I should start by saying that, all things considered, the original “The Wizard of OZ” movie is still my favorite film of all time. Great music, characters, comedy, scares, heart, it has it all. So it’s perhaps unfair to compare the original with this “prequel”, “Oz, the Great and Powerful”. The Sam Raimi offering from Disney has loads of CGI magic but suffers from it’s miscast lead, James Franco. He can be great in movies like “Milk” and “127 Hours”, but here he is weak and wooden as the greedy, con-man magician , Lothario, Oscar Diggs. His smart ass smile can only go so far when he gets to the technicolor world of OZ. He arrives via tornado, with lots of references the original movie, and is received as the long awaited king who will rescue the Ozzies from Evil. There are three witches, Glinda the Good (Michelle Williams, still channeling a little “Marilyn”), Evanora (Rachel Weisz, effective in her deviousness), and Theodora (Mila Kunis, Evanora’s conflicted,easily manipulated sister). After enjoying Kunis’ interview with the Hugh Grant like young BBC radio rookie (3 million views and counting), it’s hard to believe she could ever do wrong. Anyway, Franco is accompanied by a talking monkey (a funny Zach Braff) and a fragile China Doll (Joey King). Raimi and the writers have decided to shadow many of the elements of the original OZ which is the most interesting aspect of the movie. The use of the Steampunk-like contraption that mirrors the fiery visage we remember from Frank Morgan’s 1939 OZ is very entertaining, but I kept thinking how much better the new OZ would have been with a Bradley Cooper in the lead role. By the way, the film is too intense for the toddlers so pay attention to the PG rating.
My GPA: 3.0