HollywoodChicago.com RSS   Facebook   HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter   Free Giveaway E-mail   

Film Review: Story Dims Visionary ‘Oz the Great and Powerful’

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionE-mail page to friendE-mail page to friendPDF versionPDF version
No votes yet

CHICAGO – “Oz the Great and Powerful” is a great and powerful visual and 3D experience. It expands the landscape of what cinema can produce in a visceral and evolutionary way. But a great film also needs a great story, and this Land of Oz tale is not equivalent to the awe-inspiring imagery.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

There is no Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man or Cowardly Lion in this Oz movie, it is inspired by a deeper exploration of the series of books by original author L. Frank Baum, but it’s also a wholly new storyline. It is essentially the origin of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, taking place before Dorothy touched down, and begins with a clever tribute to the 1939 classic. Where it gets a bit sticky is in the interaction of the Wizard –portrayed by a distracted and miscast James Franco – with a talking monkey, the witches and other weird occupants of Oz. The story diminishes the excitement of the magnificent landscape, by unfolding too slowly and unsubstantially. By the time the more enthralling last act comes around, there has been too much journeying, and not enough destination, on the yellow brick road.

Oscar “Oz” Diggs (James Franco) is a small scale magician on the state fair circuit in 1905 Kansas. He is somewhat of a con artist and ladies man, generating indifference from both his audience and fellow performers. After trying to entice one too many lovelies, he is pursued by a circus strong man and forced to flee in a hot air balloon. A familiar Kansas tornado comes along, and sweeps the magic man to the Land of Oz.

He is greeted by Theodora (Mila Kunis), a seductive force who turns out later to be a well-known directional witch. Oz himself is thought to be a wizard, part of a prophecy designed to make him king of the realm. This involves Theodora’s sister, Evanora (Rachel Weisz), who has her own designs for the Emerald City and the Oz kingdom. To counteract all this intrigue, it will take the Wizard, his flying monkey companion Finley (voice of Zach Braff), an odd China Doll (Joey King), a good witch named Glinda (Michelle Williams) and the citizens of Oz – including the Munchkins – to save the day.

“Oz the Great and Powerful” opens everywhere on March 8th. See local listings for 3D theaters and showtimes. Featuring James Franco, Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis, Zach Braff and Rachel Weisz. Screenplay by Michael Kapner and David Lindsay-Abaire. Directed by Sam Raimi. Rated “PG

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Oz the Great and Powerful”

Mila Kunis, James Franco
Off to See: Mila Kunis as Theodora and James Franco as ‘Oz the Great and Powerful’
Photo credit: Walt Disney Pictures

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Oz the Great and Powerful”

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent spam submissions.
nine * = 54
Solve this math question and enter the solution with digits. E.g. for "two plus four = ?" enter "6".

User Login

Free Giveaway Mailing


  • Not One Batu

    CHICAGO – The State of Hawaii may be one of the most misunderstood in America. Because of its reputation as a tourist mecca, the fact that native peoples live and work there like any other place is hard to imagine. Also unimaginable is the drug use of island residents, but playwright and Hawaiian native Hannah li-Epstein wrote about it in her stage play “Not One Batu,” now in its Premiere Chicago run at the Berger Park Coach House through July 28th, 2018. For more information, including tickets, click here.

  • Cher Show, The

    CHICAGO – Has anybody in show business had more “comebacks” than Cher… or if you added her many last names Cher Sarkisian La Piere Bono Allman? All of the triumphs and downturns are shoehorned into “The Cher Show,” now in Chicago in a pre-Broadway run through July 15, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.


HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter


HollywoodChicago.com Top Ten Discussions