Saturday, March 16, 2013

Oz: The Great and Powerful

Oz: The Great and Powerful
     My summer movie season has gone off with a great and (literally) fantastical start! As a devoted fan to Frank L. Baum's classic "The Wizard of Oz" series, I was very excited to see this movie. I read most of the books when I was a little girl and of course who hasn't seen the 1939 Wizard of Oz with the beautiful Judy Garland?? I also love the 1985 movie Return to Oz, which was a classic in itself (except for the wheelers, those I could have done without).

     This movie is a prequel to the actual Wizard of Oz movie, where we basically meet the wizard, the witches, the people of Oz and everything that happened before Dorothy crash landed (on one of the three witches we meet) some twenty years later.

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Oscar "Oz" / The Wizard Of Oz
James Franco as Oscar/The wizard
     A magician, a con man, a cheat, and everything else one wouldn't expect a good leader to be; but Oscar or Oz as his friends call him, doesn't want to be a leader or even a good man, but a great man. To him, a great man is Houdini, the greatest magician in the world or Einstein, the greatest man of science. For Oscar, though, all he has is a hat and a bag of tricks in a low end circus in Kansas, not to mention a failing act and numerous enemies to deal with.

     When Oscar's friend and might have been love Annie reveals that she has accepted the proposal of John Gale, the magician realizes his only chance of happiness has slipped through his fingers. Now alone with no one else, but his hard working stage hand, Oscar faces a life that is lonely and meaningless. That is until...a tornado speeds into town and Oscar is caught up in it flying in a hot air balloon.

     When he thinks that his life might be over, Oscar wakes up to find himself in a strange and majestic world, known simply as Oz. He is overwhelmed by the beauty and color of the whole new world, but is even more overwhelmed by the beautiful woman he meets, Theodora. She believes him to be the prophesied wizard that would save Oz and bring it back to its glory.

     Theodora takes Oscar to the Emerald City where he meets her sultry older sister, Evanora who tells Oscar that to claim all that is in the Emerald City, he must find the wicked witch and destroy her wand. Sounds easy enough for him, but he was in for a big surprise.

     James Franco has always been a favorite actor of mine, ever since I saw him in Spiderman...ok, more like I've had a big crush on him for a long time...and he brought so much charm (no pun intended) and charisma to the role of the legendary wizard. He could go from playing a self-centered, narcissistic con-man, to a kind and generous leader. Oscar's journey is about a man longing for greatness, but to obtain, it he must learn that goodness is the strongest characteristic of all.

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Glinda, the Good Witch
Michelle Williams as Glinda, the Good Witch

     The protector and leader of the small and ordinary people of Oz, Glinda is the only person who sees Oscar as who he really is, a cheater and a liar. She can also see who he is meant to be as well, a leader and a good man who can redeem Oz from it's harsh ruler and bring it back to the kingdom that it once was under her father. Beautiful, but powerful, Glinda is loved by all her people who look to her to protect them from the harm of the wicked witch and she will stop at nothing to save her people from the powers of evil that threaten them.

     Gracious, winsome, and angelic, Michelle Williams was stunning and irresistibly beautiful in her role as the good witch, and Oscar's love interest. She had all the qualities and characteristics that the good witch of Oz should have, as well as a sharp and witty sense of humor. Glinda was an enchanting character from beginning to end.

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Theodora
Mila Kunis as Theodora
     The first face that Oscar meets and his warm welcome into Oz, which is saying much, since they are almost killed by the wicked witch's minions within the first three minutes of their meeting. Theodora believes that Oscar is their prophesied king. Although she is beautiful, Theodora is very naive and vulnerable and tends to think with her heart and not her head. She has an innocent soul and a gentle spirit, but even a spirit can break and as powerful as she can be, Theodora is no exception to heart ache and pain.

     Even though her character may seem somewhat ditzy in the beginning, Mila Kunis was wonderful with her performance as Theodora. She is an actress that can convey so many emotions with just one look. As the story progresses, so does Theodora's character, who learns the definitive difference between  greatness and goodness, love and hate, and revenge and forgiveness.

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Evanora
Rachel Weisz as Evanora
     The seductive and sensual witch of Emerald City, Evanora is the counselor to the king and the regent leader until the unknown Wizard comes into being. Fiercely protective of her younger sister, Evanora gives the appearance of being compassionate and loving, but as witch she is very good with appearances and can even fool her own family. She is cunning and deceitful and can fool her sister, the wizard, and the people, but Glinda who sees through her act and who Evanora herself is eager to destroy.

     Rachel Weisz was as lovely as ever playing the stunning witch of Emerald City. Not only was she beautiful, but she gave the performance of a very intelligent witch that had spent a good amount of time plotting and planning for the wizard's arrival.

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Finley & China Girl
Finley (voiced by Zach Braff) and China Girl (voiced by Joey King)
     The wizards two unlikely companions. A talking, flying money dressed like a bell hop who desperately wants a friend and a cracked china doll who has lost her family and home, due to the wizard's arrival to Oz. Oscar doesn't see any potential in either one of them, but as time goes on they, like the rest of Oz, surprise him with their inner gifts and strengths.

     Finley (voiced by Zach Braff): A generous and fun loving monkey who finds himself in trouble upon meeting the wizard. When Oscar frees him, Finley feels that he owes him a life debt offers him his service for whatever the great wizard asks. At first Oscar disregards the little monkey's offer, but then sees the potential that he has in getting the job done.

     Finely was the most lovable character in the entire film! I immediately fell in love with him! When you see flying monkey, you might immediately think, the witch's flying monkeys (hence the flying monkey joke in The Avengers), but sweet Finley is exactly the opposite.

     China Girl (voiced by Joey King): When her home is destroyed by the wicked witch, her family killed and her own two legs broken off, dear, sweet China Girl doesn't see any reason in going on. Until the wizard and Finley happen upon her and for the first time, Oscar shows a sign of decency and dignity by re-gluing her legs back on and helping her to walk again. Against Oscar's wishes, China Girl joins him and Finley in capturing the wicked witch and freeing Oz. Eventually, she becomes proof that the greatest of powers can be found in the smallest of people.

     Definitely a sweet addition to the storyline of Oz. China Girl is feisty and even a little argumentative with Oscar in the beginning, but her character (like Finley) grows and develops as the story progresses.

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The Wizard and the three witches of Oz
     Romantic, adventurous, mysterious and an all around entertaining film. The costumes were nothing short of exquisite and every character had their own individual style from Evanmora's glamorous beaded gowns to Glinda's simple flowing dresses (actually all her dresses resembled wedding dresses...). This movie really captured the essence of the magic and fantasy world of Oz...and hopefully, there may be a sequel to follow. It's truly a great movie to start off the summer movie season!

The Wicked Witch

2 comments:

  1. Ooh! I want to see this. It looks really good. I mean, I loved Alice in Wonderland, and it just reminds me of it. Should be fun. Can't wait to watch it! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Looking forward to seeing this one. Despite critics claiming it's "sexist," it looks like fun.

    ReplyDelete

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