CHESTERTON | On this rainy Sunday afternoon, I became part of a two-hour journey through dull, black and white Kansas, then came face to face with the vivacious colors and creatures of Oz. The theater was packed and filled with eager movie-goers; their energy was magnetic and contagious. Directed by Sam Raimi, known for 'Spiderman,' the 'Evil Dead' franchise, and for introducing audiences to the talented Bruce Campbell, (who happens to have a small role in the film-pay close attention to the Emerald City guards), 'Oz: The Great and Powerful' is meant to be viewed on the big screen. The settings are beautiful, larger than life. The colors reach out and grab ahold of your complete attention.
James Franco plays the Wizard of Oz; his performance was lackluster at best. He tried to be dramatic in many moments, only to come across with having a seriously bad case of overacting. Luckily for him, the performances of Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, and Michelle Williams as the three Witches of Oz, are heartfelt, energetic, and wonderful. What surprised me were the performances by the two characters who were not human, but CGI: Zach Braff as the loyal, flying monkey Finley, made the audience laugh out loud and wipe away tears from its eyes and Joey King as the China Girl, whose spirit and bravery from an easily breakable character was strong and unwavering.
For me, one of the most touching moments in the movie was as the con-man wizard, back in Kansas, only concerned with money and deception, is asked by a young girl in a wheelchair to use his great powers to be able to walk again. Of course, beyond his power, he gives an excuse for why he can’t help her, instead of coming clean about his abilities, angering the crowd. Moving forward to the parallel scene once he’s in Oz, when he first comes across the China Girl, she cannot walk because her legs are broken after a violent attack from the Wicked Witch’s flying baboons. Still a con-man, Oz finds glue in his trusty bag of tricks, calls it magic, and fixes her legs, thus helping her to walk again.
From the trailers of the film, the audience is left in the dark as to the identity of the Wicked Witch of the West. However, it’s pretty apparent soon after the movie starts who she is…and her performance was absolutely terrifying. The final confrontation between good and evil will leave you on the edge of your seat.