Friday, June 14, 2013
Movie Review: Oz the Great and Powerful
I didn't realize until the opening credits that it was directed by Sam Raimi (although I was wondering that when I saw Bruce Campbell's name in the credits). I wonder if this is the first move Raimi has directed not to have the 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 in it. I have liked the movies I've seen directed by Raimi, mostly the first Spider-Man movies (I have seen Army of Darkness, too). And in Oz he gave us a film both visually beautiful and full of wonder, with plenty of humor thrown in. The filmmakers used their CGI to great effect. I often found myself thinking, "That's gotta be CGI but I believe what I'm seeing is real." And for a lot of the movie I just stopped worrying what was CGI and what was real. The hot air balloon in the tornado was an exception. I thought "That's CGI and it looks fake, like the balloons in Spider-Man 2."
The opening scenes are in 1903 (if I remember right) Kansas and are done in black and white (almost sepia tone) and 4:3 aspect ratio. When Oz (a nick name for Oscar Diggs) arrived in Oz (the place) the screen went wide (2.4:1? There were letterboxes on the top of bottom of my 16:9 television screen) and the scene melted into color. It was artistically done and I backed up to watch it again to take it all in. But while the film was visually stunning, somehow I was left feeling empty. Oz's transformation from a con artist/magician to a man who could take on the two wicked witches didn't seem genuine. You never saw the moment that changed him. Just suddenly, he was a good guy. All the actors did fairly good jobs in their roles and there were some unexpected twists. But some "twists" were predictable, too.
But, it's still a very good and very pretty movie and fun to watch. Like I said: 3.5 stars.