Oz, The Great and Powerful: Movie Review
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Disney's prequel to The Wizard of Oz hopes to enchant audiences at movie theaters this weekend. But does Oz, The Great and Powerful have as much heart, courage or wits about it as the Judy Garland classic? Not quite.
The Sam Raimi-directed film's suggestive moments only take away from this PG-rated movie. It’s portrayal of good magic and it's slow-going momentum at times diminish its positive messages (that good always wins and the most unlikely of people can make a big difference).
THE MOVIE IN A MINUTE
Tired of his small-time, carnival act, magician Oscar "Oz" Diggs is ready to perform for the masses. His chance comes when he's transported to the magical world of Oz. There he's offered the king's throne and incredible riches if he defeats the Wicked Witch. Filled with greed, Oz convinces the people he is the prophesied wizard for whom they have been waiting. When Glinda, the Good Witch, discovers that his 'magic' tricks are just illusions, she asks for his help anyway. But, how could Oz help against such dark power?
THE GOOD AND BAD IN OZ, THE GREAT AND POWERFUL
Oz, The Great and Powerful pays homage to the classic film with its first scenes in black and white. Brilliant colors, reminiscent of Dorothy's stroll down the yellow brick road, light up the big screen. Visually, the film is vibrant. Some of the humor is on target. Otherwise, this prequel is a little disappointing.
James Franco fills the wizard's shoes fairly well, but it's his sidekick played by Zach Braff (of TV's Scrubs fame) that steals the show. In fact, it's Braff's endearing character and spot-on comedy that really engage you. Supporting Franco as the witches of Oz are Mila Kunis as Theodora, Rachel Weisz as Evanora and Michelle Williams as Glinda, the Good.
Some of the awkwardness stems from a scene where one of the leading ladies transforms. She's seen ripping off the top of her dress, revealing a corset underneath. That awkward moment, other revealing outfits and suggestive lines of dialogue are distracting.
Rated PG for sequences of action and scary images, and brief mild language, Oz, the Great and Powerful doesn't feel like a kid-friendly film at times. Parents should err on the side of caution when it comes to taking young kids to this one.
IN THE END
It's disappointing that this Disney prequel isn't as enchanting as the 1939 classic. That is a tall order, to be sure. Still, Oz, The Great and Powerful leaves you wanting more.
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