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Dec 14, 2003

Smarts > Wisdom


This movie is good, but not great. First and foremost let's just be blunt that this film isn't trying to be The Wizard of Oz. This is a film for modern audiences, so it needs to be more clever and have a lot more action to keep up entertained. It succeeds for the most part, but it's hard to deny that the film slows to a crawl at some points. In fact while watching this I couldn't help but to feel about half an hour could have been edited out of it just fine. But all in all it works well enough that you won't be bored.

Obviously this film is a prequel to the original, which means it'll need to pay homage to it while establishing why things are the way they are when Dorothy arrives in Oz. Where it pays homage it does it well enough. The opening B/W to full color shift is nice. The yellow brick road is there naturally. There's even hints to the characters Dorothy will meet someday, while never actually rubbing them in our faces. And in establishing history it does a fair job too. You'll get answers to some things, but when it comes to the developments that lead to Theodora becoming the Wicked Witch of the West... Well I'm disappointed.

I'm sorry, but Kunis cannot play a villain. It's distracting that the Wicked Witch has nice tits, and by that I mean she shouldn't be a character about sex-appeal. But looking at her you can just tell the market will be flooded with cleavage-bearing witch costumes come this Halloween. But don't worry because no one else in this film can play a witch either. Every woman in this movie (for me at least) felt like they were just reading some cue-cards off-screen. Franco was good. And Braff as his flying-monkey sidekick/comic relief was good casting. But you can tell the people who did casting were more interested in selling us hot women than the characters they portray.

Plus the whole transformation from Theodora to the WWW was just awful. If we're to accept this as cannon then Dorothy murdered a perfectly decent woman merely for the purpose of her ex boyfriend being bitter.

Oh, also the effects in regards to the witches were just plain awful. You can tell they were trying to ham it up for the 3D audience (I saw it in 2D). The lightening just looked awful, and the makeup on Kunis did not work at all. Honestly it was like they wanted to make her into the WWW, but were afraid the males in the audience might get bored, so they kept the makeup light and showed some tits... No, really.

All in all I'll rate it 2.5 out of 5. Exactly halfway between being bad and great because it strives to be neither.

Pros: Franco and Braff. Nostalgia. The entire sequence involving Oz becoming the Wizard at the end.

Cons: Kunis' breasts (FOR THE LOVE OF GOD I CANNOT BELIEVE I'M RATING THIS AS A BAD THING). Bad female acting. Bad effects.

Liar fucked around with this message at Mar 9, 2013 around 01:36


Captain von Trapp
Jan 22, 2006

I don't like it, and I'm sorry I ever had anything to do with it.

In principle, this would be a prequel to legendary 1939 film The Wizard of Oz. It's not quite. The Wizard of Oz is an MGM film, and Oz The Great and Powerful is a Disney film. While L. Frank Baum's 1900 novel is out of copyright, MGM film is not. Thus Disney has to skirt a fine line between making a film based on the Oz stories and not stepping on MGM's copyrights for the film-specific stuff.

And it skirts that line pretty close in a few places, but generally the forced distance from the 1939 film is a blessing. It prevents the sly "Hey you saw the original film right? So did we! Look, this film is like that one!" references that tend to kill the momentum of prequels and sequels.

So no scarecrow or tinman. Instead, we get a talking monkey and a little girl made of china, who are both so well done they really steal the show. The human characters are all capably played, the story is interesting, and the narrative drive of the film is pretty consistently maintained. Even the obvious Disney misdirection - "Oh no, is the good guy really betraying them?" - is done well enough to be relatively convincing all things considered. The ending battle is unusually well done, which is no mean feat considering that the good guys' hands are tied by the plot into a prohibition on killing anyone.

Mila Kunis begins the Oz sequence as a painfully pretty and extremely sympathetic girl who borders on naive, and I don't think it's too much of a spoiler to say that her literally 10 second transformation to scenery-chewing lunatic is just too over-the-top to be effective.

I give it a solid B.

Marta Velasquez
Mar 9, 2013

Good thing I was feeling suicidal this morning...

Lipstick Apathy

Liar posted:

I'm sorry, but Kunis cannot play a villain. It's distracting that the Wicked Witch has nice tits, and by that I mean she shouldn't be a character about sex-appeal. But looking at her you can just tell the market will be flooded with cleavage-bearing witch costumes come this Halloween.

I agree. The "sexy" Wicked Witch ended up looking like Princess Fiona from Shrek. I couldn't even take her seriously as a villain.

The bad green screen effects were the number one problem I had with the movie. They were even more distracting than the terrible line reading. I also saw this in 2D, so this might be a side effect of filming for 3D.

The movie had the potential for being great, but it turned out to be mediocre and disappointing.

