Oz the Great and Powerful is beautiful, yet a bit lack luster at the same time! How is such a thing possible? Well, for one James Franco isn't entirely likable. We can attribute that to the role. Oscar, or Oz, is supposed to be greedy, arrogant, and selfish, and I suppose James Franco portrayed those qualities quite accurately.
Poor Mila Kunis has accepted a role that isn't exactly...flattering. She is after all the Wicked Witch, green skin, long nose, and all. It isn't fair, Glinda(Michele Williams) and Ivanora(Rachel Weisz) get to sport lovely gowns and Theodora (Kunis) must wear an odd equestrian inspired outfit. Moving on.
(DANGER! Spoilers Ahead)
Young Oscar is a circus magician who cheats people on a daily basis with his tricks. His only moment of purity is when he genuinely looks sad that he cannot make a young girl walk when she says that she believes in him and asks for his help. Nonetheless, he's back to his old ways when he is rude to his only friend and helper, Frank (Zach Braff) who also doubles as the little monkey, Finley.
Apparently, he has angered a few fellow circus performers and must run. He hops into a hot air balloon, gets swept up in a tornado and nearly impaled by flying shards of wood. He prays for a second chance and voila! We leave the black and white world of Kansas behind and enter the technicolor land of...Oz!
The next few minutes flies by at hyper speed. Oz lands, meets Theodora, they kiss, and she is suddenly madly in love with him. It's obvious to the audience, that he doesn't feel the same. Theodora leads him to the Emerald City, and they pick up a little talking monkey along the way, Finley. I did find it strange that Zach Braff sounded a lot like Nathan Lane as he voiced the monkey!
Ivanora is waiting for them and she does not think Oz is the wizard of prophecy, whom is supposed to get rid of the Wicked Witch and reclaim the throne. They send Oz to break the wand of that evil witch and along the way, Oz and Finley rescue an adorable girl made of China. She is charming, funny, and one of the best things about this movie.
We learn that Ivanora is actually the wicked one and has framed poor, beautiful Glinda, the Good Witch.
Once Oz learns the truth, he aides with the Tinkers, the Farmers, and the Munchkins and they prepare for war! Too bad Ivanora has tricked Theodora into thinking Oz has betrayed her. She gives her a green apple and the lovely Theodora sheds her beautiful visage and becomes the grotesque, cackling, hag she was destined to be.
Oz faces some tough decisions when he realizes those poor people are depending on him. He isn't sure he wants to help others yet. Sure he wants all of the gold the throne entails but he also wants to run away back to Kansas. Nonetheless, he finds some goodness within himself thanks to the little China girl. He prepares the people, creates some clever inventions and leads them to the Emerald City. Can you guess the outcome? Well, I am sure you can, but I am going to encourage you to see for yourself, if for nothing but the beauty of the cinematography, and the lovely creations.
There are a few things that I really enjoyed about the film, and they were all references to THE WIZARD OF OZ. the cowardly lion and the scarecrow were cleverly foreshadowed. This film is entertaining. It just wasn't as remarkable as I anticipated. Johnny Depp and Robert Downey Jr. were both wanted for the role of Oz, and I couldn't help imagining how wonderful it would have been if either of them had accepted.