Movie News

Sunday, March 3, 2013

No Disrespect to the Original, but OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL Looks Awful

So it looks like Dan has thrown the first grenade in our friendly new joint venture by tossing me under the bus over The Wizard of Oz. I stand by my tweet 100%, so allow me to mount my defense:

First things first, I do not “hate” The Wizard of Oz.  I recognize and respect its lofty place in film history and will even go as far to declare it one of the most important films ever made. And of course I have seen the film many times (we had it on VHS growing up, Dan and I even saw it together in film class), but to be honest, it is just not a film I ever really enjoyed watching. If it comes on TV (which is does, often), I have no real desire to sit down and watch it. But that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate it and it certainly doesn’t mean I should be looking forward to this bright and colorful, cash-grab of a Disney “prequel.” In fact, if I did love the Wizard of Oz, I think I would be even more annoyed and disinterested in Oz The Great and Powerful.

My problems with this whole situation stems almost exclusively from new movie Oz, The Great Powerful, not the original. Dan himself points out several key factors of the film that everyone should worry about, including the sugar-coated look and the wild card cast.

I know Burton’s Alice in Wonderland made millions and millions of dollars (and I am sure Oz will too), but did anyone actually like that movie? Now this new film takes one of the best and most unique aspects of the original movie (the transition from black-and-white to color) and turns it up to 11 for no other reason than they the fact that they can. Is a complete CGI background with live actors really what people want? And it’s not like the animation is going to be particularly great or game-changing, but from a Disney company still reeling from the massive disaster of John Carter and more concerned with bright colors, cute animals, and marketable products than story and effects.

Next up, we have the cast. As pointed out by Dan, James Franco can be great sometimes, other times he can downright smug and annoying. He appears to be horribly miscast in this role; he is not a family-fun actor and should probably stick to making documentaries about art and pornography rather than trying to make it as a big name box-office draw. Mila Kunis, like Franco, is enjoyable for the most part, but if she doesn’t turn out to be the Wicked Witch it will be a confusing waste. And as for Michelle Williams (despite being perfectly cast, apparently as the Good Witch) and Rachel Weisz (who would make an even better Wicked Witch), I really have no idea why these two powerhouse, Oscar-winning actresses are even in this movie, other than to make something their own little kids can watch. On the other side of the camera, was Sam Raimi the right choice to direct? Spider-Man is one thing, The Wizard of Oz is another. His horror-comedy sensibilities just don't seem like a fit to me. And don't even peek at the other films the screenwriters have worked on.

And finally, regardless if I am a Wizard of Oz fan or not, does anyone honestly think that this new film will be even remotely worthy of such true Hollywood classic? Why are people giving Oz, The Great and Powerful a free pass when most are so willing to attack Hollywood for being unoriginal and re-hashing proven franchises or producing countless sequels/prequels, much less one of such a universal classic? And isn’t it just kind of ripping off the popularity of the Wicked books and musical? (Haven’t seen or read either, just seems pretty similar from what I have heard. I am sure Disney paid them off nicely).
Dan closes by saying “if Disney can revive 75% of the WIZARD'S shine, we are in for a real treat.” Well I don’t even think they can reproduce even 50%. Look, I am not wishing any ill will towards the film. I hope it does do well, and I am sure it will, just don’t plan on seeing me lining up for it and certainly not shelling out premium prices for 3-D. No disrespect to the original, but Oz, The Great and Powerful just looks awful.

And Dan, I'll be waiting patiently for your call after you go and see this non-sense, eager to hear your thoughts.

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