Sunday, 10 March 2013

[Movie Review] Oz the Great and Powerful: Enough of Desserts, where is the Main Course?

Cast: James Franco, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz
Director: Sam Raimi
Genre: Fantasy and Fiction
Runtime: 2 hours and 7 minutes
Reviewed at: PVR, Udaipur.

Look, we have three hot-shot sorceresses, a con man illusionist from a carnival, a winged monkey, some dwarves and an utterly adorable china doll. Please, also allow this crew to chip in some jaw dropping CGI and a world so surreal that it carries the stamp of stuff dreams are essentially made of. 

Err, is something missing? Wait, I get it; a sense of storytelling.

It takes a considerable time to shake the aura of the visual splendor and the smoldering appeal that Oz the Great and Powerful casts around you. But, once you see past this curtain, you realize the potholes lying in the pavements of this kingdom. It is not that the potholes are frequent; it is just that, you expect more from such a wildly famous fable.

L. Frank Baum’s wizard character, Oscar Diggs (James Franco), who is a little apprehensive when it comes to morality matters, is a small time magician in a carnival in Kansas. When magically he gets to live in Oz, he comes across three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Glinda (Michelle Williams) and Evanora (Rachel Weisz) who are awaiting the arrival of a wizard that has been prophesized in a folk tale. No points for guessing, Oscar Diggs ends up being the wizard who is supposed to do away with the evil witch as well as transform into a better individual.

When Sam Raimi, who earlier directed the horror cult Evil Dead and then grabbed hold of the mega-blockbuster Spiderman franchise, was set upon to direct Oz, you knew you are in for firecrackers. What you did not expect was the humdrum execution of such an enthralling premise. Awkward temperament shifts along with some unintentionally funny acting also ruins the day for Sam Raimi as some characters feel terribly miscast.

What rescues this ship is its dazzling visual style and breathtaking CGI. Some movies are meant to be savored in 3D and this was one of them. With such awe-inspiring effects, you tend to get absorbed into the world quicker than you expect. Special cheers for the winged monkey and the china doll for being so warm and carrying a touch of genuine emotions throughout the movie. 

It is like having this spree of desserts only to realize that you have been robbed off the main course. Do not go searching for any latent self-realization undertones or any beauty-within-self templates; and you won’t come out disappointed for Oz the Great and Powerful is a visually gorgeous family ride with enough of wits and magnetism to swoon you into its magical world.

(first published in

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