Everybody knows the story of the Wizard of Oz. The magic story of a young girl transported to a magic land filled with all the goodness in the world, where she makes friends with all different creatures and is given the task of killing off a Wicked Witch in order to get home, but the real task isn't that, it's discovering what's most important in life and that's family, there really is no place like home.
This week's big box office surprise smash is the prequel to the Wizard of Oz, Oz the Great and Powerful tells the story of the most important character in the movie, the wizard, who is originally a con man from Kansas who, through a freak accident with a tornado, lands in the magical land and meets a good witch named Theodora. As the story progresses, and without giving out too many spoilers, he ends up siding with Glinda the Good Witch. Because her heart is broken, Theodora is convinced to join her sister, Evanora, and becomes evil in order take over Oz.
With the previous version of Wizard of Oz, it was a moral lesson, appreciating family and friends, learning to cope, dealing with traumatic situations, stuff to really make you think. However, this version was very much not as much as a children's story but a lesson in love and loss, how to deal with betrayal and the kindness, also not to get into the middle of feuding former friends or witches.
I admit, my expectations for this film weren't that high. I'd heard that it lingered in some parts and that the matching of James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams were off-the-charts wrong and that the whole story's alignment with its predecessor was a total failure but I admit, I was totally wrong. It was so much better; the humor, the acting, costumes everything was just amazing. My own predetermined skepticism was completely washed out, although there were a few things I'd have changed.
Mila Kunis was brilliant but the idea of her and Rachel Weisz, who kept slipping into her British accent, as sisters was way too out there. They needed someone who was American and who somewhat resembled Mila or at least could have faked it a little better. Although there were moments between them that established a good repertoire with one another, in terms of wickedness. I think honestly if Margaret Hamilton had lived, she would have been proud to see her role taken to a whole new level of excellence, it was also a level in hell hath no fury like a woman betrayed.
But as great as it was for the women, poor James Franco just couldn't get into the rhythm, he smiled goofily throughout the whole thing, even in serious moments, and although he was a major player, he seemed distant from the role. Although James Franco, to me, is the James Dean of our generation, he needed to take the role more seriously.
What was most disappointing of all was the soundtrack, no new and exciting songs to match up, no wonderful versions of "Somewhere over the Rainbow," nothing except a few minor instrumentals.
Although this was a terrifically successful film, I just think that the comparisons to the predecessor will be overshadowing and won't get as much credit as much it deserves, especially since most of the viewers will be kids and it wasn't as kid-friendly as the Wizard of Oz despite the big name celebrities in it, but that's only my opinion, someone else might think it was the greatest film of 2013 so far.
What did you think of the Oz Great and Powerful? Did you think it matches up or did it fall flat?
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