Anyone who knows me knows that I see books and movies as small peepholes into vast worlds beyond the scope of the book or movie. To quote my youngest daughter, an aspiring author herself, “You can write about them (characters and the worlds they inhabit), you can even finish the novel or series, but they never leave you”.
I believe writers, like any other artist, be they sculptors, painters, singers, musicians, chefs, dancers etc, never actually finish their projects. Long after their books or scripts have been published or produced, writers still are thinking of new scenes they should have added, new dialogue, new character twists.
Why am I going on about all this? I am a huge fan of the classics. My girls are also fans of the classics with The Wizard of Oz being one of their favourites. For my eldest’s birthday, we got her Oz, The Great and Powerful.
I have to say, I was anxious to see it. It always thrills me when a director honours the original and tries to stick as close to cannon as possible. I wanted to see how they updated Oz.
Well, we just watched it and I have to say, James Franco’s performance as Oz made Keanu Reeves look like Sir Anthony Hopkins by comparison. Mila Kunis’s screeching was terrible and Rachel Weiss only marginally better.
It is a true mark of a film when aside from the venerable Bill Cobbs, but his screen time was too sparce, the CGI Flying Monkey was the best actor in the whole film.
The effects were… ok. Standard. The CGI was obvious (yes I know there is no such thing a real flying monkeys) and pulled me out of the film. I’ve seen better CGI than fit seamlessly. Yes the monkey was cute and the little china girl was absolutely adorable, but the fit and finish was off.
Visually it was stunning but I couldn’t help feel it was a copy of the much better film, Alice in Wonderland.
I loved the premise and if nothing else, this film made me want to go out and buy the whole L. Frank Baum series.
It looked and felt like it was created solely to showcase the 3D venue (which is what killed 3D it’s first and second times around). Make a good movie first and foremost, then make it fit the venue of choice. Kind of like writing, isn’t it?
I suppose that the rave reviews of Wicked had me hoping for more of the same with Oz the Great and Powerful, but it just ended up being cheap smoke and mirrors.
Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.