On the surface, Disney’s “Oz the Great and Powerful” achieves stunning visual effects, has a talented cast, and features a great concept for a prequel to the 1939 “The Wizard of Oz.” Remove the visual effects, and what remains is depthless, colorless characters in a poorly constructed story.
Is it harsh? Maybe, but sitting through “Oz” was incredibly torturous. My expectations were a little high, but could you blame me? A prequel to “The Wizard of Oz” already sets a high bar because it has never been properly done in a cinematic way.
“Oz” features James Franco (“127 Hours”), Mila Kunis (“Black Swan”), Michelle Williams (“Blue Valentine”), and Rachel Weisz (“The Constant Gardener”). Most of these talented actors are Oscar nominees or winners. I was expecting too much, though. I expected an adult film, and I watched a children’s film. Yes, it’s Disney so I use “adult” loosely. But I expected a film like “Pirates of the Caribbean” or “Alice in Wonderland.” Instead, I got “Mirror Mirror.”
Visually, “Oz” delivers. It is an absolute beautiful film to watch. The vibrant color and the realistic creatures of the wonderful land of “Oz” certainly impress. But when it comes to acting, it completely flopped. I couldn’t believe the characters. The Wicked Witch (Kunis) was absolutely pathetic. I think I laughed more than a few times at her ridiculous, over-the-top acting. But this can happen when you put talented actors who are used to playing in very adult films in this children’s movie.
“Oz the Great and Powerful” did not meet my expectations, even if they were extremely high. While visually appealing, the acting spoiled another journey to the magical land of Oz.
Jonathan Scales is a sophomore film production major. This review reflects the view of the writer only.