Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Entertainment

March 13, 2013

‘Oz’ adequate, not great

Greensburg — This week we’ll be taking a look at the fantasy film Oz the Great and Powerful (PG).

A prequel to the timeless classic, The Wizard of Oz, Oz the Great and Powerful tells the tale of a small-time magician (James Franco) who stumbles into the colorful Land of Oz and gets wrapped up in the heightened drama of three witches (Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams). Sam Raimi directs.    

Ryan: My main expectation for this movie was this: If it didn’t tarnish the legacy of The Wizard of Oz (one of the most beloved films of all time) then I wouldn’t have an issue with it. At the end of the day, I don’t have a problem with the movie. It’s clearly not on the same level as The Wizard of Oz (and I would even say that it’s not that memorable of a film either) but ultimately it is a serviceable film that doesn’t detract from the original. And I think it does have entertainment value for the whole family, which isn’t the case with many of these types of big productions.

Andy: I approached this film with a similar attitude. There is no way that Oz the Great and Powerful could ever live up to the majesty of the original. My fear is that this a cash grab by Disney, attempting to create a new franchise that will reel in money for years to come. While that may still be the case, I do not feel like this film affects the “Oz Brand” as established by the original. Part of that is because, despite some conscious choices to connect the two, the new Oz feels like something completely different. And make no mistake about it; we are talking about an inferior kind of different. Thankfully, it is not offensively different.

Ryan: On one hand the film looks great, especially the from-a-distance shots. The filmmakers used a bright palette and the film has a colorful aura about it. But it also suffers from an over-dependence on CGI.  The movie is almost too clean and there’s just not a lot of cinematic depth in various scenes; it’s clear that it’s just actors (or stand-ins) standing in front of a green screen. That type of film-making might not bother most moviegoers but I found it distracting in this case.

Andy: One aesthetic aspect of the film that fell a little flat is an attempt by the filmmakers to create a grand, classic-movie feel. Many of the scenes feature understated performances and sweeping visuals that feel like a conscious effort to give the film a classic feel. For the most part, this results in performances that are too subtle (especially at the beginning), and a narrative that relies too much on visuals and swells in music. It is the same faux-classic grandstanding that got the Star Wars reboot in trouble 14 years ago. While the results here are more positive than The Phantom Menace, it is noteworthy that attempting to truncate a classic franchise poses problems that are not easily overcome.   

Ryan: Raimi assembled quite a talented cast, and that enhances the film in a positive manner. Obviously this isn’t their best work, but for the most part the cast delivers durable performances.

James Franco has that quirky charm that really works in a fantasy movie, and he does an admirable job defining this younger version of the wizard.

Williams and Weisz play the standard protagonist and antagonist parts functionally, and Kunis, certainly challenged by playing the more iconic part, conveys a real since of villainy that’s demanded by the role. Oz the Great and Powerful is certainly not anywhere near the level of the original Wizard of Oz, but it does serve as an adequately entertaining addition to the Oz mythos.

Final grade: B-.

 

1
Text Only
Entertainment
  • "Heaven Is For Real" movie poster Movie preview: “Heaven Is For Real”

    Plot: When a little boy has a near death experience neither his friends or family believe him until he talks about those who died years before.
     

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • SDES “Pinocchio” is great family fun

    WESTPORT – Fifth and sixth grade students at South Decatur Elementary School (SDES) will stage a production of Disney’s “My Son Pinocchio Jr.” at 7 p.m. on April 24 and 25 at the school.

    After the roles were cast, students began practicing under the tutelage of SDES music teacher Karen Meeker in September.

    April 16, 2014

  • "Rio 2" movie poster Movie preview: “Rio 2”

    Plot: In this animated sequel, Blu and his family take flight for the Amazon after Jewel decides their children should explore the world.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • "Draft Day" movie poster Movie preview: “Draft Day”

    Plot: On the day of the NFL draft, a general manager has the opportunity to rebuild his team when he trades for the number one pick.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • "Oculus" movie poster Movie preview: “Oculus”

    Plot: Two siblings haunted by a childhood tragedy learn that the source of their horror is a mysterious mirror with a dark history.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Escape from the arctic How often do you hear of a far southern resident migrating to one of the northern states for the winter? I think the only way that could happen would be if the entire state of Florida broke off and floated northward to the coast of Maine. That possi

    April 10, 2014

  • New arrivals at Library New items at the Greensburg-Decatur County Library can be found and reserved at http://www.greensburglibrary.org/books. Non-Fiction You Can Begin Again by Joyce Meyer Fiction A Wanted Woman by Eric Jerome Dickey Night Diver by Elizabeth Lowell Evenin

    April 10, 2014

  • 'Wolf of Wall Street' too long, too debased, too disjointed, too... FROM THE DEN AT HOME -- Debauchery. It's a word that appears a handful of times in director Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street," a film that's been described by some critics as a cautionary tale regarding the excesses of Wall Street. "Debauch

    April 10, 2014

  • Strong performances bolster 'Captain America' sequel With Andy in The Big Apple, I'll be taking a solo look at Marvel's latest offering, Captain America: The Winter Soldier (PG-13). After an attempt on Nick Fury's (Samuel L. Jackson) life, a series of events unravel that involve a massive conspiracy w

    April 10, 2014

  • 'Peabody & Sherman' a true 'blast' [from the past] FROM A TEXAS MULTIPLEX -- For viewers who remember "Peabody's Improbable History" from the old "Rocky and Bullwinkle" cartoons, there's probably a heavy nostalgia/novelty factor surrounding "Mr. Peabody & Sherman." And as someone who does indeed reme

    April 3, 2014

Featured Ads
SmugMug Photo Galleries


Share your photos with us!

AP Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.