Okay, first of all, cool, I've gotten over 9,000 page views as of this post. (*insert really old "It's Over 9000!" meme here*) Good, got that out of my system...
So, I just went to the movies today and decided I'd do a review. And try and actually do a post without bringing up Sher... Nope! I can go a whole post without talking about it! I am capable! So, here's my review of Oz: The Great and Powerful!
|"We're off to see The... Oh, wait, that's me..."|
And, okay, I know it's been out about two weeks, and I'll try not to give too much away, but I'm just gonna be safe and say:
|I didn't even intend the rhyming, happy accident!|
Alright, so the movie serves a prequel to The Wizard of Oz movie. Here, telling the story of Oscar "Oz" Diggs (James Franco) , a travelling circus's magician who'd become The Wizard. Oscar, after what can only be described as a bad day consisting of: getting booed off the stage by his angry audience for not being able to heal a sick girl's legs (kinda asking a lot from a stage magician, guys...), having his girlfriend Annie reveal to him she's gotten a proposal from another man, ticking off the circus strongman by flirting with his wife... oh, and the whole, "blown away in a hot air balloon by a tornado, with various flying objects trying to kill him" thing. Yeah, that's a bummer.
Anyway, he arrives in the magical land of Oz, where he meets the witch Theodora (Mila Kunis), who becomes quite smitten with Oscar. She tells him that he's the wizard prophesied to defeat The Wicked Witch and rule all of Oz. Theodora's sister, another witch named Evanora (Rachel Wiesz), doubts he's a real wizard, and sends him off to kill the third witch (played by Michelle Williams). But all is not as it seems. Along the way, he's accompanied by a flying monkey named Finley (Zach Braff) and a living china doll girl we're never given a name for (Joey King). Transformation, revelation, and prestidigitation ensue.
The movie is beautiful visually. Oz (the country) was beautiful. Very visually pleasing. And the effects were pretty good and solid, too. I also liked the opening part of the movie, which is in black and white (like the original, which was in a sepia), and also in a smaller frame, as opposed to the colorful, fullscreen Oz. I thought it was a nice touch. They really had a lot of nice things to look at. And I dug the opening credits, too. They were really cool. Also, the flying monkeys (minus Finley, who was adorable-looking) are creepier, here. NOW A WHOLE NEW GENERATIONS CAN EXPERIENCE FLYING MONKEY-INDUCED NIGHTMARES! >:D
The music was good, too. Danny Elfman, along with Hans Zimmer, is one of my favorite movie music composers. So, as always, he did a good job with the music.
The characters I felt were pretty decent. I think they actually made Theodora, AKA The Wicked Witch of the West (hey, I put the River Song Gif up, people! You were warned!) fairly sympathetic. (Yes, I mean, besides that whole Broadway musical, Wicked, that came out years before. I haven't seen it, but I (unfortunately) read the book by Gregory Maguire that it was loosely based on. Oh, I'll never remove the mental scarring! DX) And I think, once she becomes the Wicked Witch we know, love, and were terrified by as little kids, Mila Kunis had a LOT of fun, hamming it up.
I feel the need to talk about Oscar/Oz, played by James Franco. The character is kind of a cad. He's a liar, he's greedy, and a womanizer. But he does have some redeeming qualities so he's not entirely bad. And, in the end, he does become sort of a better person, obviously. Anyway, way before this movie was made, I heard Robert Downey Jr. was being considered for the part. And, yeah, I can see it; it shows. At least to me, anyway. I'm not saying Franco does bad, he does a good job as The Wizard. But I couldn't help but think: "Yeah, RDJ could've totally played this role." "It's his type of character." "This movie would've been 20% cooler with him, everything's better with RDJ..." But, again, Franco does a decent RDJ-impression, so to speak... ;)
Also, this movie is chock-full of clever nods to the original movie and the book (technically I haven't read the book-book, but I read the Marvel comic adaptation of the book). For example, Annie is engaged to a man with the last name Gale (as in, "Dorothy Gale"). Theodora's tears burn her skin. The "protection kiss" from the book. The fact the circus was named "Baum's Family Circus", after L. Frank Baum, the author (and as an added bonus, Oscar's assistant in Kansas was named "Frank"). And there's the fact that some of the actors play different characters in both the Kansas part and the Oz part.
- I really liked the China Girl (though, seriously, they couldn't give her a name?) character.
- The final battle was really cool. I also loved the "The pure-hearted can get through the wall"/ "I'M GONNA DIE!" exchange.
- I am never becoming a stage magician in Kansas. They will accept no less than you raising the dead...
Overall, it was a pretty good movie. I enjoyed it. It's not quite on my list of "the greatest movies I've ever seen" (that would be The Avengers and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (darn it, so close to going a whole post with no Sherlock mentions...)), but it was really good. Like I said, at the very least, it's clever and has nice visuals. And it works very well as a prequel to the earlier movie. I'd recommend it, and wouldn't be opposed to watching it again...