Tuesday night I was lucky to catch a screening of Oz: The Great and Powerful. And well...I'm not going to beat around the bush. So I'll just say it now: I LOVED it!! Don't get me wrong....I too had my reservations from the advertising; from the trailers the film certainly looked like it had the potential to be awful. And who knows...maybe you will find it to be (many of the reviews I'm seeing so far seem to be decidedly split)...but I liked it and I'll tell you some of the reasons why.
One review I read said that the viewer's appreciation of this movie might be directly linked to how they feel about James Franco...and that could indeed be an accurate statement. For me, he just worked in this role. His smarminess had me constantly cracking up. His character is a cad and he knows it. Franco is called upon to carry a great deal of this movie, but at the same time it is also quite an ensemble piece. All of the female leads seem to be having fun (and their costumes are fabulous I must say), but I must say my unexpected favorite had to be Zach Braff's monkey character Finley.
Seriously. You have no idea how much that monkey made me laugh.
The production design was a lot of fun too. Ar first though I worried that it would be too much spectacle and hardly any story. All eye candy no substance. But that wasn't the case at all. For one thing, humor can go a long way. And for me the goofy humor that Sam Raimi seems to be so fond of yet only works half of the time...seemed to really be working for me here. But Oz seems like a perfect place for Raimi to show all the tricks up his sleeve...and I must say a lot of those tricks are quite clever. For me it was really refreshing to see the way the end played out because the obligatory climactic battle wasn't really a battle at all...it felt a lot fresher and creative to me. It's fun seeing how the characters end up in the places we know they'll go, especially with the wizard.
That takes us to "How COULD they make a prequel to such a beloved film!?!?" If you love and revere The Wizard of Oz...depending on your expectations you might just be outraged by this movie and will feel the need to compare them non-stop. But the truth is that they're not comparable! Just enjoy Oz for what it is and look at it as its own film. It is pretty audacious to make a prequel to such a film and you might not think it succeeds...but then you're missing the whole point. This movie is just a bit of fun. You can allow yourself to get lost in that and enjoy the ride or you can bog yourself down on its supposed flaws. The choice is up to you. For me though? Oz was without a doubt my favorite movie to have come out so far this year (but that isn't saying much since the year is still young and all we've gotten are duds!) MY RATING: 8.3/10
But...for the theater EXPERIENCE as told by gifs/memes and youtube videos. I'm posting that next. Just for fun :)