Thursday, April 11, 2013

Oz: The Great and Powerful

When I was a child I grew up watching "The Wizard of Oz" on VHS.  The first time I watched it however, my Dad was at work and my Mom was in the garden.  I was digging through the piles of VHS tapes and found it wondering what exactly it was.  I had seen clips of it, but had never seen the entire film.  So I climbed up on a chair and put the VHS tape into the machine and settled in on the couch to enjoy the movie.  With it starting in black and white I thought my parents were just really old, so I accepted it.  However, when Dorothy and the house land in Oz and everything is in color I honestly thought I broke the VHS machine.  I took a lot of joy watching that VHS recording over and over again through my youth.  Frequently whisteling the tune of the Scarecrow and of course the beautiful voice of Judy Garland. 

To my delight the visual elements of "Oz: The Great and Powerful" met every expectation I had with the exception of the make-up.  I found the land of Oz to be just as vibrant as ever with a playful element reminiscent of Wonderland.  Even the CGI used to create Finley the monkey (Zach Braff) and the China Doll (Joey King) was quite nice.  However, the make-up transformation of Theodora (Mila Kunis) into the Wicked Witch of the West was horrindous and reminded me more of Jim Carrey and "The Mask". 

The performances from everyone were absolutely on point I thought.  From Oscar "Oz" Diggs as a a womanizing con artist and magician who is part of a traveling circus isn't quite as bumbling as Frank Morgan was.  Mila Kunis so easily navigates between the cute and innocent girl from "That 70s Show" to the dark and mysterious dancer from "Black Swan".  Her transition from Theodora to the Wicked Witch of the West is done in much the same way.  By contrast Rachel Weisz as Evanora remains in the darkness the entire time while Michelle Williams is as luminescent as ever reminding me of her performance as Marilyn Monroe (without the drug use). 

One of the things that I always remember about "The Wizard of Oz" is how duality was used in telling the story and in the casting where almost every actor had a role in Kansas and in Oz.  I really wanted this to be part of the way the story unfolded for "Oz the Great and Powerful".  The only use of this duality was played out by Zach Braff being the assistant to Oscar.  It could have easily been done with the women Oscar talk to at the traveling circus becoming either the China Doll or one of the witches.  The strongman could have been one of the Emerald City henchman just as easily. 

I will admit that I wanted to like this film almost too much and while it doesn't dissapoint it also didn't deliver on all my hopes and expectations.  I am sure that by the end of the year it will unfortunately have forgotten about the film.  It didn't connect with my childhood as much as other films attempting to tell, or re-tell, a story have and falls as only a 3 Quack film for it visual brilliance and family film value. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...