When it comes to a particularly iconic movie or book, it’s so easy for a modern remake or prequel to be the make-or-break of the original. You’ve got so many people looking and waiting to pull apart every tiny detail that doesn’t go along with the original, and I feel like Oz the Great and Powerful was no different.
With that being said, it’s difficult to be critical and analytical of a movie that was just so darn enjoyable. Seriously. What are you supposed to talk about when everything — opening credits, the closing credits, the casting, the makeup, the visuals and even the dreaded fly-at-your-face 3D effects — was so perfect? For what it was, which was a PG-rated family movie and prequel to the original and equally family-friendly The Wizard of Oz, this movie was great.
So, instead of nitpicking and pulling apart why the movie wasn’t good, let me explain why it was so magical.
While nowhere near as complex as the plot in the novel-turned-musical Wicked, this movie actually had substance, which is something I really wasn’t expecting. You don’t expect a philandering, conniving, wannabe wizard from Kansas named Oscar “Oz” Diggs (James Franco) to be a deeply flawed, yet transformed character (unless, of course, you compare this flick’s final result with the character in the original). You also don’t expect the relationships between the three witches played by the perfectly-cast Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz to be so dynamic in a PG flick. And kudos for putting the old adage that “hard work pays off” into a movie in a non-cheesy way. Well done, Sam Raimi.
Normally, I hate 3D movies. As an occasional glasses-wearer, going to 3D movies can be a bit of a pain. Personal preference aside, I think the forced effects of things flying at your face just to make the hike in the ticket price worthwhile (I know some other Filles share similar opinions on this) is really lame. However, the 3D actually fit this movie well. The backdrops to this flick were so vivid, colourful and magical that the 3D aspect just enhanced that. Even though some pitchforks came flying at my face at one point, everything else was well done that I couldn’t even be that mad.
I’ve already touched on how well-cast this movie was, but what fares for the rest of the characters? From the ensembles of Munchkins, Tinkers and Quadlings to the voices of reason who went alongside Oz (the wizard) on his journey, this troupe of characters was wonderful. And they even tied in characters from Oz’s old life in Kansas to his new life in the land of Oz, like they did with Dorothy in the original.
Go see this movie. Honestly, it was so great. I don’t give rave reviews often, but this flick is so deserving of it. If this is the standard set for movies in 2013, then the bar is set very, very high.
Ashley Kowalewski is an editorial assistant and freelance writer based in Toronto. She has enough nail polish to last a lifetime, reads too much for her own good, and is hopelessly in love with Matt Damon (and his bad movies, too). Follow her @AshKowalewski.