“Once again, the whole theatre thing turns the movie game into a strategy of priorities. What MUST I absolutely see? This week, my high priority flick was Oz The Great and Powerful. Do I even need to list the reasons why?
When I wrote up Wizard of Oz for the AFI project I wrote about how that was a special movie for me. To be fair, it tends to be a special movie for most people in different ways. That’s just my story. Thinking back on it now, it truly is a phenomenal film on multiple levels. So it’s on sacred yellow brick ground upon which Sam Raimi treads in this film.
Frankly, I think he did a beautiful job. Oz is very reverent towards Wizard, taking great care to recreate the world and instill that same sense of wonder in a new generation. Its worth pointing out that for legal reasons much of the images had to be reimagined. Just enough to be reminiscent of their predecessors but not so much as to invoke copyright lawyers. A unique and difficult challenge that was certainly well met.
Some of it may have been a little too careful. The story did feel a little thin and simplistic. It kinda relied a bit too much on nostalgia to carry it, so the plot was minimal. However, the cast certainly had me captivated enough to almost make up for it. James Franco is utterly charming. Despite how much of a crazy person he may be, he certainly regained whatever favor he may have lost in the time since his Oscar hosting debocle. Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz made stunning and beautiful witches. But for me, the real scene stealer was Michelle Williams as Glinda. She had a lot of the same quality that Amy Adams had in Enchanted, but with more self awareness. So graceful and poised and benevolent. I could not take my eyes off of her, and I wanted to be one of her loyal munchkins.
Another small nitpick is I didn’t really like what they did with the wicked witch. Storywise I was okay with how it played out, but the visual was distracting. There was just enough CGI (or so it seemed) on her face that it threw me for a loop. And she just seemed too skinny. Didn’t quite fill out what should have been a kick ass dress. But she does regain points for that cackle.
What it all comes down to is I haven’t had that kid like wonder at a movie in at least recent memory. Wicked may provide a more rich backstory, but this was still a worthwhile trip over the rainbow.
Oz the Great and Powerful – \m/ \m/ \m/ \n