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Oz the Great and Powerful (2013) Review

Few films have enjoyed as much recognition and popularity throughout history as The Wizard of Oz.  Even with a notable group of naysayers, the 1939 release is still regarded as a classic and mandatory viewing for anybody.  Needless to say, any sort of follow-up would pretty much be set up for disappointment, and in 1985 the Return to Oz didn’t leave too much of an impact.  At least, not in the long run.  It’s probably even of less surprise then, that a prequel of sorts released this year will suffer the same fate.

Things start well enough with the eye-catching opening credits and a classic, black-and-white look as we’re introduced to James Franco’s Oz.  While it isn’t entirely clear at first, his Oz is actually a tough character to get behind.  We know from the trailers that he’s an everyday magician and essentially becomes a conman when he arrives in Oz.  The problem isn’t that he’s a liar, but that he oftentimes basks in his own ego, exudes a sort of snobbiness and a general lack of concern.  This isn’t just a concern in the opening act, it stretches throughout the entire film.  He almost comes off like an anti-hero, but this isn’t in-line with how his character is necessarily supposed to come off.  There’s just a lack of sympathy due to his general lack of sympathy (with a couple exceptions).

Another problem arises literally right when Oz lands in, well, Oz: Oz itself.  If you want to know the final word on how Oz looks and feels, it’s colorful but artificial.  If nothing else, Oz should be a bit of a visual spectacle, but it’s a little tough to feel brought in when so much is clearly CGI.  There are actual sets and everything isn’t as abused as, say, the Star Wars prequels, but throughout the movie I was saying “this is to The Wizard of Oz what the prequels are to Star Wars.”

Now, I’m not one who decries every little aspects of the Star Wars prequels.  Likewise, I wouldn’t say Oz the Great and Powerful is devoid of good points.  The first 20 minutes are a solid way to start the film; it’s nostalgic, a good touch base with the characters and again, we get nice opening credits.  One of the characters, a porcelain doll, is a clear highlight of the film and probably the closest it comes to actual emotion.  I mentioned above how Oz’s character left me with a cold shoulder save for a few parts; his interactions with the doll comprised most of those.

But even when talking about what worked well, it’s so easy to get back to what doesn’t work.  Both Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz feel like they were written off for silliness and, if not that, then the costume design, make up and effects accomplish just that.  There are also some sharp plot holes when taking The Wizard of Oz into account, ranging from details such as why the characters are written the way they are, to the actual existence of the story itself.  There’s potential to explain this in a sequel, but that’ll be a tough bridge to connect.

Oz the Great and Powerful has a few neat ideas in place, but ultimately stumbles with inconsistencies as abundant as its own color spectrum.  Even the potentially invigorating moments merely instill a sense of superficiality.  Oz has a small assortment of tricks up his sleeve, but only a couple of them are actually pulled off.

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Quote Review: Rock of Ages (2012)

“This place is about to become a sea of sweat, ear-shattering music and puke.”

Here’s a film so shamelessly cheesy that it makes one of those gargantuan pizzas you find in a city like Orlando seem nutritious by comparison.  Never mind leave standards and plausibility at the door, this is the type of movie you enjoy after too many drinks on a Saturday night.  But if you need your 80’s music fix with some sort of a story attached, then step forward!

 
 

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Quote Review: Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

“Careful, humans don’t like smart ape.”

Though still under a ‘suspension of disbelief’ field, Rise of the Planet of the Apes does an incredible job at utilizing potential which, frankly, doesn’t seem present or possible. The amount of investment and care which the film offers to its viewers is leagues beyond what many acclaimed dramas can accomplish. Tense, gradual build-up to the continually gripping action scenes within the last half hour also helps it feel that much more rich with content. In all, it’s another huge surprise for the summer of 2011 and is among the best that the year has to offer.

Did you enjoy Rise of the Planet of the Apes?  Leave your thoughts and comments below!

 
 

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Quote Review: The Hangover Part 2 (2011)

“You totally butchered my life.”

What ruins The Hangover Part 2 isn’t the fact it’s essentially the same concept, but that so little works even on its own level. The attempts made at humor almost always fall flat, and a generally serious tone only make enjoying this film all the more challenging. A handful of humorous moments aside, this is a complete waste.

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2012 in Film Review, Movie Review

 

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Quote Review: The Lion King (1994)

” A king’s time as ruler rises and falls like the sun.”

It’s been 17 years and The Lion King still holds up well, like most (if not all) of Disney’s other, older films. The coming-of-age and self-acceptance tale still gives us a terrific balance of comedic and serious moments. In regards to the recent 3D release, there are a few excellent shots that any avid viewer or fan of the film is bound to appreciate, but it hardly does more than give the film more visual depth. Regardless, The Lion King remains a Disney staple which is bound to continue entrancing viewers of all ages.

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2012 in Film Review, Movie Review

 

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