Some spoilers ahead!
Oz is a conman who works as a magician for a unknown traveling circus. They travel where-ever and seduces a few local woman and moves on. On one occasion he seduces the circuses Strong Man’s girlfriend and he comes after Oz. So Oz flees the scene in a hot air balloon and is able to escape. Soon after he is sucked into a tornado and transported to the magical land of Oz.
I like this prequel, but it seems to be missing a certain charm the original had, or maybe it’s because I’m not eight (8) years old anymore. Most of the early on scenes bugged me. For instance there are many scenes that were simply drawn out a tad much. Like in the beginning when Oz first enters the land of Oz there’s a extra long scene of where his crash lands in some lake. In the original Dorthy got shot into the land of Oz and INSTANTLY landed on the Witch. The story didn’t take it’s time on random things. It pretty much started and didn’t have random spacing of things with little importance.
Another was a scene where they’re running from some creature that the witch Evanora sends after Oz, right after he lands and The other odd thing was that she some how knew where he is in Oz. I know she’s a witch, but how the hell is she psychic too? Even if she had some kind of witch power to be psychic like the dialogue was worded strangely and the event lost most of it’s meaning. Also the scene that followed it was the two Oz and Theodora running from the monsters and the bridge randomly starts to collapse under them. That’s just so cliché.
Another was the setting up of Mila Kunis’s character, Theodora. To a certain point it didn’t matter she was in the movie till the very end. It’s insinuated that Theodora and Oz slept together and/or were romantic some how. The scenes kinda fizzles due to lack of chemistry between the actors.
Also the transition Theodora undergoes makes little to no sense. Yes, it’s made very clear that she feels betrayed, or cheated on, but since her character was so blatantly in LOVE with Oz I don’t believe she’d change like she did based only on assumptions, girl gossip between her and her sister (Evanora), and NOT waiting to hear what Oz had to say about it all. Most people that are that in love don’t so readily betray those they love. Now I want to say yes it makes sense because she’s a naive panicky person. But to a certain extent it would only make sense if she was maybe five (5) years old or hadn’t experienced any tragedy ever in her life. So simply put: she’s simply too naive to be believable. The only plus to it is that it does help speed up the movie.
As for the acting goes everyone did a decent job. Some people complained that some of it felt fake. Well no duh. It’s a movie! I thought some of the acting was hammed up some to slightly pay tribute to the older 1930s Oz. James Franco shinned as a completely insecure, nervous, womanizing, smart con-artist. He seems to play different roles in just about everything he does and does relativity well. But there were certain parts where. Mila Kunis was super cute in the beginning, to the point of being sicky sweet, and later became a well rounded villain after her transformation segment. Said segment was less dramatic then it could have been due to how the audio came out. Its nice to see her as a villain, but considering half her carrier has been “bad guys” or crotchety women it’s not much of a change. Rachel Weisz does a decent job in a stronger female lead, compared to some of her ‘damsel-in-distress’ roles like The Mummy. It was good to see Zach Braff in something other then Scrubs and did a relatively decent job as a supporting role. However there was a few opening scenes that needed tweeking. However, Michelle Williams soft and warm pretrial of Glinda, the Good Witch, that balanced out many scenes that were almost too cute to stand.
Despite all my griping there is a few laughs to be had. Many had me rolling my eyes with a warm smirk. There are a few that are really subtle in their approach so if you aren’t paying attention you might not notice them. The CGI is a fantastic addition and adds some depth to Oz. It is fun to watch, but realize it has a target audience of children under the age of 13. It’s warm, fun, and has a sense of fun, despite it’s slow paced moments. If you’re willing to see some actors/actresses in roles you wouldn’t normally see them in, go see it.
7.0/10 – I hate my rating is so similar to IMDB’s, but it does warrant a theater visit rather then a 6.0 something rating of “see it eventually.”
Please realize this is a PG movie.