A well-constructed story that builds a tale by introducing characters and layering them with flaws, good intentions and sometimes a lesson learned is what the original “Wizard of Oz” set out to do.
And achieved immortality in doing so.
With generations rooting for a high-tech version of the original masterpiece, this “Oz the Great and Powerful” is sadly a 25-watt story on a Times Square billboard.
How Hollywood makes its choices in casting for big events like this is anyone’s guess.
James Franco seems to be a left field choice for a blockbuster sequel. And the three leading ladies: Michelle Williams (Glinda), Mila Kulis (Bad Witch), and Rachel Weiss (Big Sis Bad Witch) all seem miscast here.
That any of their characters would find Franco’s loathsome “Oz” appealing, roguish or sexually attractive says instead two arms and a pulse will suffice. This Oz is a zero on every front.
That Disney Studios offers male characters anointed with zip redeeming qualities or values is troublesome.
The goal seems to be to instill in the young consciousness that men, no matter how “unappealing” intellectually, spiritually or physically are to be fawned over by beautiful women. Head scratching and not true. Even the outcome is a wink, wink. The good witch is really doing all work but it is made clear that she won’t be getting any of the credit.
The porcelain doll and monkey are conversely high points of animation and animatronics. The monkey’s facial movements are emotional and fascinating. But this film lacks the clever dialogue of a “Shrek” to drive it and again, the casting is a deal breaker.
The visuals seemed to simply coexist with a fractured, unremarkable story. When combined with the intention of providing a sequel to one of the few landmark films spanning generations — it is unfortunate indeed.