Oz The Great and Powerful
I’ve been a bit confused by lots of reviews for Oz The Great and Powerful and wonder if I was watching the same film. Perhaps I watched a reworked version. The film I saw was one powerful creative vision, made your heart beat a little bit faster and I left the cinema feeling the world was a better place. The reviews so far didn’t leave me with that feeling.
From the opening box type titles taking you back to 1905 you’re thrown into a world where nothing is what it seems. Or, is this a deliberate tribute to the wonderful world and tricks of the Cinema? This is the prequel to the much-loved Wizard of Oz (but not for me I still have Groundhog Days of BBC2 Christmas Day Schedules where it’s a revolving loop).
Oz the great, is a small-time magician/loser in a travelling fair who will always take the easy option or shortcut until he is blown into the Land of Oz via a Hot Air Balloon he uses to escape from the Fair’s Strongman. He’s been kissing the wrong girl!
In Oz, he meets three very different sisters and witches and through them has to decide which route to take. The easy one with lots of Gold or one where he will be tested physically and mentally. As with most things all that glitters is not gold and he quickly recognises this.
This is a beautiful, original film and the creativity is a welcome contrast to a lot of seemingly bleak films about older people dying this quarter. More mainstream than Tim Burton – think Charlie and The Chocolate Factory with slightly muted colour palette and deep, complex characters that are easy to relate to (the sisters don’t get on!).
The audience were gasping in their seats at several points during my screening and although I’m not going to spoil it the 3D adds to the feeling that you are there in Oz and possibly just about to trot down the yellow brick road. James Franco (Oz) pulls off the challenging role of being a chancer and unsuccessful opportunist convincingly. We all know someone like this. Mila Kunis’ (Theodora) efforts to keep her cool were amusing and slightly disconcerting and heart-wrenching when she realises her love for Oz is not reciprocated. She is one truly scary and menacing witch. It was also a useful insight into how she became the Wicked Witch of the North and Oz’s evolution into the Great Oz.
The film is 3D and although lots of film-lovers are getting fed up with 3D as the glasses are such a faff this was well worth it. Go See. I recommend it highly.
Oz, the Great and Powerful
Cert PG, 130 Mins
Opened Friday, 8 March in London, UK