer is curious to see what will come next. The transfer from black-and-white to colorful full frame is achieved to its greatest potential and makes a splashy impact. Also to its credit are the many great things about the script including the distinction Glinda helps him realize about his character. The film is beautifully fanciful, darling and entertaining. Because of this, it’s quite possibly one of the most charming fairytales I’ve seen in a while.
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You can find Oz: the Great and Powerful digitally on Amazon Video
Content: women transform into frightening witches, terrifying creatures fly at the screen seeking prey. Oscar is a womanizer; he charms women with a sappy story about his grandmother and loves a girl he leaves. The film is PG