Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Delightfully magical yet slavish: 'Oz the Great and Powerful' movie review

The origin story of how the wizard became THE wizard, "Oz the Great and Powerful" will delight you in many ways, but will equally make you realize you were taken in a "magical" land with no magic.

"Oz" is commendable for its CGI effects. I can say the film has astute piece of storytelling, and how it elevated some pretty standard materials into strong moments is something to praise for.

Directed by Sam Raimi ("Evil Dead," "Spider-Man" trilogy, "Drag Me To Hell"), and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures, "Oz the Great and Powerful" tells the story of the fairground mountebank carnival magician Oscar "Oz" Diggs, who was swept away by a whirlwind in Kansas in 1905 to the magical land of Oz, where he was mistaken as the Wizard, which according to a prophecy will be their savior who will defeat the tyrannical Wicked Witch.

The film stars James Franco in leading role, which was originally offered to Robert Downey, Jr. then to Johnny Depp. Unluckily, Franco fell short of my expectations. He is truly charming and a bit funny, but there's something in him that I thought made me believe it could have been better if Depp didn't do "The Lone Ranger" and instead starred in this one.

Oz along his way met Theodora (Mila Kunis), her sister Evanora (Rachel Weisz), and Glinda (Michelle Williams). As the film progresses, these three witches will be revealed of their good and their bad.

The film has a lot of moments to enjoy. There are some scenes that will hold your breath, and a few clever lines that are genuinely funny. However, it manages to be slavish and lacks the faith in the power of illusion it possesses. It resides in a gigantic, ambitious special effects (read reviews saying it was amazing in 3D), but uncharitable to serve a story.

Nevertheless, "Oz the Great and Powerful" is a light, visually good flick to watch.

Rating: 7/10

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