5
Apr
2013
Brief: Oz The Great and Powerful
Oz The Great and Powerful
Jordan
This could have been a great movie. Somewhere, deep inside, I believe that Sam Raimi had a great Oz film in him somewhere. But he left it in the bank on this one. Beginning with a black and white sequence that feels sandwiched in to acknowledge things about The Wizard of Oz the film clearly doesn't understand (there is a reason many of the actors that appeared in Oz are introduced in Kansas in that film. This one seems to do it because it feels it must, or worse, because it thinks its cute. It isn't), the film quickly moves on to an Oz so CGI-laden it never gets the chance to feel alive. The film is anchored by wooden performances from actors I know to be capable of charm (if James Franco thinks he is playing a magnetic con man, here, he should go back to the drawing board, and Mila Kunis is as flat as she's ever been when she isn't emoting to the rafters), and when Zach Braff, voicing a talking flying monkey, is the most vibrant and interesting performance in your movie, you know there's room for improvement.

Its clear this movie was meant to be seen in 3D, by which I mean it doesn't hold up at all as an actual cinematic spectacle; this is an empty series of things lunging at the screen that I can judge are intended to be scary because James Franco is screaming in their general direction. Ultimately, Oz is a film of instances: a China Doll with her legs broken off, a first glimpse of the Emerald City, iconic if under used, and a few fleeting reminders of the lingering power of the Oz mythos in our pop culture consciousness. Its a shame those instances are buried beneath a sea of CGI that left me feeling as hollow as the man at the film's center. It's too bad I doubt that was the intent.


Read more of Jordan's Film Criticism here
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