Peter Suderman Reviews Oz the Great and Powerful


Reason Senior Editor Peter Suderman reviews Oz the Great and Powerful, director Sam Raimi's sorta-prequel to The Wizard of Oz, in today's Washington Times:

Let's start with the obvious: Sam Raimi's "Oz the Great and Powerful" does not even begin to compare with the timeless majesty of its 1939 predecessor, Victor Fleming's "The Wizard of Oz," which still ranks as one of the great big-screen fantasies.

The good news is that Mr. Raimi's movie doesn't really try — and, indeed, often seems charmingly aware of its own relative shortcomings.  

Technically speaking, Mr. Raimi's film is not related to Fleming's "The Wizard of Oz" at all: Instead, Mr. Raimi's movie is based on public domain material from the works of children's author L. Frank Baum.

Still, even if "Oz the Great and Powerful" is not legally a prequel, it serves much the same function, telling the story of how Oz (James Franco), a young magician and con-man from Kansas, ends up in a bright and mystical faraway world in need of saving. On his way, he meets a trio of witches (played by Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, andMichelle Williams), a flustered winged monkey (Zach Braff) and a tiny girl made out of china (Joey King). It's an origin story — a tale about how the Wizard of Oz became The Wizard of Oz.

Mr. Franco is an enjoyable, if understated, presence as Oz, who he plays as a sort of disaffected stoner. But it's Mr. Raimi who's the real star. 

Read the whole thing

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  1. I did not realize this was Raimi. I still won’t be going to see it. You see, Sam’s been directing about two things lately: Jack and shit, and Jack left town.

    1. Hate hate hate. I’m gonna see it.

    2. Should’ve been Bruce of Oz, with Bruce Campbell playing the wizard. I mean as Bruce Campbell.

  2. Am I the only one who never actually liked The Wizard of Oz? I remember being incredibly bored everytime I had to sit through it.

    1. Yes, yes you are

      It may not be the greatest movie of all time but it is pretty much unarguably in the top 20

    2. I’m with you, Wizard of Oz was incredibly boring.

    3. Do tequilla shots all afternoon and then watch it with your kids. It’s an entirely different movie.

      1. So, do the kids enjoy it more after they’ve had tequila shots?

        1. They’re quieter.

    4. Am I the only one who never actually liked The Wizard of Oz?

      You might be lonely, but you are not alone. I used to know a woman who thought I was quite the heathen for not liking it.

  3. I saw a sneak and liked it well enough.

  4. I’ll wait for it to be the movie of the week on the TV

  5. I bought tickets today to take the granddaughter this weekend. A movie and lunch at Golden Corral-I’m living large.

    1. You should let her get in on some of that chocolate waterfall thing.

  6. I’m confused. It’s the place that is called Oz so why are they calling Franco’s character Oz? So Franco is playing Oz of Oz? It’s like when people call the monster Frankenstein when that’s actually the name of the doctor. Want to dress as Frankenstein for Halloween, wear a lab coat.

    1. That’s in the source material. Oz is the name of the country. OZ is the name of the wizard currently ruling the country. OZ is short for OZPINHEAD, which in turn is short for Oscar Zoroaster Phadrig Isaac Norman Henkel Emmannuel Ambroise Diggs, his actual name.

    2. So the character is “OZ of Oz”.

  7. I’m with RBS. I’ve never cared for the Wizard of Oz. But it’s still miles above that other over glorified piece of movie trash, Gone With the Wind.

  8. my best friend’s sister got paid $18490 past week. she has been working on the computer and moved in a $584400 home. All she did was get fortunate and try the clues shown on this link and go to home tab….

  9. “Oz the Great and Powerful” is all smoke and no mirrors, no fantasy, just effects without affect. To be honest, more like Oz the Amiable and Un-threatening. The best, funniest Oz thing I’ve read lately is DA YELLER BRICK ROAD, a revisionist telling of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Uncle Remus. The conceit is it was originally by Remus (who didn’t exist) and then “borrowed and cleaned-up” by Baum. Hilarious and charming. All that “Oz the Great and Powerful” is not.

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