Apr 5, 2009

giblet gravy

I saw this this afternoon with a client that has developmental disabilities in a packed theater and we both came away thinking it was awful. He has me take him to terrible movies on the regular and likes almost everything. Even the theater full of children didn't seem to be enjoying it. I think I'm most distressed by the fact that it seemed like there was actually a solid movie in there somewhere. I'll echo all the complaints mentioned already without feeling positive about nearly as much. Too long, some jarringly bad acting, make-up, and special effects (though the china girl was fantastic), and just a miserable experience in general. My expectations were low going in which, in my experience, usually has me walking away at least pleasantly surprised. That was not that case with this film. 1 star.

Babby Formed
Jan 2, 2009

Incredibly mediocre. Unlike everyone else here apparently I did see it in 3d with my friends and we all actually wondered if it would have been better in 2d. OZ has a bunch of weird focus issues in the first 40 minutes or so where the camera doesn't really focus on anything resulting in everything looking blurry and disorienting. (Basically every scene up to the gang meeting Glinda has at least one or two weird shots like this.) The witches effects were actually borderline 2d so if they looked awful there too I'm baffled at how Disney couldn't do better.

Otherwise I don't have anything to add that hasn't been said already. Bad line reading throughout, bizarre casting choices, a wicked witch that's reminiscent of Princess Fiona (which, in her transformation lost what might have been the only interesting visual effect in the movie.), and a story that drags to a crawl at spots.

The ending also makes literally no sense if you think about it for about a second.


Babby Formed fucked around with this message at Mar 11, 2013 around 10:48

Aug 29, 2003

You can't be angry ALL the time!

Didn't see it in 3D; saved my $7 so I could buy a pint of whiskey afterward and boy, am I glad I did.

This movie was so goddamned weird. It's like someone wrote a script and handed it in, and the producers/execs thought "meh, that's good enough to make us a shitzillion dollars" and greenlighted the thing without anyone saying that it was flat and boring. The jokes are predictable and hackneyed, the acting comes off as forced instead of endearing (which makes the special effects all the more obvious and unimpressive), the reveal-of-grand-landscapes shots fall on their faces after the first one (there's at least four), there are countless events that just don't make any sense at all, our protagonist is an idiot child who can't connect any kind of dots, and whoever cast this movie ought to be put on a bus back to Full Sail's film school.

Sam Raimi's family must have been held hostage or his pets abducted by the Disney folks. I like Raimi, I like the Evil Dead movies, I like Drag Me to Hell, and there are a few scenes in here where you see his direction quite clearly that really put me on the edge of my seat, but outside of the action everything comes off as a mess. The actors/actresses appear as though this is their 32nd take (out of 50) for whatever horrible line they're delivering and he had to pick a peanut out of a turd.

Franco's performance is distracted at best, like he's thinking of the big pile of money at the end of the shoot instead of how he's supposed to be reacting to the green-screened poo poo that someone said they'd make look awesome later. His character wasn't in the least believable or sympathetic to me, and not because he was playing a con-man, but because he was not doing a very good job. I thought that when Oz finally hit the cloud as the Face of Oz (or whatever) that everything worked perfectly, but it was because he was being a shtick within a shtick; the overacting worked. The bummer is that it didn't work for the rest of the movie and we're left with a character who's flat and unconvincing. His stupid character is willing to just go along with one witch's word over another's without any kind of proof. That takes me out of the movie and makes me think "why is he believing whatever this new witch says? Why doesn't he ask really simple questions instead of blindly following whoever says 'no I'M the good witch'?" Nothing snips the disbelief suspenders like a really, really stupid protagonist. As for villans, I've never liked Kunis as an actress, and she doesn't do a good job convincing me otherwise during Oz. Every line of hers is delivered in a high-school princess tone and cadence, which made me either wrinkle my nose or try not to laugh in the theater. She's not a good wicked witch since I'd seen her face for the first half of the movie (jesus, this movie is way too long) and when the witch finally came out, I spent more time trying to determine where her real nose ended and the fake one began. Rachel Wiesz is not exactly in her element and looks like an off-balance trapeze artist holding a pose ("is this long enough? Are you sure? Should I hold it longer?"). Having liked her in Constantine and not realizing that she'd be in this movie (I didn't do any pre-game homework), I thought "she'll be a great wicked witch", but she wasn't. When she was supposed to be evil, she was scared, but despite all of that, I will say that her acting was the most convincing out of the bunch. Zach Braff is okay; at least he's transparent and does an okay job with the horrible jokes he's meant to deliver. His performance was such that I remember seeing his name roll on the credits as assistant/monkey, and I said to my girlfriend "oh, Zach Braff was the monkey." She asked how come I hadn't realized that earlier. My reply was "I didn't care." The casting here was ridiculous; Franco only because he kind of sort of matched-up with the Oz in the original, but after that, it's a complete waste of our time.

Had low expectations, they were absolutely fulfilled. "Oz: The Great and Powerful" is exactly the cash-grab that I thought it was going to be: good to people who don't realize they've been ripped off, a disappointment to those that wanted it to be good.


Feb 28, 2010

Now the scene's lighting is perfect!

