Movie Review: Oz The Great and Powerful

I’m late, I’m late, for a very important…blog post! Ugh, sorry readers. I am behind…again! Seems to be my mantra lately. But I know you understand, you yourself being tucked away under the covers with a good book, headphones on listening to a fabulous new band, or hand in the popcorn tub watching a few flicks. Am I right? Thanks, I knew I could count on you. 😉

So, onward with the review.

I saw The Great and Powerful Oz after a well orchestrated marketing campaign pretty much convinced me I needed to see it, the question — who turns into the Wicked Witch — looming in my mind thanks to carefully crafted trailers. I researched online, dug through community forums (yes, I was that obsessed) and then, alas, Disney ruined it for me by releasing mugs with Mila Kunis’ face as the Green Faced Lady!

So, while the veil had been lifted before opening weekend, I hoped the movie would still excite me. First, let me caveat my feedback with this: I love prequels. Especially for stories that have been enjoyed by readers /movie goers for years. Gregory Maguire’s Wicked was brilliant – the musical, incredible (admittedly, it made me cry). And hello, Star Wars, Episode 3, where we finally find out what caused Anakin to turn into Darth Vadar (love!) Hello, genius!  All this said sadly, I didn’t completely love this one.

To be candid, the movie fell flat for me.  I see what Sam Raimi was trying to do with the film, preserving the look and feel of The Wizard of Oz, a beloved masterpiece, and incorporating it into this flick with new characters. But in an era where film-making has been heightened to greatness (ahem, Pixar anyone?), it actually underwhelmed me, much in the way Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland did for me. The little China girl was sweet, and the settings imaginative, but I don’t know…it just felt forced. And the acting…sigh.

There was no “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” moment. And while I know it wasn’t a musical, there wasn’t that one moment that would help preserve it into viewers hearts for years to come. James Franco was wooden, and while I love Rachel Weisz, her performance underwhelmed me as well. I expected more from her. Take for example Cate Blanchett’s Galadriel (Lord of the Rings). Everything about her portrayal embodied the character in her command of the screen. It wasn’t what she said, but how she said it. And for Rachel Weisz’s Evanora, the Wicked With of the East, she seemed like a cranky bitch that never got her way and that’s about it. No real evil.

Mila Kunis is gorgeous and (SPOILER ALERT!) before she transforms into the Wicked Witch of the West, there are a few nice scenes with her and James Franco’s Oz. But post transformation, the green faced witch we have all come to know and fear looked too fake, not nearly as scary as the original, and the laugh, while close, not close enough to the original cackle that has been the cackle heard around the world for decades.

See what I’m sayin?

I can’t say anything about Michelle Williams’ Glinda the Good Witch of the South. I was completely uninterested in her. The only cool thing about her was the black hood she wore while visiting her father’s grave in the cemetery toward the beginning of the movie. That’s about it. Oh, maybe her dress. That was pretty. But you can’t go wrong with white gowns, really.

So, in honor of the Merry Old Land of Oz that I love and adore….one of my favorite scenes from the original.

Oh, and as a bonus, check out this awesome TV ad from British mobile provider, Orange, This Wicked Witch is even better than that from the movie.


One thought on “Movie Review: Oz The Great and Powerful

  1. Pingback: Cool Songs in Movies (and on TV): Mariah, Mercy and Moby | Nightstand

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