Oz The Great and Powerful (2013) Review

I was actually on the fence about watching this movie, but a friend of mine wanted to see it a few nights ago, so I thought why not.  We went to the IMAX 3D showing, and turns out this is one of those few movies that actually looks good in 3D.  Enough pops out at you that the pricey ticket doesn’t really seem like too much of a waste.

Oz the Great and Powerful (2013) movie poster

I don’t know if I read it somewhere or if someone told me this, but I had heard that this movie doesn’t really work as a direct prequel to the 1939 classic, The Wizard of Oz starring Judy Garland, but based on where the movie ends I think it sort of could.  Where it doesn’t completely work is the updated special effects and the fact that the “wizard” of Oz in the 1939 film doesn’t have any love interests, at least, not from what I can recall.

This movie actually surprised me in that I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would.  I’m not really a huge fan of any of the actors in this movie, and I’m not sure if its the characters he gets cast in or the actor, but I’m not particularly fond of James Franco.  I also delighted a little in the fact that the movie had me guessing a little bit.  There was a kind of will-or-won’t moment with one of the characters that successfully grabbed my attention.

One of this movie’s strengths was the character development.  I really liked the pacing of Oz’s character from a womanizing, heartless man to one that became more mindful of weighing the consequences before acting.

I don’t really see the need for a sequel of this movie, since doing so would probably put the Oz story even further into an alternate universe, but with the way Hollywood is plugging out numerous sequels and remakes these days, it wouldn’t shock me if one happened.  The thought of it disappoints me though and makes me wonder, have so many “original” ideas been immortalized through books and movies at this point that there are no fresh ideas left to tell?  If that’s true, I find that to be a rather depressing revelation.

FINAL VERDICT: B-

18 responses to “Oz The Great and Powerful (2013) Review

  1. What’s with the James Franco hate. That guy’s got a bad rap. He’s a decent actor. Just needs to choose movies more carefully.

    I wanna watch this. But it’ll probably be a few more months before I get to. *sighs.
    Awesome Review.

  2. Rae, I found myself really enjoying parts of this film. However, I found it very uneven. A decent Disney film for kids but I would agree with your rating and might even end up bumping it down to c+ territory.

  3. Uneven is a good description Rae and o agree totally with your other commenter that James Franco needs to pick his roles better. As I said in my review I think only the monkey voiced by Zach Bragg was the only fully developed character.

    • 🙂 I love reading the little discussions my readers have within my entries, hahaha. I never really thought of the whole uneven thing; I think I was too mesmerized by the visuals. I know, shame on me.

      Speaking of visuals, I was trying to pay close attention to figure out when the picture expanded from the square it starts in, but I got distracted (again, by some oh-so-pretty colors) and missed the exact moment of the switch.

    • I don’t think her acting was too bad. Nothing extraordinary, of course, but I think she did all right.

      I was never really curious about Planet of the Apes. I don’t think I’ll ever get around to watching them either. The only “ape” movie I really like is Mighty Joe Young.

  4. Great review! As a kid me and my sister watched the original a lot so it was exciting to see a “prequel” of sorts. I wasn’t expecting much and was iffy of how good it would actually be and although it wasn’t perfect I did enjoy it. I agree that it is “uneven” as well. The first and last third of the movie were fun to watch but I thought it dragged in the middle. Still, I think it’s worth watching for any fan of the original and I would consider it a true prequel too even though the original wasn’t a Disney movie and therefore Disney can’t officially say it is. They did the best they could given their limitations. For those that don’t know according to IMDb Trivia…

    “Because Warner Bros. owns the rights to iconic elements of the 1939 MGM film, including the ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland, Disney was unable to use them nor any character likenesses from that particular film. This extended to the green of the Wicked Witch’s skin, for which Disney used what its legal department considered a sufficiently different shade called theostein. The studio could not, however, use the signature chin mole of Margaret Hamilton’s portrayal of the Wicked Witch of the West.”

    And…

    “Though this film is ostensibly based only on the series of “Oz” books by L. Frank Baum and not the famous 1939 musical for legal reasons (the Oz stories are public domain, however the 1939 film and all elements original to it are owned by Warner Bros.), the movie does borrow heavily from The Wizard of Oz. Among the allusions: the film opens in sepia tone for the Kansas sequences, then switches to color in Oz; the Wicked Witch of the West is green, travels via fire cloud and shoots fireballs as well as rides on a smoking broom; Glinda travels by bubble; multi-colored horses appear in a pasture outside Emerald City; the Munchkins perform a musical number; the design and constant reference to the road of yellow brick as the “Yellow Brick Road” (Baum never referred to it as such); and the design of the Emerald City, especially the Wizard’s throne room and his methods of illusion are all taken from the 1939 movie.”

  5. “… have so many “original” ideas been immortalized through books and movies at this point that there are no fresh ideas left to tell? If that’s true, I find that to be a rather depressing revelation…”

    Remakes, adaptations, sequels, and prequels will never go away simply because a fan base is already established. Therefore it will attract a bigger audience than an original movie. How many people are more excited to see Iron Man 3 or Star Trek Into Darkness rather than Oblivian or After Earth?

    • I’m actually pretty excited for Oblivion. After Earth looks like it might be too Jurrasic Park-y for me to handle though. That movie gave me countless nightmares as a kid. I can’t remember which one it was, but I’ll never forget the severed arm……………blech!

      I suppose you’re right, but more than the story I feel like the draw is the actors. I’ll go to just about anything Robert Downing Jr., Benedict Cumberbatch, and Chris Pine. Hahaha.

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