Since Tim Burtons Alice in Wonderland made bundles of money at the box office, film studios have been planning countless of “re-imaginings” of children’s classics. Over the next few years Disney have a re-telling of Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast, simply titled The Beast coming out with the aim of creating darker and edgier films to appeal to adults on a much wider scale.
Personally I say leave these films alone and would take a light hearted musical over a film filled with darkness any day.
With this in mind I wasn’t looking forward to Oz the Great and Powerful at all. It looked okay from the trailers but was something I wasn’t going to rush out and see either.
So the prequel tells the story of Oz, a carnival magician, con artist and ladies man who is caught up in a tornado which transports him to the Land of Oz. Pretty much as soon as her crashes there he manages to convince people that he is the Wizard of Oz, prophesied to rid the land of the wicked witch and sets out on a quest to bring peace to Oz.
Despite my reservations I actually enjoyed Oz the Great and Powerful. It’s not a perfect film in the slightest but it’s not the disaster some people would make out either.
It’s not as dark as I was expecting and I was surprised at how vivid and colourful the film was, well once we get to Oz that is. That’s not to say it’s without it’s darker elements and Sam Raimi still manages to get in a few scares on par with some of his other films which had me jump out of my seat so no doubt traumatised the children sat a few rows behind.
For the most part though it’s actually quite a funny, tongue in cheek film with just enough magic to keep kids entertained.
James Franco has always been hit or miss to me and I hated his performance in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. He’s much better in this though and adds a lot of humour and animation to proceedings.
As for the witches, a lot of people have said Rachel Weisz steals the show which is true to a degree but isn’t anything spectacular either. Michelle Williams is okay as Glinda the Good and Mila Kunis’ voice was too irritating to get past, especially by the end of the film.
About half way through, my eyes did glaze over slightly as it started to drag a little but overall Oz is a pretty successful prequel which doesn’t overly rely on winks and nods to the original film.
It’s not a film which will change your life or stay in your mind for very long nor does it deserve it’s recently announced sequel but it is worth a watch none the less.