Oz the Great & Powerful | Film Reviews | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
DONATE

Oz the Great & Powerful 

Pay no attention to fan-fiction-itis

Pin It
Favorite
click to enlarge Oz the Great & Powerful
  • Oz the Great & Powerful

So, it turns out in Oz the Great & Powerful that the man behind the curtain is even smaller and less mighty than Dorothy had discovered in the Emerald City. It turns out that the tale of how the man became the man behind the curtain is a static, perfunctory one, a same-old “you’re better than you think  you are” cliché. Perhaps it will amuse or surprise very small children, unless they, too, have seen the 1939 The Wizard of Oz, which this movie oddly attempts to imitate, rather than complement.

Kansas circus magician Oscar Diggs (James Franco) gets swept through a tornado wormhole into the land of Oz, where he acquires around him a collection of oddball sidekicks and has to defeat an evil witch. The script suffers from a bad case of fan-fiction-itis, or the itch to tell the audience things we never realized until right now that we never really needed to know.

If only Oscar were more complicated or conflicted. Even the usually intriguing Franco flounders trying to inject some life into the flimsiest stereotype of a con man. The film only truly comes alive in a pair of moments that echo each other, in which Oscar is forced to face the ineffectiveness of his own flim-flamery. Then it’s back to his by-the-numbers “transformation” into a man who’s infinitesimally better than he was before.

It’s a measure of how relentlessly flat the film is emotionally that Franco’s performance is probably exactly what director Sam Raimi was looking for. It’s hard to see that this was intended as a story so much as an advertisement for the inevitable Oz the Great & Powerful ride at Disney World. There’ll be a hot-air-balloon ride down a waterfall, fireworks and a steampunk picture show. You’ll enter down the yellow-brick road, of course, and you will be greeted by a flying monkey. At least that ride looks like it’ll be fun.

OZ THE GREAT & POWERFUL

2_stars.gif

James Franco, Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz
Rated PG

Pin It
Favorite

Speaking of ,

  • Walk of Shame, The Lego Movie

    New DVD/VOD Tuesday, June 17
    • Jun 16, 2014
  • Drinking-Class Zero

    Following a night of drinking, Wendy Simpson, 25, walked to a McDonald’s restaurant in West Yorkshire, England, where she was told that the counter was closed and only the drive-through was open but that she couldn’t be served
    • Jun 16, 2014
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2

    Dragon 2 shows DreamWorks is still willing to be daring
    • Jun 13, 2014
  • More »

More by MaryAnn Johanson

  • Lockdown Love

    Together finds urgent emotion in a COVID-era relationship on the rocks.
    • Aug 25, 2021
  • More »

Latest in Film Reviews

  • Carrying a 'Toon

    The Eyes of Tammy Faye struggles to humanize its complex central character.
    • Sep 15, 2021
  • Stranger Than Fiction

    Can documentaries like The Last Leonardo work simply as popcorn entertainment?
    • Sep 8, 2021
  • It's Not the Economy, Stupid

    Worth finds restrained drama in the recognition that individual lives have value.
    • Sep 1, 2021
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Simple Creatures

    The monster movie Sputnik can't deliver the subtext it promises
    • Aug 12, 2020

© 2021 Salt Lake City Weekly

Website powered by Foundation