Oz: The Great and Powerful

Oz: The Great and Powerful Review
By: Jimmy Osburn

Sam Raimi’s “Oz: The Great and Powerful” dazzles in visuals but lacks the dash of magic that Disney was hoping for when they purchased the story rights from MGM.
The story begins with Oscar “Oz” Diggs, played by James Franco, a magician traveling with a tiny circus along with his assistant Frank played by Zach Braff. Diggs is more of a con man than a man of magic but when a cyclone whisks his hot air balloon away to the land of Oz, he must find a way to fulfill a prophecy that says a great wizard will come and save the land from the wicked witch.
“Oz: The Great and Powerful” has all of the ingredients needed for a fun time at the movies. With a beloved classic story, big name director, hot young talent, and endless technology to bring it all to life, you would think “Oz” would be a slam-dunk for Raimi and Disney. Unfortunately it doesn’t come together quite in the way it does on paper.
The story begins with Oscar “Oz” Diggs, played by James Franco, a magician traveling with a tiny circus along with his assistant Frank played by Zach Braff. Diggs is more of a con man than a man of magic. But when a cyclone whisks his hot air balloon away to Oz, he must find a way to fulfill the prophecy that a great wizard will come and save the land from the wicked witch.
The prequel to the 1939 MGM classic “The Wizard of Oz,” does manage to get several things right in order to keep the audience entertained. With several nods to the original film including an opening sequence shot in 4:3 aspect ratio, fans of the classic tale will smile at the references made to the original “Oz.”
The visuals are everything you would expect in a modern day “Oz” film. Filled with vibrant colors, CGI creatures that include an updated version of the flying monkey that may be nightmare inducing, the overall feel of what the world of Oz is comes through in a way that no other adaptation has been able to achieve.
You may not get bored with “Oz: The Great and Powerful,” but you may leave the theater feeling let down if you are a fan of the franchise and has eagerly awaited its return to the silver screen.
There are some standout performances from some of the cast, most notably Zach Braff as the wisecracking flying monkey sidekick, Finley, who delivers the comic-goods of the film. As well as Rachel Weisz as Evanora, one o the witches of Oz.
“Oz: The Great and Powerful” is not a bad time at the movies, by any means. It’s also not a thrilling one, either. It’s a fun, cute movie for the family to enjoy together. But when it’s over, you probably won’t want to take another trip down the yellow brick road to see it again.

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