OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL!
I loved every minute! It almost felt like I watched the original Wizard of Oz all over again, it felt just as child-like and magical, but, it sure wasn’t the same. It was darker, more mature and not as sweet, innocent, or naive as Dorothy, since this wizard has been around the block a few times. The cinematography was absolutely stunning, so beautiful, especially in Real 3D. I don’t know why anyone would have a hard time watching such a lovely movie, unless they’re hardened or jaded by the original.
We start out at in Kansas, 1905, and you’re introduced to the wizard, Oscar, the money-hungry trickster who they call Oz. He’s pulling circus craft, and as James Franco, he’s much cuter than the old man. He has quick love affairs, gets booed off stage when appearing a fake & then forced to run away when he owes a big guy some money. To escape a beating, he jumps in his balloon and is taken by the storm. Caught in the twister, he begs for his life, asking for mercy, because he’s not ready to go and really wants to change to be a better man, and that’s when everything stops mid-storm and he’s flown out to Oz.
Just as the original, it’s all begins in a small black & white screen and as he lands and see’s Oz for the first time, the screen opens widens & the changes into fantastically bright, vivid colors. He immediately meets Theodora (Mila Kunis – who can do no wrong in my eyes, I have loved her since That 70s Show), who battles between being a good bitch & a bad bitch. The other sister, Evanora (Rachel Weisz), is the fiercest & truly evil. Then, there’s Glinda (Michelle Williams), the good witch, who lives in the Dark Forest because the overall power of her 2 sisters keeps her light at bay. Still, she shines & has faith in the wizard, who everyone believes is their savior. He’s the one of who the land has spoken, but he’s not completely convinced in himself so that’s part of his journey, to find faith in himself.
Oscar makes his way through Oz, like Dorothy, and in some regards, the storyline is very similar, mirroring the original version & journey, and people along the way, comparing with characters in Kansas. He meets Finley, a small flying monkey that was like his assistant in Kansas, then China, a little fierce porcelain girl with cracked feet, who resembled the girl in a wheelchair he couldn’t help in Kansas, and his old flame turns out to be Glinda. Finley vows to do anything he needs & China is tiny, so cute, has the biggest heart, and she’s a hot mess. There aren’t many, if any, musical numbers and that was fine with me. Also, some ideas couldn’t be replicated so you’ll see no ruby slippers here. The head munchkin was a small, sassy, black man, who gives the movie some edge and they all gather to get the bad witch using their skills and the wizard’s tricks. Besides, they think he’s the great one that came to rescue Oz, and in fact he is, he just needs to believe it for himself, while keeping the spirits of the people up. He wants to be good but not always certain how and he’s inspired throughout the way. There is a lot that circles back to the 1939 classic, but you don’t have to watch the original to understand. You also get to see how cool the smoke machine works, on a grander level, and how things transpire.
With that, and all those comparisons, you still can’t compare everything you see. If you keep an open heart & mind, and try to bias free and allow yourself to, you will certainly enjoy Oz. I read more negative reviews than positive going in so I wasn’t sure what to expect but I just couldn’t pay attention to any of them. I trust my own judgment and have plenty of my own thoughts. I have seen them all play better roles, but I still think the actors did well. Just for the look alone, this movie will be a classic. It’s visually spectacular with and best seen in 3D in the movies while you still can. It’s delightful, enchanting, captivating, funny, great for kids and adults, and like so many movies in our lives, plays on the age old theme of good vs. evil. Even with the themes playing out in our world today, fakes & phonies, political systems, the corrupt being exposed, and the darkness being brought to the light. After all, we all know that in the end… good always wins! Now run along and go see it, before someone drops a house on you!
One love, CJ