Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 60% (Critics) / 82% (Audience)
Directed By: Sam Raimi
Written By: Mitchell Kapner and David Lindsay-Abaire
Starring: James Franco, Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz and Mila Kunis
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
Synopsis:Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz. At first he thinks he’s hit the jackpot-fame and fortune are his for the taking. That all changes, however, when he meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz), and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone’s been expecting. Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity-and even a bit of wizardry-Oscar transforms himself not only into the great and powerful Wizard of Oz but into a better man as well. (Source)
This is a very visually arresting movie. The digital effects are not distracting and fit almost seamlessly in the scenes with the flesh and blood actors while the sets, make-up and wardrobe are great to look at.
I also was intrigued by the germs of information given to the audience of the complicated relationship between the witch sisters Evanora and Theodora and Theodora’s inner conflict between her desire to be good and her tendency to give in to her darker impulses.
And I thought the nod to the original WIZARD OF OZ’s black-and-white beginning was a nice touch.
I would have enjoyed more time spent on the relationships between all of three of the witches because they were potentially far more interesting than the titular character of Oz who didn’t really grab me at all. I am not sure if it was just a failure with how the character was written or if it had to do with James Franco’s performance which I was not wowed by at all.
Not nearly enough munchkin action to be found in this flick.
Final Verdict: A movie that is sure to delight the younger set and has enough good stuff in it to keep the older audience’s attention but it could have been much better with more emphasis spent on the witches and a different tact taken with the character of Oz.