At 10 am today, I took two daughters and three grandchildren to see Oz, The Great and Powerful, which is sort of a prequel to The Wizard of Oz and Return to Oz. The Wizard of Oz is an American icon. Return to Oz (1985) is much darker then The Wizard of Oz, but I liked it.
Oz, The Great and Powerful gets a much more critical review from me. Though I have enjoyed Mila Kunis, who played Theodora, in other roles, I didn’t find her performance to be as interesting as it could have been. And I’m being kind. Rachel Weisz (Evanora) played Mila Kunis’ sister and while her role was better played, it wasn’t enough to save the film.
James Franco played Oscar Diggs, a circus magician, huckster and womanizer who enjoys toying with women’s emotions – which goes wrong when he starts doing it with witches in Oz. His portrayal was ok. Just ok. He was believable as the slimy con-man but not as the sincere and repentant Wizard of Oz. To me it felt as if the chemistry between Franco, the director and his fellow actors was strained. Maybe it was just me? He falls in love with Michelle Williams (Glinda the Good Witch of the North). At least that’s what the script called for. It just didn’t work either.
The last bit of the movie (if it stood alone) where the linkage is established between the audience chamber where Dorothy Gale meets the Wizard was effective and interesting but it didn’t save the film.
The chemistry between actors is what transcends a lot of other technical and writing effort and that’s where I feel that this film effort broke down.
Disney worked very hard to integrate the film racially and it came off as gratuitous and cheap rather than genuine. Sorry Disney. Political correctness helped kill the film. It looked STUPID and it didn’t have to.
I can’t recommend that you spend money to see the film in the theater. Watch it on cable TV in a year or rend a Red Box DVD in four months for a dollar.
My rating: 4 out of a possible 10