2 hr 7 min
Staff Writer: Nathaniel Brayton
At least this wasn’t as eye-gougingly bad as The Wiz. But to make it absolutely clear, it wasn’t good. Oz The Great and Powerful tells the story of the witches of Oz and Oscar, a traveling magician who becomes the man behind the curtain.
Once again, and credit Hollywood, the use use of CGI fails to make the world interesting or believable. For me, there were only two layers to Oz, the people and everything behind the people. The environment was just flat, and I bet I could find more depth in a Wizard of Oz pop-up book. And if I strained, I bet could see the treadmill that Franco was walking on. When will they learn that practical effects are more immersive right now than fake CGI worlds. The one exception was the animation and detail in China Girl. It’s clear that they took the most care when creating her character.
Another huge problem with OZ is that every characters’ movements and interactions with the environment was stiff and robotic. Does no one know how to pick up and hold a doll? The actors looked so awkward, like they were holding some poisonous creature that was going to bite them when they were holding the little China Girl.
Nothing felt natural, especially the acting. All three witches were atrocious, producing the worst acting of this decade so far. Miscast. Miscast. Miscast. Mila was as menacing as a puppy showing his teeth. The other two witches felt like they were taken straight from a bad soap opera. Franco is actually decent as a self-absorbed jerk. However, the best acting came from Joey King, who plays the China Doll. And while most of her performance is voice acting, this had more heart and depth than every other character combined.
The makeup on the Wicked Witch of the West was terrible. They literally just brushed green over her skin. Not to mention the tail on her outfit looks like a trash bag.
But the biggest fault of Oz The Great and Powerful is that nothing reminds me of or harkens back to the classic. Part of that is the fault of this film, and part of it stems from the original being so groundbreaking. The classic film made the audience say ‘WOW’, but the technology of OTGP is not advanced enough to have the same affect. The story becomes a bloated mess in the middle act, tries to recover in the third, but doesn’t quite make it. The scene that comes closest to capturing the magic of the orignal is when the Wicked Witch of the West flys on her broom, leaving a trail of black smoke. For a brief second, I made a connection between the two movies. My wish for the Wizard of Oz is that they stop making prequels or different takes on the story and really remake it scene for scene, a wish that I’m afraid will never happen.
The sad thing is that Oz The Great and Powerful could have been great. The CGI cripples the film and makes it seem like Franco is in a giant green room. The acting is worse than that in a college B-movie. There is nothing magical in Oz The Great and Powerful, nothing to put the audience in the action, and nothing to make this a memorable film. OTGP is another average family movie.
out of 10
“You don’t know much about witches, do you?”