For Josh’s birthday, the Ipes decided to hit our nearest AMC dine-in theater to watch Oz: The Great and Powerful (2013), a prequel of sorts based on the L. Frank Baum books from the turn of the century, and also to the 1939 classic film The Wizard of Oz. Sam Raimi direct the film, and it stars James Franco as Oscar Diggs, Mila Kunis as Theodora, Rachel Weisz as Evanora, and Michelle Williams as Glinda. This is a Disney film, and it features a helluva lot of 3D. We opted not for the 3D, as the kids are always mucking around with their 3D glasses, so what’s the point?
Seeing the movie on a Friday night took some coordination. I parked my car in the morning at my usual station, but I had some afternoon meetings that could potentially impact my successful departure to make the train, drive back home, and jointly make the film at 7pm. Things didn’t work out, so we activated Plan B — I took the train to Metro Park (Edison, NJ), Nums and the kids pick me up from there, and we drive the 10 mins to the theater. At some point the next day, we would go to pick up my car.
So how’s the film? Meh. The film starts out in a similar fashion to the 1939 Judy Garland film. It begins in Kansas in black and white, and introduces us to James Franco’s Oscar Diggs charlatan/magician working at a travelling circus. He’s a crummy, sleazy sort of con man working for chump change, and romancing the small-town Kansas ladies as they travel from town to town. He eventually gets sucked into a raging tornado, and ends up in the land of Oz. He eventually meets all three witches during the course of the story. However, the audience is supposed to not know who eventually becomes the wicked witch of the West, but you kinda already do know. For most of the movie run time, James Franco’s Oz character continues to be slimey, a little whiny, and not someone you’d generally not like. It’s only tTowards the very end of the film does he magically change his disposition, and become a hero.
So, would I recommend this film? I don’t know. The film is visually very interesting. The colors, the design, and the parts that were likely 3D were all very good. The story is lacking, and I couldn’t care less for James Franco’s acting. I liked him recently in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, but in Oz? Meh.