Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Review: Oz - The Great and Powerful

World of Blackout 77-Word Film Review

Oz: The Great and Powerful Poster

Oz: The Great and Powerful
Cert: PG / 130 mins / Dir. Sam Raimi

Spectacularly dull. Not in a 'Oh, that was terrible', sort of a way, but more in a 'You mean Disney, the dream factory, have got the rights to make a prequel to one of the most-loved films of all time, one of the films that you acknowledge as a classic even if it doesn't tick your boxes, and in an age where nothing is unfilmable this is the finished product?' sort of a way.

That probably sounds more dramatic than it's intended*1, but there's a real is this it? vibe throughout the movie. I love the black-and-white opening act, and on a visual level most of the rest is very good. Obviously you'd expect a Disney film in 2013 to look 'very good', but there seem to be a couple of clanging BLUESCREEN! moments, particularly during the final battles. In fact, I'm assuming it's a deliberate choice on the part of the film-makers, but it never feels like you leave the soundstage. Even the larger sets are claustrophobically limited, and the lighting just seems like… well, lighting.

I'll say now that I liked Michelle Williams' performance very much, and Joey King's China Girl injects more personality and emotion than the rest of the film combined. But James Franco has been horribly miscast as Oz, and I didn't buy his portrayal of a scoundrel at the start, a hero at the end, or the transformation in between. On par with this is Mila Kunis, who's initially doing a fine job as Theodora, but as soon as the green gets slapped on seems to lose the plot entirely, largely down to the fact that she really doesn't have the right face-shape for the prosthetics they've applied to her (seriously, she can't speak properly in the first couple of scenes with her 'new nose').

But it's not all bad, it's just not great. Now if I'm not convinced (and trust me, I carry no baggage when it comes to The Wizard of Oz), I can't work out what the actual fans will make of it. It comes off as insincere, more like a passing homage thematically than an actual prequel. In fact, I spent more time noticing camera-shots from Sam Raimi's Evil Dead films and comparing the fight scenes to Star Wars and Harry Potter than I did trying to link Oz to its classic predecessor.

Oh, and did anyone else get the first look at the Emerald City and instantly think of Green Goblin's armour from Spiderman (another Raimi/Franco collaboration)?

Far from great and less than powerful. There's less feeling than the camp, schmaltzy forebear it claims to love.
Oz could be worse, but it could be so much better.

Is the trailer representative of the film?

Did I laugh, cry, gasp and sigh when I was supposed to?
Not really.

Does it achieve what it sets out to do?
Not really.

Pay at the cinema, Rent on DVD or just wait for it to be on the telly?

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?

Will I watch it again?
Probably not.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream?

And because you won't be happy until I've given it a score...

*1 More dramatic than the film, that's for certain.
*2 Come on, plenty of opportunities, no excuse. Tch.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

No comments:

Post a Comment