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7.25 out of 10
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8.75 out of 10
Disney's Frozen movie
10.0 out of 10
Delivery Man movie
6.75 out of 10
8.25 out of 10

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Oz the Great and Powerful


The Start of the Yellow Brick Road

8.0 out of 10 | Movie and DVD

Rated: PG Sequences of action and scary images, and brief mild language.
Release Date: March 8, 2013
Runtime: 2 hours 10 minutes

Director: Sam Raimi
Writers: Mitchell Kapner, David Lindsey-Abaire, from the novel 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz' my L. Frank Baum
Cast: James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams, Zach Braff, Joey King

SYNOPSIS:  A small-time magician arrives in an enchanted land and is forced to decide if he will be a good man or a great one.

REVIEW: Sam Raimi, creator of the original Evil Dead and the director of the original Spider-Man trilogy, moves from horror and superhero action/adventure to a fantasy/adventure of epic proportion. The world created by L. Frank Baum, Oz, has spawned a beautiful 1938 film, several cartoons, graphic novels, and even a SyFy mini-series. Romeo Must Die writer Mitchell Kapner and Rise of the Guardians screenwriter David Lindsey-Abaire combine their knowledge of action and good storytelling to tackle the origins of Oz the Great and Wonderful.

Oz (James Franco, Rise of the Planet of the Apes), a small time traveling carnival stage magician, leads a scoundrel and con man's life for pennies per performance. Using his act to try to 'get the girl', Oscar Finds himself at the wrong end of a disgruntled co-worker. He lifts off in his hot air balloon as an escape, finding himself caught up in a Kansas tornado that whips him to an enchanted world of color and strange creatures. He meets a young, beautiful woman Theodora (Mila Kunis, Ted) who feels that Oz is the prophesied Wizard who will save the citizens of Oz from the Wicked Witch. Evanora (Rachel Weisz, The Bourne Legacy), Theodora's sister, does not believe Oz's claims and sends Oz on a quest to kill the Wicked Witch by stealing and destroying her wand. On the way to the Dark Forest, Oz the Wizard is accompanied by Finley the Flying Monkey (Zack Braff, Scrubs) and met by a China Girl (Joey King, Crazy, Stupid, Love) who wants to join them on their witch hunt. When Oz discovers that he has been duped by Evanora into an attempt on Glinda the Good Witch's (Michelle WilliamsMy Week With Marilynlife, Oz realizes that he must try and live up to the faith of lands' citizens to rid The Emerald City of two Wicked Witches.

In Oz the Great and Powerful, James Franco is a young magician traveling through Kansas and yearning to be a greater man than he is. But one needs to be careful what one wishes for. When a tornado sweeps his hot air balloon up and to the enchanted world of Oz, he finds himself in a strange and magical world that he can barely comprehend. Oz the Great and Powerful is a snappy prequel, giving us a glimpse of the young man who became the man behind the curtain we know from Dorothy's travels through The Emerald City. In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz he is an old man just trying to keep up the vestige of his station more legend than fact. So, in this prequel, does that mean that the wizard was not a figment of Dorothy's imagination?

The world of Oz that L. Frank Baum created early in the 20th century served as both social commentary and fantasy, spawning many versions of itself over the years. With rich source material from Baum, the Oz universe has created graphic novels, television shows, movies cartoons, and now a prequel to the original 1938 film where we were swept away again to a world so unlike our own.

James Franco, as the traveling carnival magician and illusionist Oscar, claims he wants to "be a great man, not just a good man". The same could be said for Franco's career, With Franco snagging roles in oddball drug filled comedies, soap operas, and the acclaimed 147 Hours, Franco continues to work hard to be a great actor, not just a good actor. He reteams with his Date Night costar Mila Kunis as the witch Theodora, re-sparking an already strong chemistry on screen. Mila, no stranger to strange dramatic performances - Black Swan - plays up her strengths in her fantasy role as a young witch of Oz. Rachel Weisz serves as the councilor to the king, a throne left empty due to the assassination of Glinda the Good Witch's father until Oz appears in his hot air balloon. Her motives are suspect, but her connection to her sister Theodora is true. Or is it? Speaking of Glinda the Good Witch, Michelle Williams steps into the good witch's shoes as if she was made for the role. Supporting Franco's Wizard are the voice talents of Zach Braff as the flying monkey Finley and Joey King as the China Girl. Braff keeps the mood light, in addition to Franco's signature quirky expressions and manners, while King gives the tale the heart it needs - even if her heart is made of china.

Director Sam Raimi, certainly no stranger to special-effects films with his work on the Spider-Man trilogy and known for his creative and inventive work on his Evil Dead franchise, gets a broad palette to work from with this large big studio production. Creating this fantasy world is much more involved than any of the films Raimi has done to date, sometimes rivaling what Cameron had to do with Avatar. With armies of flying monkeys, China girls, and landscapes that could only be dreamed up in Ozian detail, Raimi certainly has his cinematic hands full. Raimi and his team keep the whimsy that we would expect from the land of Oz, with rich cinematic color, while adding his own sense of danger and adventure. The perfect scene to demonstrate Raimi's mesh of fantasy and adventure comes to fruition as Franco's character finds himself plummeting from the sky in his hot air balloon, racing down raging rapids, and over craggy waterfalls. The landscapes are breathtaking and stunning - everything we would hope for in a return to live-action return to Oz.

Oz the Great and Powerful is a wild, wicked ride for both older kids and adults alike. Funny and action filled, the tale is faithful to the ideas and stories of the wonderful world of Oz created by L. Frank Baum. Remember that all roads led to the Emerald City.

1 comment:

  1. Spectacular 3 D effects since from the opening titles till end of the fairy tale.Welcome of Oscar at OZ , wonderful flying Monkey and cute Doll.. In simple words, Watching this movie is Visual Treat....