Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)

oz 1I have a lot of mixed emotions about this film. I guess it’s mostly because suddenly everyone is writing about it (some links below, too) and I think I’ve taken their opinions too seriously. I’ll try to speak from the heart still, though.

First off, a confession: I have never seen the 1939 film1 and my avoidance of anything spoiler-y (with this, I haven’t even seen the trailer) along with the fact I last read the book about eight years ago created this situation where I had no idea it was a prequel and thus, didn’t know to appreciate it – because now I think it was handled in a genius way – when watching the film.2 I think the 4:3 monochrome intro was excellent, though. It added the ambience of 1905-ness and created a mood.3

The cinematography and CGI were the strongest parts of the film, overall: thequote camera work, for example was incredibly enjoyable and impressive. I was incredulous about the land of Oz at first but then I realised it’s meant to be like this: it’s not our world. And ten points for not even trying to make it like the real world. It felt ethereal but in a good way – eventually. Plus China Girl, who stole the show with her witty lines and her general charming existence. And wow for the intro. They actually used 3D well here!

Which made it sad to see Franco giving such a mediocre performance. It felt forced, far-fetched – even without knowing he was the third choice4 I could feel it. He saved some of it later with the latter part of the film, the part I absolutely loved – the part where he was talking from the smoke. That was incredible. I liked his mentions of Edison a lot and using magicians’ science as well, all which contributed to making him more likable.

Theodora’s transformation and character development were a disappointment here, too. Mila Kunis played her part outstandingly but there’s not too much you can do when your character is merely brushed over. She had potential at first but her change was essentially too much too early. The beginning part with her was cool, though. Oz definitely had his way with the ladies.

The promised other people who wrote about it (naturally awesomely): Cinematic Corner, French Toast Sunday and Dan the Man. Go read. I dare you.

1 I will have been by the end of this week, though, because spring break started and I’m excited to see this.
2 I appreciate it a lot now, though.
3 don’t know how to explain this any better. It was just right.
4 the first and second being Robert Downey Jr and Johnny Depp.

15 responses to “Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)

  1. Nice review. It’s really interesting that you never saw the original because that makes your opinion quite unique. Having seen the movie so often I definitely had preconceived notions going in. You’re right though, the movie was gorgeous! That’s one place where my love of the original made a difference because I didn’t have the charming sets already in my conscious as I watched the CGI-ed version of Oz. I love your site by the way. I need to comment more often!

  2. Good review. It’s all fun and games in the end, but once again, nothing special. Thanks for the linkage and mention! Much appreciated!

  3. Have not seen it yet but I’m guessing it will not be the case next week. Then again, I’m hesitant of seeing it 3D – don’t like that….at all.

    • 3D was good in this, actually. I generally don’t like 3D, too, it makes my head ache and the screen becomes too dark and the glasses are uncomfortable – and it’s usually for nothing. The film wouldn’t be any worse without it but 3D’s more pleasant than annoying in this. But see it anyway! Would love to hear your take on it.

      • Well, I have to wear regular glasses in the cinema so I would have to put glasses on top of glasses and that is beyond uncomfortable for me! So I’m not sure how excited I am to see it. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. Who knows. But I would definitely review it… if I see it some time this year.

        • I wear glasses too so I know the terrible (and for me, suffocating) feeling! So I completely understand if you’re skipping the 3D version. Just see it some time. 😉

  4. It’s refreshing to read someone didn’t hate Mila’s performance – I really liked it and I think the criticisms are too harsh, she did well with what she was given to do. Lovely review and thank you so much for the link!

    • Yep, I think the biggest issue was that she was given next to nothing to work with here rather than her lack of skill.

      And absolutely no problem, Cinematic Corner is downright amazing.

  5. Obviously, I’m late to the party, commenting on a March release in late October, but . . .

    I still agree. Great review!

  6. I think you are the only one on this entire earth who has not seen the 1939 version, you must review it after you have seen it. I am curious to see a perspective coming from someone who did not grow up on it. The reason people love it so much is because its childhood. Pure and simple. And when you make a re-make or re-vamp of any kind you are fucking with someones childhood.

    • Oh, I saw it only days after seeing the 2013 one. 😉 It wasn’t all that effective for me, probably cause I’m not a child seeing it for the first time, but it was still very lovely.

      I love your last point! That’s very true.

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