Posted on 3/08/13 03:22 AM
Sam Raimi, James Franco, the lore of Oz, and modern technology all come together to create something for the most part, truly special. I was completely unaware there was even an interest in an Oz tale that wasn't the iconic 1939 masterpiece but well... sometimes you get something awesome that you didn't even know you desired.
Origin stories are all the rave nowadays so I guess Hollywood pointed at Oz and got the talented Sam Raimi to direct. The movie details how Oz... got to Oz... and eventually became King. It also packs a powerful punch of nostalgia showing off origin tales of the 3 witches. Amidst that is even more nostalgia but admittedly a self contained story that goes through the necessary plot points while delivering as much visually stunning content possible. Unlike a certain movie that came out last week ( Jack the Giant Slayer) Oz is absolutely gorgeous. Every creature, every vibrant color in every piece of environment , and the creative effects themselves never cease to amaze. Whether you're watching Oz go down in his Hot Air Balloon emphatically and stylistically , witch powers colliding ,color pallets in general clashing, a talking flying monkey. or just admiring the environments in general it's just extremely hard not to be impressed.
James Franco plays Oz terrifically as well with a perfect balance of cheese and genuine charismatic line delivery. An entertaining plethora of side characters are always welcome too whether it's Tony Cox ( Bad Santa), Bruce Campbell , a flying monkey , a talking adorable porcelain doll. All the characters have wonderful chemistry together that make for some genuinely charming and witty comedic dialogue delivered only like Sam Raimi directs.
Unfortunately, only two of the three witches were casted right. I like Mila Kunis but she is blatantly outacted here by Michelle Williams and Rachel Weisz. Her wicked witch CGI for whatever reason is poor and distracting compared to the carefully crafted elegance of everything else too. Combine that with a bit of a disappointing finale in the climactic good versus evil battle and the film does go down a notch.
Overall , Oz: The Great and Powerful packs a perfect balance of nostalgia and treads just enough new ground to serve as a wonderful companion piece to the 1939 masterpiece. It's also one of the most visually striking films ever made since Avatar. 3D and Imax are definitely worth the inflation in price for this one.