Keep It Reel Reviews

Reel People. Reel Reviews.

Oz The Great and Powerful


Rated: PG

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?”


4 thoughts on “Oz The Great and Powerful

  1. Good review Nathan. It isn’t such a bad flick to watch if you want some sweet, escapism for 2 hours. Other than that, it’s nothing all that special.

  2. Eh. I’m not even sure that I could ever escape with this film. Thanks for kinds words though.

  3. I completely agree with you especially connecting to the original both in the book form and movie form the story was different. From my point of views I do not see any change in the OZ character I still think he will be a sleazy douche bag after the “curtain close”. The best part of the entire film was the beginning credits where CGI made sense I was looking forward to the original Tinker Bell intro because it was all B & W.
    The original story was at its core about a girl learning about the greatness of herself in her boring house in Kansas. That she could be a hero of her own story with out having to be a “hero”, if that makes sense. They threw that lesson and any other morale lesson away in this film. I was not happy with Disney at all.
    Great job on the review by the way, I would give the movie an even lower score 5 out of 10.

    • Thank you so much for the compliments. I think Franco just has that look in every movie (the one where he looks like he is on drugs). The intro credits where awesome and had some cool effects. The choice to have the credits at the beginning was a good one because it reminded me of the classics. I actually think that there was a lesson about, if you dig deeper in yourself you can become great or second chances, but I agree that it’s not like original. Again, thanks for the comment!

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