‘Wizard of Oz’ prequel falls short acting-wise

Arguably one of the greatest films ever made, “The Wizard of Oz,” receives a prequel set 20 years before the events of the original masterpiece.

Before the days of Dorothy and Toto, “Oz the Great and Powerful” delivers a closer look at another important character who appeared in the original: Oz.

“Oz the Great and Powerful” stars Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a petty magician who finds pleasure in deceiving others and looking out for his best interests instead of others.

After a small show in Kansas, Oscar is whipped up in a massive tornado storm and soon finds himself in the Land of Oz.

Without a way to get back, Oscar also finds himself in the middle of a conflict between three witches: Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams). Oscar, while dealing with his own flawed personality issues, decides to bring peace back to the Land of Oz.

Even though “Oz” has a slightly different premise than “The Wizard of Oz,” the two movies also have their similarities.

When Oscar is in Kansas, for example, the film switches from 4:3 black-and-white aspect ratio to a colored film when Oscar arrives in the Land of Oz, much like what the original did. “Oz” is also just as vivid and colorful as the original, as many of the environments and visuals pop.

The visuals are by far the best that this new Land of Oz has to offer.

However, as much as the visuals impress, the exact opposite can be said of the story and script.

They’re not horribly done by any means, but they never feel as epic or grandiose as the original one had the luxury of delivering.

Part of this has to do with the acting. It’s neither bad nor good. It’s just mediocre at best.

There are too many trivial and tacky moments in this movie that it will persuade you into thinking it doesn’t take itself seriously at all.

Inserting some comedy in it wasn’t a bad idea, but it was poorly executed and seemed like it was added in a careless and hasty manner.

Even the talented  Franco isn’t enough to save the vast majority of mediocre performances that in some ways prevent this movie from becoming great.

Still though, director Sam Raimi and his filmmaking crew give us a solid prequel to a classic American film. “Oz the Great and Powerful” is anything but the title suggests it to be. It’s more like “Solid and Watchable” instead.

“Oz the Great and Powerful” is currently the No. 1 movie at the box office.



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