Oz the Great and Powerful
Ah yes! I finally got some time to go out and see something new! At first glimpse of Oz I’ll admit I was fascinated, but then when I witnessed Zach Braff’s voice coming out of an animated monkey, I sighed as heavy sigh of lost dreams – but really how did this fantasy epic fare? Not that great. Sorry, but I can’t properly dissect this one without a few spoilers.
We open up with Ye Olde Time Kansas, circa 1905 – even though I really don’t think we needed that date there, but whatever. Also, a simple black and white filter does not due the concept justice – why not film with slightly lower quality equipment? Why can’t you help us believe this is older without telling us? Anyway, I’m nit-picking.
We meet Oscar, or “Oz,” your womanizing charlatan of a circus performer, on the run from a pissed-off muscle-man. In his magic indestructible hot air balloon he is whisked off into the wonderful world of Oz, where his arrival had been foretold by the former king. There he meets three magical witch sisters, Theadora (Rachel Weisz, who’s obviously the bad one), Evanora (Mila Kunis, neutral until scorned by Oz), and Glinda (Michelle Williams – gee, now what’s her alignment again?)
Naturally Oz’s adventures follow what has now become the traditional Oz norm – healing a girl he couldn’t help in Kansas, realizing the importance of friends, all that good stuff. So with this magic and whimsy we’re forgetting one important thing: Oz is a terrible human being. Which is funny, because given the ending of the original we forget that Toto was totally supposed to get put down, either that or it’s assumed that Elmira Gulch died in the twister – so we forget all the bad things if we’re given one really good thing.
Sure sure, in the end he does right by defending the good people of Oz against the wickeds, but he also lied to them, using his circus tricks. And according to Glinda, that’s totally okay, as long as they have hope and something to believe in. What kind of message are they trying to teach us here? It’s okay to lie to people as long as your intentions are good? There was so much room for character development, but I really can’t help to believe that Oz was still in it for the glory, not the good – and I guess that does come full circle with the original film, being that Dorothy calls him out on being a jerk, but there’s so much room for improvement. (Also, where were the ruby slippers? If you’re going to have tie-ins and references but not the slippers, why bother?)
Oz wasn’t that bad, though – aesthetically this film was fairly impressive, though I think a mix of some actual critters would have been appreciated, but perhaps that’s just me. I know it’s supposed to be a dream world of magic, but if it only looked organic, then it would have been spot on. Which reminds me, let’s talk about the makeup.
I guess it’s an unspoken rule that in a green-screen world there is little room for makeup application, which is to say there wasn’t much in this movie – not that it really needed it, but I think they should of focused more where it counted. Specifically, I’m talking about our wicked witch, Theadora.
You see those eyebrows? They never move. In fact, the only thing that moves on her face freely is her mouth. I know they were trying to make her look as malicious as possible, but those painted eyebrows just look like a bad face-lift. She doesn’t look scary, she looks goofy. Again, so much potential here and completely anticlimactic.
Oz the Great and Powerful should have been much better than it was. There were some neat ideas here and there and a bit of originality, but in the end, this trick falls flat. Ignore the man behind the curtain folks, he’s really not that interesting.
Final Grade: C+