Thursday, October 3, 2013

Movie Review ... Oz The Great And Powerful


oz the great posterWhen making a prequel/sequel to a beloved movie film-makers have a choice.  They can either maintain its spirit and update it with a modern sensibility or slavishly copy its template with little flair.  ‘Oz the Great and Powerful’ slides somewhere between with director Sam Raimi doing his best to adhere to L. Frank Baum’s still enchanting books.  Providing a dazzling spectacle, this visit to Oz is generally welcome even if its yellow brick road is paved with some mis-steps.

Making a living as a circus magician, Oscar Diggs (James Franco) is a man of dubious disposition.  Suddenly transported to the colourful world of Oz, he thinks he’s found a haven of riches.  He meets witches Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams).  Mistaken for a great wizard, Oscar soon becomes involved in Oz’s many dramas.  Using tricks to amaze its inhabitants, he soon learns the true nature of good and evil is something worth discovering.

‘Oz’ certainly doesn’t skimp on the special effects as it gloriously brings the magical kingdom to life.  Raimi has the most fun in creating a world many can engage in.  The same can’t be said of the overall story even though the cast give fine performances.  It is difficult becoming involved in the character’s journeys as the screenplay’s use of modern cynicism robs it of charm.  The timeless innocence of the original ‘Wizard of Oz’ is missing, replaced with characters difficult to like.

Although determined to provide something ‘worthy and earnest’ to appeal to jaded viewers, ‘Oz’ manages to occasionally entertain.  Oscar’s transformation into Oz’s wonderful wizard is believably handled with his carnival background well utilised in the exciting finale.  Franco’s role succeeds in having attention given to it unlike others who are given short shrift.  This lessens their impact with the lack of imagination in providing something new whilst maintaining the classic elements noticeable.

‘Oz the Great and Powerful’ is an ok time-waster.  Unlike the Judy Garland classic, it most likely won’t be as fondly remembered as its more adult approach in telling a beguiling fantasy lacks the shiny magical spark of Dorothy’s famous ruby slippers.

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Movie Review Rating out of 10:  6

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

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