The Movie: 7/10
Any desire for a colorful, spectacle, fantastical visual feast will be satisfied most certainly. Positively, absolutely, undeniably, and reliably, this is a trip to the Oz of my childhood. However, as a movie it has nothing to do with my beloved memories. I was determined to not hang my eyes and expectations on those delicate movie watching moments from every Thanksgiving for all of my youth. I was about 75% successful.
First, I did enjoy the movie as a whole. I laughed, cried a little bit, my optical nerve was in a state of joyous wonder a lot of the time. The rest of the time I was doing my best to enjoy the little things that were actually not enjoyable to me, and truly being thrilled by the things that were thrilling.
What was not enjoyable? That’s where we’ll start. The man of the hour, our Wizard of Oz, while he is James Franco, is not as interesting to me as he could be. He’s a scamp and with that comes a lot of snark. I don’t like snark so much when it’s constant. I know he’s a chancer, a traveling magician illusionist con man, so it comes with the package. My problem with this character is hard to describe actually. I guess he is too much of a hard sell on the charm offensive. The campy throw back to early cinema was fine, but without the right amount of sincerity.As the story goes the snark gets worse as the flying monkey becomes a verbal kicking post, and that’s annoying.
Another issue I kept coming back to was that at some point we have an innocent sweet young lady who instantly turns into a scorned woman. I understand brevity, sure, make good time and get the story along. It felt like something was wrong, I hit the lining of my suspended belief bubble and almost pushed through. Apparently I am not purely good at heart 🙂 Or maybe I am since I just barely couldn’t get out of my bubble…watch the movie to understand.
Females are a big part of the movie. A cad who is a womanizer leaves women in his wake. There is a little China girl, China as in made of porcelain, who has a very sad part of the story. I won’t go on and on about how her sad tale felt quite neglected as a story element, but I would if I wanted to let my fingers loose on this keyboard. We also have the young innocent one who meets the cad, gets her heart-broken so fast I think if you blink you will miss it. That’s what we country people say about our small towns as you drive by on the highway. We also have the older more pre-wicked sister witch who is a driving force. And then there is Glinda, enough said. Overall the women ruled the roost really, but with the flimsy scorned woman routine at the root of why we get a green wicked witch, and the China girl’s whole story quickly forgotten, I was left not feeling the girl power I would have liked to have felt.
The special effects of the whole shebang were pretty good, with a few glitches and distractions here and there. First and foremost was China girl and flying monkey, they looked absolutely fantastic. No complaints there. Well, now and then when the wizard was carrying the girl it looked pretty janky, but whatever. I did like the black and white to color throwback. The crazy colorful flowers and world of Oz are undeniably tantalizing. The flying baboons are incredibly creepy and detailed. Hmmm what else was there, well, most of it is on sets where CGI wasn’t the big part of what we were seeing, except for the backgrounds and whatnot. I guess that counts as special effects, so they looked pretty good.
I didn’t feel super satisfied with Oz, the Great and Powerful. It was fun and sweet at times, the witch did get pretty evil so that was good. I was entertained and it did remind me to dig around in the section of my brain that’s taken up fully with Wizard of Oz memories, which is always a good thing. I recommend it for a fantasy evening at the movies, followed by the REAL deal 🙂
- Disney Second Screen – Use your Ipad (sorry android users) to sync with the movie and experience facts and concept art on your second screen.
- Bloopers – Lots of fun bloopers here, I find whenever green screen is involved hilarity ensues.
- My Journey In Oz By James Franco – I think James Franco should quit his acting job and make behind the scenes documentaries for Blu-Ray’s. In this we take a personal look through his handheld camera as he interviews people involved in the movie.
- Mr Elfman’s Musical Connection – Danny Elfman explains his process, usually I find this boring but Elfman composed the music for Oz quite differently to how he has worked before.
- China Girl & The Suspension Of Disbelief – China Girl is my favorite character in the movie and she is all CGI. The creators of the movie used an actual marionette to give the actors refrence to act to.
- Before Your Very Eyes: From Kansas To Oz – The guy who created the world of Pandora for Avatar actually designed the world of OZ. Here we see tons of concept art and interviews on the process of creating such a cool world.
- Mila’s Metamorphosis – Mila Kunis spent 2-4 hours a day having makeup applied for her transformation into a wiked witch. You get to see the process and a time lapse of the whole thing.
- Walt Disney & The Road To Oz – Walt Disney had tried unsucssefully over the years to get a Oz movie made. This featurette charts his progress and offers facinating insight into Walt’s love of the Oz books.
- DVD & Digital Copy
Cover Art and Menus: 5/10
The menu is alive with flowing CGI shots with a nice tour of Oz. it doesn’t give anything away, so don’t panic. The box art, blah. I know I should be impressed with the colors and the Emerald City. I’m not. There is one cover that’s just the witch that has potential, but I’m not a fan of my wicked witches having a heaving bustline. I would not have any of these covers as a poster in my house, but I could find some of the promotional images closer to interesting.
Audio & Video: 10/10
Disney have literally knocked the bar right up to the top of the Yellow Brick Road and out the other side of the Emerald City with this pristine 1080P AVC encode. Crisp, clear, detailed and beautiful are just some of the words I can use to describe how good this looks. The first 15 minutes of the movie take place in black and white and are compressed to a 4:3 aspect ratio, when Oz takes his hot air balloon journey the frame opens up and color seeps into the scene which is a gorgeous effect and true showcase material.
The DTS HD Master audio 7.1 track is as wonderful as the wizard himself. The subwoofer kicks almost the entire movie. Take note of the scene when Oz enters the room full of gold, the directional panning is incredible you can literally hear every coin tumble-down the hill. This is reference quality from Disney and I doubt anyone will be disappointed.
If you find this for a good price and you are a hard-core Oz fan you’re going to buy it …….HOLY crap I just looked it up and it’s NOT a good price. I say rent it and have fun knowing you didn’t spend almost 30 bucks that could have gone to something like a Wizard of Oz Christmas tree ornament. Not that I would do that, no no.
Overall Score 7/10