Review Roundup: Disney's OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL
Disney's fantastical adventure imagines the origins of L. Frank Baum's beloved wizard character. When Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he's hit the jackpot-fame and fortune are his for the taking-that is until he meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone's been expecting.
Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity-and even a bit of wizardry-Oscar transforms himself not only into the great and powerful wizard but into a better man as well.
Below, check out what critics have to say about this latest look into the magical land of Oz!
Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly: Unfortunately, unlike in the far better Broadway spin-off Wicked, the female leads remain fairly one-note. As does Franco (who is as prolific as ever. Setting off on the yellow brick road to steal the mysterious Wicked Witch's wand (and become a better man in the process), the actor lacks the humor, charm, and gee-whiz wonder we're meant to feel as he trades wisecracks with a flying monkey (Zach Braff, channeling Nathan Lane), rescues a porcelain China Girl (Joey King), and soars above a field of poppies in a giant soap bubble. If he's not enchanted, how are we supposed to be?
Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: The movie's weaknesses and strengths are captured by James Franco, as the carny magician who departs 1905 Kansas to play that great Orpheum circuit in the sky, otherwise known as the Land of Oz, reachable only by tornado. Franco, who can be great fun on screen, is capable of many things. Rhetorical flourish and theatrical brio aren't two of them.
Matt Patches, Hollywood.com: Despite looking like a spiritual sequel to 2010's Alice in Wonderland and sending every punctuation stickler into a tizzy, the Wizard of Oz preboot Oz the Great and Powerful works magic on the big screen. Director Sam Raimi (Spider-Man) fixes all of Alice's mistakes, fluffing up the eye-popping CG decor with bright colors and fueling his fairy tale adventure with a good deal of soul.
Roger Ebert, Rogerebert.com: Some of the surprises in "Oz the Great and Powerful," the much-anticipated "Wizard of Oz" origins movie, are delightful. Others, however, sink the movie just below the point of recommendation, with the primary drawback falling on the lovely shoulders of Michelle Williams and Mila Kunis, as early versions of Glinda the Good Witch and the Wicked Witch of the West, respectively.
William Bibbiani, Craveonline: I've lost track of how many times I've badmouthed 3D over the last couple of years. It's not like I have a fundamental problem with the technology. It doesn't bother me to see a movie in 3D. I don't even get headaches the way some people do, although it's pretty uncomfortable to wear those clunky glasses over my own spectacles. The problem I have with 3D is that, with only a few minor exceptions, I've never really seen a 3D movie that's actually "better" for having been made in 3D. Until now.
Tom Charity, CNN Entertainment: The new "Oz" falls short of the 1939 "Oz" in charm and innocence, and certainly in songs (there is only one, a brief, jokey number from the Munchkins). But as family entertainment, it's hard to fault such a rapturous spectacle and astute, suspenseful piece of storytelling.