Another review of a child friendly film, something more recent than anything I usually do though so hopefully this review might reach some of you before you see the actual film! I saw this film in IMAX 3D so bare that in mind when reading and please don’t bother telling me it completely changed the film in the hope that I’d be naive enough to believe you, just because you enjoyed seeing Mila Kunis on a massive screen (although I did too) doesn’t mean the IMAX version is worth the damage it does to your bank balance!
Oz the Great and Powerful Film Review
Oz the Great and Powerful is the prequel that nobody asked for, it’s all about how Oz got its famous wonderful wizard. The question of how this happened has never crossed my and as far as I’m aware, anybody else’s mind. But despite this Oz the Great and Powerful does have a lot to offer in terms of a family friendly fantasy film.
It opens (in black-and-white, obviously) in an early 1900’s Kansas, where a cheap fairground magician (James Franco) is attempting to fool the locals with his charm, showmanship and interesting outfit. His fraudulent nature is predictably rumbled and he frantically escapes in his hot-air-balloon that is whisked away by a cyclone somewhere over the rainbow, to the famous and fantastical Land of Oz. A world that returns to the cinema screens nearly seventy-three years after it’s first appearance in 1939. The Technicolor wonderland is one of the few settings along with Avatar’s ‘Pandora’, that I think justifies such heavy use of CGI and 3D.
After Franco crash lands he is greeted by a good witch, (Mila Kunis) who believes he is the prophesized sorcerer sent to save Oz from her wicked cousin (Micelle Williams). But it might instead actually be, just maybe, Mila’s sister (Rachel Weisz) who doesn’t only love to dress in a menacing tone of green but also has a very strong British accent, and we all know how Disney loves to represent the Brits after we thrashed the Nazi’s in the Second World War, damn you Walt!
The film runs with a very light and well-judged humor throughout, but does leave you questioning what the morals of the film actually were, if there were any at all. I don’t think the film would be as loved as it is without Franco’s loveable on screen personality and would perhaps leave people wondering why the wizard was ever considered so wonderful. It is really unfortunate that Franco’s character arc turns more into a sloppy circle where he ends up roundabout where he was to begin with, just with more money, a monkey and an extremely attractive girlfriend who is actually capable of doing magic.
As I mentioned earlier the visuals of this film are astounding! The CGI creates a real vast, dynamic landscape that helps embellish the story like the bright and colorful beauty it wants to be. Although I appreciate the skill it takes to create CGI as good looking as this I have to say I was slightly annoyed to see nothing that looked as though it had been physically constructed. I am by no means a huge fan of the original Wizard of Oz but as an aspiring filmmaker can fully appreciate the ingenuity it took to make the original and just as was the case with the Star Wars prequels, was sad to see a lack of traditional camera and editorial tricks and techniques that could have been used but weren’t due to the ease of manipulating the colors blue and green.
Despite this being a digital replication of Oz from 1939 it is as I said still believable that we have returned to the same place. The recreation does have a few minor tweaks and many references that I’ll let you look out for yourself. One of my favorite changes is that this prequel only features half the music of the original, which is only a good thing as I don’t think I could resist shouting ‘SHUT UP MEG’ anymore than I already have to through out Kunis’ screen time.
Overall I would say if you enjoyed the original don’t worry, there is still pleasure to be had from Oz the Great and Powerful, just don’t expect to be as impressed with it as you might have been had this film been made perhaps fifty or more years ago. As far as prequels go I’d say this was a good one given the time gap, but I don’t think it’s a prequel that will have a prequel-sequel, but this is Disney and given the recent news regarding Star Wars I wouldn’t be surprised if they gave it a go anyway! Although they should be careful, I can’t see JJ Abrams pulling them out of another money making nostalgic mess.
As I always put at the end of these things, thank you so much for reading! Especially to you repeat readers who keep coming back and suggesting films for me to do, I’ve had more views than I ever anticipated and that truly means a lot. So if you keep the ball rolling I promise I will too! Please follow and share my blog and do not be afraid to tell me what you think! I’m also on Twitter @georgecearl and Facebook which I will only share with you if you follow me through this or Twitter and aren’t a weirdo!
Till next time,