‘Oz’ prequel sets bar under the rainbow
Published: Thursday, March 21, 2013
Updated: Thursday, March 21, 2013 02:03
On Tuesday night, I headed to the local movie theater to see the newest Disney movie, “Oz the Great and Powerful.” With an all-star cast featuring the talents of James Franco, Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz, I was sure this movie would transport me from my theater seat into the magical and wonderful world of Oz. Unfortunately, this prequel to the classic film “The Wizard of Oz” left me standing somewhere under the rainbow.
The new take on the classic story centers on Franco, who plays a sideshow magician dreaming of fame and fortune. This small-town performer is magically transported to the land of Oz after being swept away in his hot air balloon when a Kansas tornado hits unexpectedly. Upon his arrival he encounters enchanted characters, from beautiful witches to talking porcelain dolls and a loyal flying monkey. His appearance in the city is met with great celebration because many of the citizens believe he is the wizard sent to fulfill a prophecy and deliver the people from the tyranny of the wicked witch. After a series of twists and turns, Franco uses his skills in sleight-of-hand and invention to help the people of Oz while becoming not only a great wizard, but also a great man along the way.
The concept of the story is one that, if executed well, could have been a new great installment in this magical story. With the success behind the Broadway musical “Wicked” and the love for the classic movie, the people behind this film had to have not only a great concept but a great execution. Unfortunately, this is where they were lacking. The story quickly got lost and jumbled as random details were addressed and others were overlooked. There were some aspects in the story that sort of explained the events in “The Wizard of Oz,” but many things left a sense of confusion rather than answered questions.
I will say that the comedic aspects of the movie were on point throughout. The flying monkey, voiced by Zach Braff, added a fun aspect to the movie, and the munchkin spy, Knuck, played by Tony Cox, earned laughs from the entire audience. Franco did a great job portraying the self-centered, slightly obnoxious wizard. Michelle Williams charmed the audience with her interpretation of Glinda the Good Witch. I’d have to say that Mila Kuniz in the role of Theodora left the most to be desired, with a seemingly forced and uninteresting performance.
Overall, the movie is worth a watch for anyone who is a fan of the original movie or the Broadway spin-off. Just don’t get your hopes up.