Oz the Great and Powerful, 2013

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Last night I went to see Sam Raimi’s Oz the Great and Powerful, which is why my Tuesday post is now being done on Wednesday. I wanted to wait until I’d seen the film so I could write about a movie straight after seeing it for once! But when I got home I just wanted to watch The Wizard of Oz (1939) and go to bed, so now Wednesday is Tuesday for this week. Ha. Anyway, onto my thoughts (or, more likely, feelings) on the film in question.

I enjoyed myself a lot with this film (as did my mother who I went to see it with) but I’m not sure it wowed me. I felt it played it safe in a lot of ways and I left feeling ‘whelmed’ yet still happy in the way a good film makes me happy on the whole*.

Visually it was nice if quite obviously fake and overwhelming in parts (felt a bit like Wonka’s chocolate factory at times to me) but CGI and what-not aside it was the costumes that captured me the most. Oh, and that pretty pretty fog. But, in all seriousness, the costumes (designed by Gary Jones) were gorgeous. And I’ve just realised that Theodora’s (Mila Kunis) first costume was a bit Carmen Sandiego.

OZ: THE GREAT AND POWERFUL

Mila Kunis as Theodora and James Franco as Oz.

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Michelle Williams as Glinda.

Something about this photo makes me think of Ridley Scott’s Legend. Anyone else?

Character-wise I adored China Girl (I wonder if this has anything to do with being a doll collector?) – I’ve read her described as creepy but she was just so lovely if bordering on twee. OK, it may have been more that I loved her character design than the character itself. I’d completely forgot about the china village/county in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (book) as it’s been years since I read it but I appreciate its inclusion here. And Rachel Weisz as Evanora was definitely the most solid of the three witches (which, from the few reviews I’ve read, seems to be a popular opinion). You can tell she had a lot of fun with that role. Williams was very good, too, and whilst I don’t think Kunis was as weak as some reviewers do she probably wasn’t on-par. But still managed to make me empathise with her character. And I think she was maybe stronger post-transformation? (Er, that may be a bit spoilery?)

I’m not sure what to say of Franco’s Oz/Wizard – I think his performance sums up how I felt about the whole film: it was good but not wonderful. I liked it a lot but there was just something lacking from the whole thing that would have had me practically jumping with glee otherwise (though there were definitely parts of the film that made me laugh out loud, that made me cry, etc.) Maybe it was because I had been excited about this film for over a year. Who knows? But I’ll be watching the film again and no doubt buying it on DVD, too, if only to drool over it aesthetically.

Other points that tickled me: Michelle Williams as Annie in the Kansas segment, possibly meant to be Dorothy’s mother and Bruce Campbell as a Winkie guard. I somehow missed Ted Raimi’s cameo, though! Bah.

And something you don’t need to know: I think seeing this after watching Meek’s Cutoff the other night may have sparked the need for a Michelle Williams marathon too. She is one of my favourite actresses and I’ve been meaning to see as many of her films as possible. So maybe you will see another actor obsession post soon if it turns into anything like my James Spader marathon!

*Even though I’m not in Europe. Heh.

**I should add that I saw it in 2D because I am poor, etc., so some parts were a little odd to watch as they were quite obviously filmed to take advantage of 3D.

P.S. Apologies to anyone who has possibly come here from Google looking for an actually decent review. You’ll probably never find that on this blog.

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