‘Oz’ lives up to nostalgic expectations
Published: Monday, March 11, 2013
Updated: Monday, March 11, 2013 21:03
No one has dared to take on the magical and whimsical world of L. Frank Baum’s ‘Oz.’ There have been numerous cheap renditions of “The Wizard of Oz” or related to the world of Oz, usually released as TV movie or straight-to-DVD films. However, in more than 70 years no large production company has dared to take on the story until Disney stepped in. “Oz the Great and Powerful” has been promoted ever since the announcement of the making of the film, and it certainly lived up to the high standards that it set for itself.
Starring James France as Oz, or Oscar, the film follows his character into the magical land of Oz and how he becomes the wizard of Emerald City. The plot took an unexpected turn that not even the previews could foreshadow. Oz made the terrible mistake of crossing two sisters and breaking their hearts, thus leading to big trouble for the land of Oz - and Oz himself. Who knew Oz could be such a player? Glinda the Good (Michelle Williams) is the only one who can see past his charade of charms. While Theodora (Mila Kunis) and Evanora (Rachel Weisz), who are both hurt by Oz, eventually turn against him and their true colors are revealed. It was a bit of downer that a girl’s hurt feelings led to a colossal amount of trouble. It’s almost ironic that Oz does this since in the beginning of the film his character just wants to achieve being a great man or some type of greatness. For someone who wants to achieve greatness, he has an ego to keep in check. The film portrays odd character development but makes up for it with a unique story line.
Disney took the classic root and started the film in black and white which really added to the transition once Oz arrived. Of course the only way to get to the land of Oz is through a tornado and hoping you survive. The movie really emphasized that tornadoes are dangerous so stay away. One really cool element was, for a few seconds you can see when he crosses into Oz mesmerizing me before jolting me back to reality. The fade to color had a great affect since it was subtle at first before an explosion of color took over the screen. It was as if Technicolor was invented all over again. It was from there that we see the Disney magic take over.
Watching the movie brought back memories of my childhood, with all the imagination put into the film, and it reminded me of the first time I read “The Wizard of Oz” book. The close attention to the smallest details is what really brought the film together. If anything was overlooked, it could have taken away from the effect that you are in a wondrous place, completely different from our world. The Disney team worked really hard in order to make this world seem like a reality with its bright colors and unique set of characters. Although some were animated, they seem very lifelike with the way Franco’s characters interacted with them.
The film had some corny scenes that were hard to look past. Even the ending was a bit of a letdown after all the action scenes. I was hoping for more of a cliffhanger since it was just announced that Disney will be doing the remake of “The Wizard of Oz,” but with a few twists to the plot much like 2010’s “Alice in Wonderland.” Then again, you need to keep in mind it’s a Disney-produced movie, so of course there are going to be cheesy elements. However they made sure to make up for the corny scenes with a few scary parts that actually made me jump. There are some terrifying creatures in the land of Oz.
The movie was magical and was up to my expectations when it came to the imagination sense; however, there were still some plot holes, including why Oz was referenced as a Professor. Also, perhaps different makeup for the Wicked Witch of the West could help the film a bit. Overall, it was a solid film, especially for director Sam Raimi who typically directs thrillers. Hopefully this film will lead Disney into their next big project of “The Wizard of Oz.”