The catalyst, the starting gun, the lift off, the other generic phrase that means something beginning. How i have been spurred on to write this blog.
In the beginning there was Oz the great and powerful. An evening that for me held great promise, the checklist you run through before every film was stacking up well (Be aware that there may be a spoiler or two in this review)
Lets see, cast: James Franco, Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams and Meg from Family Guy aka Mila Kunis, that’s a big tick for me. Is it in 3D? Yes, that isn’t necessarily a check for me but I’ll take it anyway. Plot: young wizard of Oz goes to Oz to have an adventure, save the day and become…….the Wizard of Oz, hence the next film of Judy Garland fame which was kind of a big deal.
So yes the expectations were high, like the price for the ticket, and I went in wanting to be blown away. I wasn’t. Gutting. The opening is promising, like the Wizard of Oz it starts in black and white and moves to colour when they get to Oz. Zach Braff of scrubs fame tries his best to be the comedy sidekick but in what is a real shame, he seems to be as confused as an ice hockey player who has been put in pads and put on a cricket green with someone hurtling a ball at his face (that’s what cricket is right?) he just looks awkward and even his usual steadfast comic timing is slightly off. Tis doesn’t bode well and things definitely don’t improve from there.
The same can be said of Rachel Weisz, she seems to have gone off the boil a little bit, and this is coming from a fan of hers. She is great in Constant Gardner and the Mummy is brilliant both performances moving and genuinely funny. But I must say she is in a weird part here, and it doesn’t suit her. She needs to embody the kind of evil that really terrifies, she has killed the former king and is hell bent on taking Oz for herself. But here she looks like that old dear downstairs from you who insists on telling you exactly how you should live whilst pointing out all the mistakes you’re making “don’t put the recycling out too early or it will fill up with water”oh do one you nosy crank. Thats just it, Weisz comes across as an annoyance when she should freak you out. Basically she isn’t believable as such a villain and this is clear from the start.
The storyline is, as a film aimed at kids, quite predictable with Franco’s Oz starting as a bit of a villain only to be transformed through the film into the good guy. My issue here is that they are very heavy handed with making him out to be a bad guy. He is portrayed as a likely lad who is keen to get into as many lady’s pants as he can using the same method. This sort of Johnny bravo, Casanova approach is off with me and so it doesn’t really work for me either when later he is the altruistic hero……who still wants a piece of Galinda the good. There is a great line in one of the ending scenes in terms of innuendo, when asked if Oz has anything to give Galinda he replies ‘oh yeah I’ve got something for her alright’ I bet you have Franco you little spider man baddie Pineapple Express loving joker. But that doesn’t mean you can get away with what is a sub par performance in my opinion. He is usually top notch, but not here.
So I won’t just go on and on about the negative points because you should make your mind up after seeing it for yourself (if you’re brave enough) but it would be remiss of me (spoiler coming) to not mention Mila Kunis and her portrayal of the wicked witch. In my opinion a bit of green make up and a cackle here and there does not a wicked witch create. This is such a monumental part, the special effects that always arise whenever she appears are great, very scary and evocative but then it is really let down when you finally see Kunis and she looks like Jim Carey in the Mask’s weird cousin (the type that always rocks up to family gatherings and sulks for like an hour before telling you how great she is whilst downing a litre of Malibu). It is funny seeing Kunis again playing the downtrodden sister role, shut up Meg, but this is the only redeeming feature of what was a real let down I must say. She tries to be menacing by doing a lot of wincing and screwing up her face, if this were the case with all people then my grandad would be bloody terrifying and he isn’t, he’s a legend. Like with Weisz the part and script really let her down. She inexplicably leaves the munchkins alone after breaking through their magical barrier “when I come back later I will be really evil!” …..uh why don’t you just kill them now? They are literally ripe for the taking? Oh whatever, just go and do some more family guy please.
So I will sum up here because I could just go on for hours about how much Franco has let me down like how a 12 year old boy is let down by his parents decision to buy him clothes for his birthday and not Fifa 12. I never wanted clothes mum, just to let you know.
So all in all, if you have kids, and loads of money, then give this a go. But otherwise I would really steer clear of this film. There are really not many redeeming features to this film, even the costume is a bit hit and miss which is usually the go to attribute to compliment when the show is bad.
Rating 3/10 which is still being kind, and that is only because I know this is aimed at kids. But I think it still could have been a lot better.
Until next time……