Science fiction and fantasy
Oz The Great And Powerful
by Sam Raimi
Like Dorothy, Oz gathers a number of strange companions as he travels up and down the yellow brick road. It's a tame, family-friendly story where there are armies but no on-screen bloodshed or deaths. The story is colourful in a very literal sense, but in terms of its humour and characters it's a bit bland. Tony Cox is mildly amusing as the indignant palace official Knuck, and Bruce Campbell has a slapstick cameo as a palace guard. Oz is selfish and thoughtless, although his flawed character is fine because the story is all about him trying to redeem himself and become a man worthy of people's faith in him. But a lot of the other characters are too one-dimensional to be interesting. This is particularly true of the warring witches and the nice, hard-working ordinary people.
The film ends with some pleasing effects and decent misdirection, which you would expect since it's about a wizard, and this is somewhat amusing. There are also some clues in this prequel that lay the foundation for The Wizard of Oz, so it's entertaining to spot these references, as well as the references to the writer, L. Frank Baum. However I wouldn't call this movie great or powerful, merely okay.
29th March 2013
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