Oz the Great and Powerful: Disney, I'm not impressed!
Oz didn't live up to its potential; that's something you rarely expect from Disney.
So Oz the Great and Powerful is out! Sam Raimi’s Oz serves as a prequel to the Wizard of Oz, so don’t expect to hear of Dorothy or of her faithful compatriots, the scarecrow, the tin man or the lion.
The reason for this is that Disney does not have the rights to portray any of the characters or mention those infamous red shoes in this movie, as they belong to Warner Brothers.
The story revolves around a young and enterprising conman (magician) who goes by the name of Oz (James Franco). A series of philandering events lead him to jump on a blimp as a means of escape, which causes a tornado and that lands him bang in the middle of the magical land of Oz.
Here, along with a host of other characters, he is introduced to three witches. The sexy Theodora (Mila Kunis), the radiant Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and the effervescent Glinda (Michelle Williams).
(Rachel Weisz as Evanora)
Not even the magical mirror could tell “who the wickedest of them all” was. This was definitely a good twist in the tale.
(Mila Kunis as Theodora)
The one part where Sam Raimi excels in is bringing characters from Oz's time in Kansas and translating them brilliantly in his own fantasy land. However, it’s his lead actors that severely let him down.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
James Franco is disingenuous at best. At no point does one feel the urge to root for him, or feel taken up with his feigned eccentricities. Mila Kunis’s biggest contribution to the tale is her looks and later transformation into the wicked witch! Rachel Weiz is just ordinary and I believe any of Hollywood’s props could have done a similar, if not better job.
(Michelle Williams as Glinda)
Through Michelle Williams, the audience gets a glimpse into how ‘great’ Oz could have been if the rest of the cast mirrored her brilliance. The lawyer aspect of her character is surely something to marvel at; it doesn’t say much about the two computer generated characters. Finley (the monkey who is voiced by Zach Braff) and a girl made of china (voiced by Joey King) are far more engaging than any of their human counterparts.
(The monkey and the china girl)
Sorry, Sam Raimi! I wasn’t impressed.
All in all, Disney would probably consider around 177 million dollars from the US box office justification enough for adding Oz to the pantheon of series they currently hold the rights to. It is, after all, a numbers game.
If they pay for it, we will make it.
I, for one, would be quite happy if they cash in their chips and call it a day on Oz!
Read more by Shehan here, or follow him on Twitter @ShehanRayer