'Oz The Great and Powerful' is less than magical (+video)
'Oz The Great and Powerful'' features an affable James Franco and radiant Michelle Williams, but its Wizard-origin story drags.
“Oz The Great and Powerful” is the latest in a seemingly endless stream of Hollywood fairy-tale redos. It’s a bit better than “Jack the Giant Slayer,” but not by much. Directed by Sam Raimi, it’s a prequel to “The Wizard of Oz” that attempts to answer the question, “How did the wizard become the wizard?”Skip to next paragraph
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In this version, our wizard started out as Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time Kansas carnival magician who is whisked via hot air balloom into the Land of Oz, where, as imagined by Raimi and screenwriters Mitchell Kapner and David Lindsay-Abaire, he encounters not one but three witches: Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz), and Glinda (Michelle Williams). Glinda, of course, is good – or, to be precise, Good.
Franco is affable and helps tone down the film’s overly bright and overscaled production values. (The 3-D is passable). Williams is radiant without being sappy. It’s nice to see Munchkins again, not to mention Quadlings. But long stretches of “Oz” are lumbering and inspiration-free. (Also Dorothy-free.) I’m no fan of “Wicked,” the musical “Oz” prequel, but at least it had some big-time energy going for it. Raimi’s film is supposed to be about magic, but magic is in scant supply. Grade: C+ (Rated PG for sequences of action and scary images, and brief mild language.)
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