Movie Review: Oz The Great And Powerful

Creating a prequel to The Wizard Of Oz was always going to be a difficult task, with Wicked already in the world, but the creators of Oz: The Great And Powerful still tried. And trying is about all I can commend them for.

I am going to put my extreme bias on the table from the beginning: I think Wicked is pretty much the greatest invention ever (second only to the Deep Fryer). So, any prequel to The Wizard Of Oz that attempted to revise the Wicked-Canon was always going to be an issue for me.

Still, I finally got around to seeing Oz: The And Powerful, and went in with an open mind. And honestly, even if I had never heard of Wicked, I still would have found the film bland and slow. I completely lost interest about fifteen minutes in, and there were about two moments through the rest of the film that momentarily grabbed it back.

I adore character study (it’s one of my units at Uni), so that was my first problem with Oz. The characters were so…boring. They were entirely 2D and cliches of themselves. Glinda was too good. Oz tried to hard to be the dodgy conman and ended up completely lost. I don’t understand the purpose of the China Doll. At all. And Theodora (aka “Elphaba” in Wicked) had none of the depth and all of the uncalled for cruelty. It was a swirling mess of confusion and actors who just seemed to have no idea what they were meant to be doing.

To be fair to the actors, I think most of the problem lay in the plot (or lack thereof). What I grasped was that there had been a prophecy that a guy called Oz would arrive in Oz and be a wizard that would save them all. And then our Oz arrived but he doesn’t think he’s the Oz, but pretends to be anyway (promise of mounds of gold, yay!). And there’s some witches who need killing. And it just kind of dragged from there.

Of course, as a prequel, anyone who had seen The Wizard Of Oz knew the limitations that were in place for how the film could end. And often prequels still mange kick ass plots and endings. But, to me, the ending of Oz doesn’t even make total sense for the original story. If you squint it might, but it’s not a brilliant tie-in.

Zach Braff was an (the only) occasional breath of fresh air, but even his character was a tired cliche of sidekickness 99% of the time.

I tried to like Oz: The Great and Poweful, I truly did, but it just fell flat. It would have been easier for all viewers if Oz’s hot air balloon had just been destroyed in the tornado (part of me thinks it was, and the whole film was his kind of post-death world, like Dorothy’s experience in Oz was a dream).

It’s been in cinemas for a while, and if you haven’t already seen it, trust me when I say don’t bother.

Rating: 2/5
Distributor: Disney

frangipani princess xoxo

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