Oz: the Great and Powerful
James Franco stars as Oz: the Great and Powerful in a new twist or shall we say precursor to The Wizard of Oz fable with a story and film good enough to warrant a look.
Film making 3/5
Bonus Features 3/5
Recommendation 4/5 Stars
Oscar Diggs is a sideshow magician in Kansas but soon finds that land has nothing to hold him when he is whisked to the Land of Oz. James Franco plays Oscar Diggs who finds himself right at home in the land of Oz much before Dorothy enters the same way he did.
Oz: The Great and Powerful is a setup to The Wizard of Oz and has several gentle hints about characters and events that unfold in the more common film about the land of Oz. The first one we get to see is the two princesses that help Oz to understand the land and what is going on form their point of view.
Oscar finds himself in the company of two women who proclaim him the wizard of prophecy that will rule the kingdom and all its riches. This sounds great to Oscar until he realizes that the two women may not be all that they seem.
Oscar develops a new outlook on what he wants to do when he meets up with citizens of Oz and finds them the real people that need his help. He uses his talents for misdirection and sleight of hand to fight the real evil of the land and free the citizens of Oz from the wicked witches.
We have all the right beginnings to a superb fantasy but things just do not click well enough at the beginning of the film. Oz: the Great and Powerful just lacks a cohesive something to bring it all together but we do get some of this toward the end just in time for the final credits.
The film works well but the acting just lacked the smart rhetoric or the correct pointed direction needed to engage and grab audiences. Oz: The Great and Powerful will go down in history as yet another take on a popular and well done film series that just did not live up to the original.
Oz: the Great and Powerful comes on Blu-ray with a great if a bit too colorful digital transfer that after the black and white section dazzles. Colors are subject to overly bright and fanciful spectacle that may seem a bit over the top most of the time.
The video for the Blu-ray movie is great but with the choice of such bold and dazzling colors the video can seem a bit overpowering. Audio is great as well with an over the top 7.1 DTS-HD master audio track that really makes use of the full sound field.
While the film may disappoint a bit the audio and video do make up for some of this with such a great job and attention to detail. I was very impressed with the films audio and video but with a film that just seemed to struggle to find its rhythm things turned out pretty piece meal.
Bonus content on the Blu-ray edition includes iPad’s second screen experience, an hour and a half making of and behind the scenes features along with a blooper reel. Most of the content is great but the second screen would be more welcome if you could use any tablet instead of just an iPad or a full computer.
The bonus features are great but just shy of what it takes to really stand out while the film itself is well worth a look. I would recommend this for any collection containing any Oz films just because but a rental may be in order for the curious.