I liked “Oz the Great and Powerful” mostly because I am in the tank for director Sam Raimi and because my daughter and I have been reading the original L. Frank Baum “Oz” books. Those novels are a little darker and a little more cynical than the iconic film version of “The Wizard of Oz” so I didn’t find this movie to be as jarring as some people did. The movie isn’t as great and powerful as the title suggests, but it doesn’t suck either.
Also out on DVD an epically terrible fairytale flick and The Rock goes all method.
Telling the story of how the Wonderful Wizard of Oz (James Franco) came to the enchanted land, this movie is pretty to look at and moves along at a fast enough pace that we don’t have time to think about how ridiculous it all is. Plus the actress trio of Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, and Michelle Williams take that whole “good witch/bad witch” question to a whole new level.
Probably the smartest thing the witches of Oz did was to stay out of this movie. Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton play grown-up versions of the Hansel and Gretel of fairytale lore who now spend their days rolling from town to town as hardcore witch assassins. Believe it or not, it’s actually worse than it sounds.
No one will ever confuse Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson with a great actor, but the dude is charming and he at least tried his best in this story of a dad going undercover to get his wrongly-jailed son’s sentence reduced. Fortunately, Dwayne has a talented enough supporting cast including Susan Sarandon, Barry Pepper, and Jon Bernthal carrying the weight to make this movie somewhat interesting.