Oz, The Great and Powerful is yet another beautiful film ruined by 3D
Oz, The Great and Powerful is a good movie – in fact, it is a great movie. It works very well as a prequel to the much beloved Wizard of Oz and feels as magical as the original. However, there is one massive problem with this movie (and it’s a common problem in a lot of movies these days) – bad 3D. Yes, bad 3D, because there obviously isn’t such thing as good 3D – if there is, I haven’t seen it yet.
I’ve railed on and on a lot about the pointless use of 3D on film and I will continue to do so. I saw Oz, The Great and Powerful in 3D because I wanted to see it and had no other choice given by the local theater. I also foolishly thought that 3D technology may have improved some since the last bad 3D movie I saw (Green Lantern). It hasn’t.
What really sucks with Oz, The Great and Powerful is that 3D ruins the beauty and wonder that Oz is. In the original film, The Wizard of Oz, the vibrant technicolor of Oz pops out at us and is something that is beyond our normal boring world – something out of fantasy. As it should be. When done in 3D, Oz becomes murky and blurry and often too dark , and the colors aren’t as vibrant as they should be. For example, in Oz, The Great and Powerful , there’s a scene where we see how the Wicked Witch turns green. The problem in 3D is that she appears more gray than green. So yes, we are apparently taking a giant leap backward when the technology of film in the 1930’s gives us a better image than the technology of the year 2013.
Why is this sad? Because Oz, The Great and Powerful is a good movie that doesn’t need the crappiness that 3D brings to it. It has a heartfelt story that really does bring back memories from the 1939 film. It doesn’t need any shtick or gimmick to make it good – the goodness is already there. And that’s what I’ll focus on in the rest of this review.
Let’s start with the story. As a prequel, I feel that the plot is solid. The story tells us how The Wizard of Oz actually became The Wizard of Oz. It’s the tale of a con man with a heart of gold who brings hope to Oz and helps the people of that world defeat the evil witches. The story, however, has a few really nice twists (at the beginning, it is uncertain of which witch is which, so to speak) and leads us up to seeing The Wizard become the man that we know he’ll become – The Great and Powerful Oz.
James Franco as Oz, The Wizard, gives a solid performance of character that could have easily been a caricature. In Franco’s hands, though, Oz has both life and depth.Even though the character is a con artist, we see that he has a good heart. In particular, the first scene with The Wizard and China Girl, will bring tears to your eyes due to its bittersweet tone.
Michelle Williams as Glinda is mesmerizing, and although I would not have initially envisioned her in the role (I blame Kristin Chenowith), she emanates goodness with each blink of her eye and tilt of her head. Even if we’re told that she’s the bad witch at the start of the film (but who is going to believe that?).
I did, however, feel that the other two witches – portrayed by Rachel Weisz and Mila Kunis – should have had their roles reversed. I think that might have worked better in the film, especially towards the end. They’re both good in their prospective parts, but I still think they have been slightly miscast here.
Zach Branff as Finley, the flying monkey companion of The Wizard, is comic relief and he provides that in droves, although he also still possesses the ability to pull on your heartstrings at the end of the film.
Finally, as this is a Sam Raimi film, expect to see Bruce Campbell somewhere. His appearance in Raimi movies always gets a round of applause from the audience when he’s on-screen. I love that.
So to sum up, Oz, The Great and Powerful is a good movie. And you should see it. Just be sure to not see it in 3D. Until we stop paying for this travesty that is being done to film, Hollywood is going to keep forcing it on us. It’s time to take a stand. NO MORE 3D!!!