Liked the protagonist and the opening (fireball out of frame). The world presented seemed nice enough too. Surprised that monkey was bearable.
Didn't like much else. Every other character was terribly bland. The ladies were the worst, from the silly change of heart to the mindless evilness. For all that was going on it still felt a bit empty. Could have been worse though.

Sep 11, 2001

Just got back from seeing it.

What I liked:
The black and white introduction. Really vivid.
The China Doll and the flying monkey. Both were voiced by excellent actors.
The story: Loosely based on "The Wizard of Oz" but changed due to copyright issues.
I could easily follow this prequel. Story was really well written.

Didn't like:

Mila Kunis is an excellent actress but a poor choice for the WWW She is stunningly beautiful, even as an evil witch.
Also whenever she opened her mouth all I could think of was Meg Griffen or Jackie Burkhart.

Quantum of Phallus
Dec 27, 2010

Nothing mind-blowing but entertaining. Managed to do a lot more in 2 hrs than the Hobbit did in nearly 3.


Oct 30, 2003

"When I see someone tilting my tables, I shoot the Bastard. That's my policy!"

Grimey Drawer

"Phoned it in!"

There was not a single aspect of this film that didn't make me think of that phrase.

Special effects: Lame in 2D and from what I've heard, not that great in 3D. You could tell they were really pandering to the 3D crowd with a lot of the camera work and things approaching the screen to make the kids "ohh" and "ahh". In the 2D version I saw it just looked like they couldn't be bothered to fix a lot of it to look good in 2D (the flowers at the beginning and the bubbles they floated in were almost "kids show" bad in quality).

Acting: James Franco played the same character he always plays... James Franco. In this case it sort of worked, but got annoying at times. I'm not the most impartial person though, as I generally don't like him. The three witches were outright horrible. Mila Kunis didn't even try, then again given the lines she had, I don't blame her. Rachel Weisz wasn't much better, and there were a few times I laughed just because her delivery was so horrible, "Sister, you look hideous, let me cast an enchantment". Michelle Williams was the best of the three, but still pretty bad as she was obviously channeling Billie Burke (The Original Glinda) so she acted a bit bubbly. Black midget and Bruce Campbell naturally played themselves, so nothing new there. You know things are pretty bad when a CGI monkey and China Doll are the two strongest actors in your movie.

Pacing: Someone really needs to get Sam Raimi a watch, or get him off the meth. The first 30 minutes dragged on at a snail's pace, then when they start introducing characters, it's the cinema equivalent of the two hockey teams skating by and shaking hands after the game. It took 30 seconds for Theodora to fall in love with Oz, and another 5 for her to be willing to go green because of him. It's less than 2 minutes from seeing Glinda in a robe in the dark and thinking she is the evil witch to Oz totally trusting her.

"No my sister is the real Evil Witch"
"Pie is so good! Cool, I trust you!"

Story: It was ok. I think it was actually one of the stronger parts of the film, which is in no way saying it was a strong story or really well written. It was predictable, and "Disney" but didn't make me cringe, so I think that's a positive.

Costumes Did we get enough cleavage? What the hell was Mila Kunis wearing at the beginning? Seriously, that hat and leather pants? I'm surprised the camera didn't follow her when she crawled into the cave. After seeing her and Weisz nearly popping buttons every time they breathed I was shocked we didn't see 10 seconds of her rear end crawling in front of the camera when they encountered that first flying monkey.

My wife and I left the theater asking each other, "Was it good? Did you like it, I think I didn't really, but it was ok".

Overall, 2/5

Aug 18, 2006

More pretentious than thou

The annoying thing about this movie is that it had potential to be actually pretty good, but missed on so many marks. James Franco was terrible, just terrible. Complete wrong read on his character, completely uninvested in what his character should be. An equally large problem is that the movie didn't know what it wanted to be -- fantastical whimsy ala the original? Grimdark thriller with lots of obligatory character beats?
And way too cgi, should have really tried to use practical effects more.
Those are just my major complaints, less significant ones number in the dozens. (As an example: Why was Glinda living in the dark haunted forest of doom? She could clearly leave whenever she wanted.) Really, there were only two things that completely worked for me: Rachel Weisz, and the matte backgrounds (which were used too sparingly, unfortunately). The climax bit was pretty good I guess.
1.5 / 5

Oct 26, 2007

Friends: Protected
World: Saved
Crablettes: Eaten

One of the two best parts of the movie is the opening credits. That part looked like it was made by people with souls, as opposed to most of the actual movie. Someone cared about how it would look.

The only other high point was the doll, which was a pretty neat special effect and probably the best part of the story.

Everything to do with the witches was terrible. Super terrible. Theodora's character and behavior seemed like some sort of parody.



Oct 10, 2012

I waffled between boredom--when will this end?--and outright rage toward some of the characters--wishing tiny bellcap monkey would get killed and the china girl stepped on. And I was sick of seeing James Franco's toothy grin.


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