I was genuinely excited to see this movie and Oz the Great and Powerful didn’t disappoint. It’s a beautiful film that used 3D effects with amazing effectiveness. The story is very charming and for the most part the actors bring forth good performances. The movie is certainly full of heart and imagination. In terms of a movie, it is a horse of a different color; taking a selfish, male lead into Oz.
Oscar Diggs, played by James Franco, is a magician in a small-time travelling circus. After a show he is chased into a hot air balloon where he accidentally gets whisked away to the Land of Oz in a tornado. When he arrives he is mistaken for the prophesied Wizard of Oz who is supposed to save the land from the Wicked Witch. Can this small town magician keep people believing he is a great man?
James Franco is great as Oscar Diggs and is incredibly charming. Michelle Williams is lovely and encapsulates the role of Glinda the Good Witch. I was even impressed by Zach Braff whom I normally find very annoying. He brought a very decent and likable performance. The only exceptions were Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz as the Wicked Witches. Considering both are normally decent actresses it was really lame see them phone it in. Mid-movie Mila Kunis becomes the Wicked Witch of the West. She turns green and gets funky prosthetics. She attempts to impersonate Margaret Hamilton and it comes off more like she is shouting at a neighbor’s dog. Sadly the laugh is very off. Rachel Weisz might as well be sleep walking though her part the way she blandly reads her lines.
The scenery and the effects are really lovely. Between the China Doll girl and the winged monkey it is really impressive and creative stuff. The landscape is littered with amazing flowers and creatures that seem like they could be out of Fantasia. The story theme is really positive too, even though it doesn’t fit perfectly with the 1939 film. They borrow interesting style choices from the 1939 film such as the choice to start off in Kansas in black & white then when they go to Oz they use very vivid color. The plot has interesting ties between Kansas and Oz. For example, in Kansas a girl in a wheel chair asks Oscar to heal her legs and he feels helpless because he is a fraud and can’t help her. In Oz he comes across a girl made of China who has broken legs that he is able to mend with glue and help her walk which gives him a form of redemption.