Hello everyone, happy Friday!
We went into it hearing that James Franco, the lead, was a horrible miscast, but a few of my girlfriend’s friends had seen it and loved it, thought it was really just great. So, we tried our luck, and, afterwards, I turned to my girlfriend and said, “Whichever of your friends told us to go see this is a bloody idiot.”
What went wrong with Oz, the Great and Powerful? First off, the casting was uniquely horrible. James Franco, instead of coming off as a cheap con artist, the crafty and crooked magician looking out only for himself, comes of as a really, really slimy con artist. I never really connected with Franco’s Oz, and as a result, I spent most of the movie rooting for Mila Koontz- who was also really, really badly miscast.
In fact, I’m pretty sure that the only good cast was Zach Braff as Finley, the CGI flying monkey, which brings up another point- after we get past the bad casting, we run into all kinds of problems with the characters. Prequels, by definition, is the story of how the characters and settings came to be for the actual movie; in this case, the prequel is to show how a small-time Kansas magician became one of the most powerful figures in the land of Oz in time for Dorothy and Toto to land their house on the witch of the east. What prequels aren’t, or rather, what they shouldn’t be, is some bizarro world retelling of the original story, which was clearly the goal of Oz the Great and Powerful. Thus, we have James Franco donning his metaphorical blue dress and handbasket to skip merrily down the yellow brick road, where he picks up a bunch of friends who all desperately need something the wizard can give (Finley needs a friend, China Girl needs a family, and Nook needs a smile), whereupon they kick witch butt, end up in the Emerald City, and presents for everyone, exactly what they wanted! It’s a pathetic copy of the original movie, with a slight twist.
I suppose I’ll give a couple of tips of my hat for a couple of things well done- even if the acting was terrible, they did at least set up a reasonable backstory for the witches, the Wizard’s magic face machine, etc. I am a particular fan of how they gave the Cowardly Lion a phenominal cameo when they first met Finley- actually, I didn’t like the cameo itself, now that I think about it, but I liked that moment when I realized it was a cameo! That counts for something, right?
What I didn’t like to see, what I thought was poorly done, was all the little elements that had little/no explanation. Allow me to rattle off some of the missing elements- where are the ruby slippers? Who is the Tin Man? How does the Scarecrow become alive? Was the Scarecrow made for the battle in the poppy fields? How did the Witch of the East take over Munchkin land without any of her magic powers? Why was the Glenda/Wizard romance created when it doesn’t exist in the original? Where did China Girl and Finley run off to for the original movie? For that matter, if all the flying baboons fell into eternal sleep in the poppy fields, where does the Witch of the West get all her goddamned flying monkeys? When does the lion learn to talk over being an actual freaking lion? Where did the Tinkers go? Why does the field of poppies already exist if they are conjured by the Witch in the original movie? When Mila Kunis cries, and the tears burn her skin, why do the scars go away after she eats the apple? Where did China Town disappear off to? AUGH I gives up!
Oz the “Great” and “Powerful” gets a 😦 / 10.
Enough ranting for now-