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Oz The Great And Powerful  : Not Greatly Magical
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Friday, March 8, 2013
Sam Raimi
James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams, Zach Braff and Tony Cox
Con-artist and magician Oz (James Franco) gets the shock of his life when he is transported from Kansas to the magical land of Oz.  The late king of Oz had prophesied that this magician would destroy the wicked witch and claim the throne. Greedy Oz is tempted by the offer of the throne in return for killing the witch, but there is more in store for him than he can imagine. Sam Raimi gives a completely new spin to the good old fairytale.
The plot: Conning people, flirting with women and cheating his way through life to achieve greatness, is all that Oz the circus-magician really does. When a hurricane hurls him into the magical land of Oz, his misdemeanor doesn’t change as the sight of a woman makes him slip into flirtatious mode. But he’s asked for it this time – the woman is Theodora (Mila Kunis), the witch.
Meanwhile, her sister, witch Evanora (Rachel Weisz), refuses to believe that this man is the prophesized magician and puts him to the test. She tells him what he wants to hear; that if he kills evil witch Glinda (Michelle Williams), he can have all the gold he wants. Blinded by greed, Oz decides to go look for Glinda with a flying monkey and a China girl for company (unlike the tin-man, lion and the scare crow).

But his encounter with Glinda the good makes him do a volte face. He joins forces with her in the battle of dark against light, evil against good. No prizes for guessing the winners.

The good: James Franco does a wonderful job. He is funny, quirky and kids will love him. Supporting him are the three beauties Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams, and all three spell magic. Not only do they look beautiful, their performances are impeccable too. Tony Cox as Nook the dwarf is memorable (remember him from Bad Santa, Disaster Movie and other films). John Papsidera’s casting decisions seem to be bang on.

Peter Deming’s cinematography takes you through this wonderland and you want to be a part of it. The animation and the visual effects add immense pleasure to the experience. Of all the animated characters, the talking-flying monkey and the China girl are the best. The music (Danny Elfman), not really memorable, goes with the mood of the film.

The bad:  Although visually alluring, it lacks the charm of the 1939 movie The Wizard Of Oz. Those who go expecting to meet the tin-man, the scare crow and the lion will be disappointed. The story is given a completely different spin, prompting the question, then why not a new magical place as well, if there is no connect to the original story except for the kingdom of Oz and the witch queen?

There’s science replacing magic, possibly for today’s audience, but that steals the whole point of going to the magical land of Oz. And it is tiresomely long at 2 hrs 10 mins. Like Dorothy of the original Oz movie says, ‘There is no place like home.’ There really is no place like home to watch this movie.

Overall:  It’s entertaining to a minor extent but majorly lacks the magic of The Wizard Of Oz.

Priyanka Ketkar

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