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March 18, 2013 | by  | in Arts Film |
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Oz the Great and Powerful

 — 40 — 

FILM

Director Sam Raimi takes us back to the magical world of Oz with this fantasy prequel, which tells the story of a magician coming to terms with the greatness he finds unceremoniously thrust upon his shoulders. Inspired by the L. Frank Baum novels, this is a family-friendly adventure that may please younger audiences but left me feeling completely underwhelmed.

The visual effects and landscapes are a joy to behold, but that fails to hide the film’s fundamental problems. Despite its beloved source material, Oz the Great and Powerful is completely charmless and unimaginative, thanks to a bland storyline that fails to excite or intrigue. The talented trio of Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams all provide glimmers of entertainment as the three Witches, with Williams in particular excelling as Glinda, the Good Witch of the South. However, they cannot prevent the movie from drowning in a sea of humourless mediocrity. The dialogue is leaden, and despite a promising opening sequence in Kansas, once we reach the glittering land of Oz the dazzling CGI backdrops are all there is to hold the audience’s attention.

One of the main problems is James Franco. As small-time magician Oscar Diggs, he lacks the charisma and personality to carry this film. By the third act, I found myself struggling to care too much about the fate of his character, a damning indictment on the script perhaps, but also a result of his failure to deliver anything more than a smug or wry grin as events unfold.

Oz the Great and Powerful may well pack a punch at the box office due to its legendary brand and iconic world, but this visually stunning Disney fantasy ultimately fails to deliver.

Verdict: 3/5

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