Posted on 3/12/13 09:24 PM
"Oz the Great and Powerful" deals with the themes of believing and how powerful faith can be. The story handles the theme very well with clever writing and homages to the older film (keep in mind that this is a prequel to the actual story and not the 1939 classic film by MGM). Sam Raimi does a good job of directing the film. He mixes humor with the more semi-serious moments. There are moments of excitement that gets the blood going and legitimately scary moments that make you jump out your seat. However, the story mainly in the middle gets a bit confused on what it is about and what's happening. Along with that, certain things feel a bit rushed particularly when Oz arrives in Oz.
The acting and characters for the most part are decent. Oz, James Franco, is pretty much the scene stealer as one would hope from a movie titled "Oz." Franco brings a lot of charisma and charm to the character along with being relatable. He sometime goes a bit over the top, but when he puts on his big cheesy smile almost everything is forgiven. Mila Kunis is okay in the movie at best, but half way through she become not so good. Her character feels forced and any emotion she tries to convey comes off as trying too hard. There's a flying monkey and little porcelain girl that bring a lot of the heart to the film. They're incredibly likable and help show off some of the humanity in Oz.
I particularly like the visual effects. The backgrounds are well detailed and immerses the viewer into the world. There are some moments were you can tell it's CGI and the character don't blend well with the background, but they don't appear very often. The musical score by Danny Elfman is effective, but not too memorable until the third act.
Overall, "Oz the Great and Powerful" isn't great, but it is still pretty good. The special effects are great, but have some spotty moments, the score my Elfman is solid, and James Franco's performance steals the show. However, there are some minor story issues in the first two acts and the acting by the rest of the cast, especially Mila Kunis, leaves more to be desired. The final act of the film is spectacular though and sums up everything great about the film incredibly well. I give it an incredibly high 3.5/5, acting could use some work, but Franco and the third act make this a really good experience.