‘Oz The Great And Powerful’ Review: Visually Stunning… Yet Predictable And Boring

Oz The Great And Powerful Review
Oz The Great And Powerful Review
Oz The Great And Powerful wooed fans for nearly a year before release with a magical trailer and a pretty epic panel last year at Comic Con. With Sam Raimi in the driver’s seat, I expected something magical and deliciously dark. However, what I ended up seeing was neither of those things.

With the on-going trend of remakes and reboots of classic fairy tales in Hollywood, the timing seems quite appropriate. However, Oz The Great And Powerful doesn’t retell a classic tale – instead it serves as a prequel to one of Hollywood’s most beloved films. How did the Wizard become the Wizard? That is exactly the story that this movie tells.

With a cool idea for a plot, a great director, and talented cast – where did everything go wrong? The script. My main issue with the film was that all of the climatic moments of the film, were not climatic at all. The ultimate confrontation is not only predictable, but the characters involved are also completely lacking any passion.

Oscar Diggs (James Franco) is a magician, but not a real one. With many tricks up his sleeve and illusions (trying not make an Arrested Development joke here) in his bag, Oscar travels with a small circus – charming lovely ladies in every city. The commitment-opposed magician finds himself swept up by a violent tornado which lands him in the enchanting land of Oz. The inhabitants here have all been waiting a long time for a wizard to arrive to defeat the wicked witch.

Oscar almost immediately encounters Theodora (Mila Kunis), who takes him to met her sister Evanora (Rachel Weisz). They tell Oscar that he has to kill Glinda (Michelle Williams) in order to become king and claim all the riches that the land has to offer – which is a boat load of gold. Oscar finds himself drawn into the conflict, and he soon realizes that things aren’t exactly as they seem… and that maybe he’s better man than he ever was back in Kansas.

Seeing the film in 3D is a must if you’re going to go see it. While the effects are standard and gimmicky, it does add to the overall beauty of the film, which as a whole is quite visually stunning. James Franco doesn’t bring anything truly magical to his role as the Wizard. While it’s not hard to buy him as a wannabe magician that’s a little girl crazy, there just wasn’t enough there between the script and his performance to really create an emotional attachment between Oscar and the audience.

However, the rest of the cast works perfectly. Michelle Williams does a whimsical job as Glinda, and she manages to do so without being corny or sappy yet with the perfect amount of doe-eyed innocence. Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz are both seductive without trying. Kunis especially shows a great emotional range with a transition from gullible and lovestruck to vindictive and malicious.

The best character in the film? The China Girl. Not only are the effects with her quite stunning and impressive, she instantly has the heart of every audience member in her hand from the moment you meet her. If only the rest of the characters could have had such an opportunity with the script, and there had been more a climax – we would have had a much better film on our hands.

Overall, when it comes to Wizard of Oz prequels, it’s hard if not impossible to top Wicked (which I actually enjoy far more than Wizard of Oz). While Oz The Great And Powerful tells a different tale, it’s not one that will have you nearly as emotionally invested as Wicked. That being said, if you’re a fan of the classic, it’s definitely a must see.

Grade: B-

Review By: Emma Loggins


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  1. Excellent review. I saw Oz in IMAX 3D, and it is a beautiful film especially once Oz arrives in the Land of Oz with all its many characters and vibrant colors. I did like the homages to the Wizard of Oz in the film but this movie lacked the heart of the 1939 classic. Oz the Great and Powerful is a good film but not a classic. Too many Franco smirks and gags from minor characters.

  2. Watched the classic last year for the first time and really liked it but i don’t really see myself connecting to these actors playing the old characters (if there are any)
    That being said, I still did wanted to see this movie but when you hear people say that its a predictable one, then its such a turn off for me personally. The cinema becomes pointless.
    Good review bye the way! 🙂

  3. Of course it’s “predictable”. Hello? It’s a PREquel. You know Glinda turns out to be good and that the two sisters end up being the Wicked Witches of the East and West and that Oz (and all of his phony magic) end up in the Emerald City. I did think the way the did it all (from the beginnings in Kansas on up through the over throw of the Emerald City) was the right way to do it. I do agree also that James Franco did nothing to win me over. Rachel Weisz was marvelous, and Mila Kunis was nice as Theodora…but once she was wicked I thought her performance was weak. I never saw her growing into Margaret Hamilton’s version of the Wicked Witch. The same was true of Michelle Williams…I couldn’t see her becoming Billie Burk’s Glinda ever. There was a lack of magic, as you say. Like the Wizard’s magic itself, it was all smoke and mirrors–no real lightning in a bottle was captured unlike the original.

    Also, I saw “Wicked” with the original cast—and was BORED to tears. When the lights came up, I was so relieved that it was over…only to realize it was just intermission. UGH! The differences between “Wicked” and “Oz” are that “Oz” (however loosely) is taken from L. Frank Baum’s original tales and “Wicked” is someone else’s creation entirely based on the characters.

  4. I havent seen this yet, but I am surprised to hear that it was boring. I love the story of Oz so I assumed this would be awesome!