24 Mar 2013

Oz the great and Powerful

I have and will continue to complain about the studios production choices. Remakes and sequels purely to cash in on previous box office successes, or the perception of a solid financial return.  Of course it has always been that way, and it always will. But I an still going to complain.

However a prequel is interesting, and a strangely under utilised option for a studio.  But is this any better.

Lets find out?


Oz (James Franco) is a magician in a travelling carnival in Kansas. He has dreams of grandeur, a talent for deception, and a love of the ladies. When he 'loves' one lady too many, Oz has to make a quick get away in a hot air balloon. Things go decidedly worse for Oz when his hot air balloon gets swept up in a tornado. Praying for his life Oz begs for a second chance, and is granted one when his balloon lands in a strange new land. There he meets the beautiful Theodora (Mila Kunis)who tells him of a prophecy, a prophecy of a wizard who will come and and save the land and will be king. Theodora believes that Oz is the wizard, as he shares the name of this strange new land. As King he will rule over the land of Oz and revel in its vast riches. Finally he has found the grandeur he has been seeking. All he has to do now is kill the wicked witch.

Let the flying monkey hijinx ensue.

The thing that struck me at once was that not only is Oz the great and powerful  a prequel to  The Wizard of Oz, but it is also a homage. The first part of the film set in Kansas is in black and white, and when the story moves to Oz it is in vivid colour. As in The Wizard of Oz, people from Oz's life in Kansas are represented in Oz.

Sam Raimi of the former Spiderman trilogy directs, and the movies stars James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weis, Michelle Williams, and Zach Braff. The cast are an esemble of good actors and there are no disappointments. Mila Kunis seems a bit weak, but this could be playing opposite Weis and Franco, or maybe it is a reflection of her range. But she certainly wasn't bad.

I saw the film in 3d, and it really wasn't the better for it. If you have the option just see it in 2D and save your money.

As a prequel, and a story and of course as a film it was a success. Hopefully more and more films like this be made, and less  Clash of the Titans, but I doubt it.

The story was good, the acting was good and we enjoyed it as a family.

6.5 flying Monkeys from me

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