Oz the Great and Powerful – Film Review
Much like my dilemma with Chris Pine, I still can’t decide if James Franco is hot or not.
Most of the time it’s okay, but then he smiles and his eye crinkles explode and engulf the entire known universe.
Oh, there’re also witches or something in this movie. I was distracted.
TL;DR Oz the Great and Powerful has an impressive cast and visuals, but is horribly underwhelming when it comes to actual story. Theodora is a crazy stalker freak show, and when the emotional crux of your movie is a stage 5 clinger with green skin and bad face plaster, there’s a problem. 3 out of 5 stars.
Seriously. Theodora needs to tone it the fuck down.
The plot of Oz the Great and Powerful is quite simple: Oz (Franco) ends up in the magical land that shares his name and is apparently the missing piece in a prophecy to restore goodness and order to the land. He encounters 3 witches: Evanora (Rachel “age is my bitch, bitch” Weisz) is a fabulous douchebag, Glinda (Michelle Williams) is a street smart goody-goody, and Theodora (Mila Kunis) is a fucking psychopath who doesn’t understand how relationships work. After figuring out Evanora’s bullshit, pissing off Theodora, and joining forces with Glinda, Oz leads the side of righteousness to victory. With smoke and mirrors. Literally.
Oz the Great and Powerful’s greatest achievement is inciting even further lust for a Wicked film adaptation. Fuck.
But for reals, now, the huge issue with this movie is Theodora. She’s set up as a cool, sexy witch chick (Mila Kunis pretty much covers “cool” and “sexy” just by being cast) who Oz is like “mmm, girl” towards. Then once he’s out of the Emerald City for 5 seconds Theodora falls to pieces and goes absolutely insane over the fact that he might not love her forever and ever, like she does him.
Then she eats an apple and turns into a homicidal maniac with weird eyebrows.
I understand that Theodora has led a sheltered, manipulated life under her sister’s cruel tutelage, but I just didn’t give even close to a shit about her. Evanora even points out that Theodora was probably the one who just assumed her and Oz’s love was real, and bitch still doesn’t get it.
Oz dodged a fucking bullet there.
Why I hate this movie:
The other big problem is a lack of tension for the first half of the movie. Evanora is obviously evil. I had absolutely no doubt that when Oz encountered the “wicked” witch, it would actually be the real good witch. Trailers always spoil, but god.
I didn’t get why everyone was waiting around for the “wizard” to come and kick things off, either. Glinda shows herself to be pretty handy in a 1-on-1 wand fight with Evanora at the end. I know she clings to daddy’s prophecy pretty hard, but bitch should have gotten off her arse and sorted shit herself. She even realises that Oz isn’t a wizard, but still has to depend on him making decisions for some reason.
Conversely, Evanora is just as powerful as Glinda, and she has a witch sister ally, and a horde of flying monkey demons. Glinda’s got, like, a bubble. Which Theodora demonstrates can be broken by just being super determined. Evanora should have gotten off her arse, too, and taken care of business. Oz is literally just a guy with a hat and an amazingly specific-to-the-situation knowledge base. These women have fucking magic powers. What?
China Girl is utterly pointless. The detour to her ravaged town is merely a “hey, he’s not so heartless after all” moment for Oz. Which we could have covered without adding an excess character. And her only valuable contribution to the plot is when she retrieves and delivers Glinda’s wand before her execution. She does nothing else, yet continually insists on coming on dangerous adventures. She’s made of china. She is the epitome of an escort mission.
Her Kansas counterpart isn’t much better. She interrupts Oz’s magic show and demands he heal her legs (she’s wheelchair bound). Rude. Kansas hecklers are hardcore.
Zach Braff’s monkey CGI character is hideous and unsettling.
Everyone seems uncomfotarbly happy about executing the wicked witch (whoever they think it is).
Theodroa doesn’t look particularly ugly in her morphed form. She just looks like Mila Kunis with artificial eyebrows and a chin. It looks fake and awkward.
Theodora also turns down Evanora’s offer of a charm to make her appear hot again. Silly.
She makes some supposedly weighty comment about how she too believed in Oz once (when smack talking Glinda). As in, like, yesterday? Ease up, bitch.
Mila Kunis can’t pull off the unbridled, soul-deep rage that Theodora is supposed to be expressing. She sounds like Emma Roberts trying to be totes evilz at the climax of Scream 4. I’m not convinced.
There’s a flurry of 3D bullshit during the tornado sequence.
Oh, and after her defeat by Glinda, Evanora turns into a withered old crone. Hopefully she can get her little youth crystal back for the sequel. Dat Rachel Weisz.
Reasons to watch:
Dat Rachel Weisz. Girl has barely aged a day since The Mummy. And she is fantastic as the snobbish, arrogant Evanora.
Michelle Williams is also impressive as the down-to-earth Glinda. She quickly realises Oz is a fraud, but does what she can to hellp him still fulfil the prophecy. And she puts aside her pacifism to take Evanora the fuck down when she needs to.
Mila Kunis looks great as pre-morph Theodora. And her relationship with Evanora feels genuine. I enjoyed Evanora’s manipulations. Mainly because it was so easy.
Evanora has appropriate reactions to Evil Theodora. She is clearly horrified by how severely the apple affects her, and is like “woah, dude.” She also starts to pout a bit when Theodora begins out evil-ing her. They’re a good couple.
James Franco has the affable loser thing all worked out. I don’t really believe him as the heroic leader Oz has to become, but I think that’s kinda the point.
He’s pretty keen on getting all that cash, too. Here’s the best line:
Finley: “And to think you almost killed Glinda for a bit of gold.”
Oz: “A bit? There were mountains of it, buddy.”
There were. Smaug would be jealous.
China Girl’s hometown is called China Town. I get it.
The CGI isn’t as disgusting as Alice in Wonderland. Thank god.
Theodora’s tears leave her face scarred. Bitch really is averse to water.
The citizens of the Emerald City turn on Evanora when she tries to execute Glinda, but Evanora don’t give a fuck. Because she’s a fucking rock star.
Oh, and Oz and Glinda hook up at the end. Good choice, bro.
For all its bland, PG Disney-ness, it’s still a fun, pretty ride. I was kinda hoping Evanora would break out those striped socks and ruby slippers, though. 3 out of 5 stars.