Mar. 13, 2013 - Issue #908: In Your Face
Oz The Great and Powerful
But while the film is visually stunning and the characters show quite a bit of pluck, there isn't a lot of tension when it comes to the battle to save the Emerald City from the clutches of the wicked witch or the "weak, selfish, slightly egotistical" antihero we have to rely on to do the saving. The wicked witch doesn't actually come off as all that wicked, as the film never really goes into any kind of wicked resumé, nor provides wicked references and, in truth, she seems to be running the Emerald City well enough despite killing its king. I guess it depends exactly how terrifying you find flying baboons.
When Oscar Diggs (James Franco), or Oz for short, arrives in his impressively sturdy hot air balloon, the audience is meant to doubt this carnival magician's ability to take on true magic and, more importantly, whether or not he will even try. But it never seems like Oz is fully committed to being a self-serving asshole. Sure, he's a little bit of a ladies' man and kind of jerk, but in a land where you can travel by bubble, you just know he'll shed the anti eventually and end up its hero. He simply shows too much empathy throughout the film to give you the sense he might actually leave the good witch to her own devices.
Oz The Great and Powerful is cute and imaginative, and it certainly won't be giving anyone nightmares. But even children's movies deserve a little more risk and insecurity than this one has to offer. Instead, in Oz we are presented with pleasant, placid and, in essence, just kind of "meh" two hours of movie magic.
Opens Now playing
Directed by: Sam Raimi
Vue respects your privacy. We will not forward your personal information to any other organization except as required by law, and will use your e-mail address only to respond to your comments. We reserve the right to edit and remove comments for length, clarity and/or if they are illegal or inappropriate. Your email address is never shown to visitors to vueweekly.com. Read the whole policy at: http://vueweekly.com/privacy