Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)
Directed by Sam Raimi
Starring: James Franco, Rachel Weisz, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams
Oz (Franco) is a small-time magician who’s been mysteriously transported to an enchanted land. As he explores this new world he quickly finds himself in the midst of a battle between three witches (Kunis, Weisz, Williams). Now he’s been given the chance to become more than just a carnival magician. As the battle begins Oz must use all his skills to overcome evil and save the people magical land.
Sam Raimi (Spider-Man) has done some inventive film making during his career. From Drag Me to Hell to For Love of the Game, Raimi has been able to work a large spectrum of interesting projects. This film might be his most ambitious work to date, connecting with a legendary film like The Wizard of Oz. Thankfully the film doesn’t attempt to come too close to the original, instead using the fantastic land of Oz as a backdrop for a decent story.
The cast of this film was a mixed bag for me. James Franco (127 Hours) does a great job anchoring the film with his own unique take on his character. Most of the supporting cast also do a nice job with their parts in this movie. The struggle for me comes from the three women asked to play the witches. Rachel Weisz (The Bourne Legacy), Mila Kunis (Ted), and Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn) were asked to take on these important roles. All of them are very talented, but I felt like the combination lacked the chemistry I hoped I would see. This is unfortunate since the relationships of their characters is vital to the success of the story.
The visual effects and other artistic work on this film is spectacular. The world the animators and directors created feels perfect for the land of Oz. Add in the costumes and everything else and this is a visual treat. There are also some nice nods to the original land of Oz created in 1939.
Overall, this was a fun movie, but not what it could have been. It is always risky when you revisit a classic, even if it’s done indirectly. This time the film just lacked ay of the great moments that might have made it a great movie. If you’re a fan of the story or the classic Wizard of Oz this might be a bit of a letdown. Still, for kids and people who love fantasy films and great visuals, I think it’s worth watching. For all the successes in this film I think it fell short for me. I give this one 2.7 out of 5 stars.