Well, as usual, the movie front has been slow this year in January through March. Number one on the money charts though is the new Oz film, Oz, the Great and Powerful. I should preface this review with the admission that I am a sucker for prequels. I just really like seeing origin tales (unless it is a Wolverine movie made by FOX).
I went into the theater with a bit of skepticism. I had heard that Franco did a poor job, that the film really wasn’t that great, but I’ll say this. It was entertaining. Sure the acting wasn’t the best I’ve ever seen, although I did warm up to Franco, and some of the special effects were too obviously greenscreened (though I hear it was much better in 3D), but I liked the story, and it was a solid prequel, with references to lions, and scarecrows and even the Gales. I also enjoyed the L. Frank Baum Easter eggs.
I also found it interesting that they left room for a movie in between this one and the arrival of Dorothy. The silver slippers need to get to the Wicked Witch of the East, and the flying monkeys (not baboons) need to be enlisted by the Wicked Witch of the West (I did think Mila Kunis did a good job playing her, considering the iconicness of the character). There is also the whole story of Nick Chopper, and how he was turned into tin, so there’s plenty to cover in another film.
Oz is a good popcorn flick, especially when we’re in the drudges of March (I saw it last week). It is a little cheesy, but if you can get over that, it’s an enjoyable film, especially when Oz reveals his “true form.”
Of course, if you’re really into Oz, feel free to pick up my new annotated edition of the original Wonderful Wizard of Oz. I took out all the modern edits and worked right from a first edition copy of the book, so it is great, and its full of footnotes that will help you learn more about Baum’s magical land.