The Great(ly disappointing) and Powerful(ly god-awful).
***Semi-Spoiler Alert*** While I will not be discussing plot points in detail, I will be shitting all over the characters and story. Consider yourself warned.
It was not a good movie.
The major flaws are (a) you never really get emotionally invested in the characters enough to care about them, and (b) the pacing of the movie downright stinks. Oh, and (c) the movie is visually overwrought to the point of being vomit-inducing.
And (d), Oz is fundamentally an unlikeable guy.
The only sort of fun character is China Doll– but just barely. All the others seem like poorly-acted caricatures that are uncomfortably spoofing the original characters.
It all just comes across as so very phony.
And the acting– Allah jihad– the ACTING! So. Very. Bad. (This does not include Rachel Weiss, she’s good). But Franco feels awkward and disingenuous most of the time. And Mila is just— well, at least she’s pretty.
And the word I’d use to describe Michele Williams is “simpering”.
And don’t get me started on the hokey, fakey-fake acting by the token Black characters. Bloody awful.
It’s as if the director said, “We need more ‘ethnicity’ in this production. Bring in the minstrels!”
As for the movie pacing? It was dreadful. The beginning was decent– then there’s this 2 hour time suck where your ass gets tired of sitting– then there’s the battle sequence.
And the movie is suddenly over.
During the two-hour suck fest, one would hope that at least there would be character development or something. There was a little, but it mostly felt like it was just something we had to wade through to get to the good vs evil part.
Oh– and it was two hours to showcase visual effects and highlight the bizarre realm of Oz.
Remember how in the original Willy Wonka, it was all bright and fantastic, yet terribly cheesy? But you somehow forgave the cheesiness because all of it was a real, physical set? And then the second Willy Wonka came out and used green screen and CGI, and everything looked ridiculously fake and disturbing and painfully unrealistic? And you instantly hated the movie for shitting on a classic in such an unforgivable manner?
Yeah, Oz is like that. Times 10.
The hypercolored “reality” of this Oz, with all it’s “fantastic” flowers and scenery was just so goddamn FAKE! Not even dream fake– just annoying fake. And overwrought.
Can you say “trying too fucking hard”?
Half the time, the actors don’t even know where to look or what exactly their miming an interaction with on the green screen.
The worst flaw, though was making Oz a bad guy. I mean, sure he’s a carnival magician and illusionist– not a real wizard at all. But remember in the original Oz when Glinda describes him as being “very good, but very mysterious”?
Yeah– this movie forgot the “good” part.
They basically made him a womanizing, money-grubbing, selfish, manipulative, bastard with only the merest hint of a heart. Most of the movie he was a shyster, a huckster, a film-flam artist– nothing more. It took far too long into the movie before any decency manifested.
At which point I was well beyond caring about him.
I guess I just expected this movie to be
more than it was. I wanted a nice, clean prequel on how a Carney from Kansas came to Oz, banished the witches and becomes the great and powerful “Wizard of Oz”.
No such luck, I’m afraid.