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44

Mixed or average reviews - based on 42 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 42
  2. Negative: 10 out of 42

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Bob Mondello
    Mar 8, 2013
    60
    Oz the Great and Powerful tells the story of how the Wizard came to Oz, answering a question I suspect no one was asking, but with considerable digital wizardry.
  2. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Mar 8, 2013
    60
    Is all of that to say that Oz the Great and Powerful comes even close to matching the timeless, iconic stature of 1939's "The Wizard of Oz"? No, of course not. That's not just a once-in-a-lifetime cultural phenomenon, but a once-in-many-liftimes one.
  3. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Mar 8, 2013
    60
    Whether you like this movie may depend very materially on how you respond to Franco himself, but I found his casting very astute.
  4. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Mar 7, 2013
    60
    Sometimes sweet, sometimes scary, sometimes sour, Oz the Great and Powerful is a film that doesn't know its own mind. A partially effective jumble whose elements clash rather than cohere, this solid but not spectacular effort stubbornly refuses to catch fire until it's almost too late.
  5. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Mar 6, 2013
    60
    It’s an earnest hope, to be sure, and the greatest strength of Sam Raimi’s imaginative, if highly uneven, take on L. Frank Baum’s series of children’s stories about that magical land over the rainbow is its unabashed sincerity.
  6. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Mar 6, 2013
    60
    This trip isn’t so notable. It’s not bad. Some bits are enjoyable. But ultimately, other than some genuinely impressive visuals, it never makes a compelling-enough case to justify its existence.
  7. Reviewed by: Neil Smith
    Mar 1, 2013
    60
    A lavishly mounted re-telling that, for all its good intentions and visual wonders, can’t help seeming surplus to requirements.
  8. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Mar 1, 2013
    60
    This elaborate exercise in visual Baum-bast nonetheless gets some mileage out of its game performances, luscious production design and the unfettered enthusiasm director Sam Raimi brings to a thin, simplistic origin story.
  9. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Mar 10, 2013
    58
    What we get here is Oz the Amiable and Unthreatening.
  10. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Mar 8, 2013
    58
    Raimi’s film is supposed to be about magic, but magic is in scant supply.
  11. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Mar 6, 2013
    58
    Much of Oz The Great And Powerful’s fate is tied to James Franco’s performance as Oz, and the center barely holds, with Franco often looking as overwhelmed by the task as he was by his hosting job on Oscar night.
  12. Reviewed by: Chris Nashawaty
    Mar 6, 2013
    58
    The film is stuffed with three endings too many. You can't blame Raimi for wanting to give us our money's worth. But after a while, you just want him to get to the Happily Ever After already.
  13. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Mar 8, 2013
    50
    The more suitably antic Robert Downey Jr. and Johnny Depp were considered for the part before Franco wandered into the picture with his stoner grin.
  14. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Mar 7, 2013
    50
    Saying that Raimi’s trip to Oz is adequate eye candy with a good heart isn’t the same thing as saying it’s actually good. I was charmed at some moments, profoundly bored by others and almost never felt genuinely excited or emotionally engaged.
  15. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Mar 7, 2013
    50
    Which is precisely what’s missing from Oz the Great and Powerful: that sense of emotional journey.
  16. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Mar 7, 2013
    50
    There's no Judy Garland songs, no Scarecrow, no Tin Man, no Cowardly Lion. There's also no simplicity, no magic, no truth.
  17. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Mar 7, 2013
    50
    Raimi, who launched his career with the cheapo horror mini-masterpiece "The Evil Dead" before helming the blockbuster "Spider-Man" trilogy, can’t infuse the story with much verve or joy.
  18. Reviewed by: Kevin Jagernauth
    Mar 1, 2013
    50
    A valiant attempt to build on the magic of “The Wizard Of Oz,” and while it certainly doesn’t diminish the standing of that movie, Sam Raimi’s film provides proof that the more we know about the mysteries of our favorite stories, the less interesting they become.
  19. 40
    Aside from a trio of witches that can hold its own with Eastwick’s in the dishiness department, Oz the Great and Powerful is a peculiarly joyless occasion.
  20. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Mar 8, 2013
    40
    A visually over-crammed, emotionally empty mega-spectacle on the model of Tim Burton’s "Alice in Wonderland."
  21. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Mar 1, 2013
    40
    A miscast James Franco and a lack of charm and humor doom Sam Raimi's prequel to the 1939 Hollywood classic. Oz the Wimpy and Weak would be more like it.
User Score
6.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 474 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 70 out of 155
  2. Negative: 35 out of 155
  1. Mar 8, 2013
    1
    It's March and there is finally a film released in 2013 that I was looking forward to going to the theater and watching. My expectations forIt's March and there is finally a film released in 2013 that I was looking forward to going to the theater and watching. My expectations for this film were not super high, I certainly would never expect it to live up to the original which is one of the greatest films of all time. I expected a respectable origin story, great visuals, and maybe a few easter eggs thrown in for fans of the original. With Raimi directing two of the better young actors working today, and two other more than capable actresses I didn't feel that my expectations were too high. I was blown away...with how poorly this film turned out.

    In two hours plus there is no story here that we don't already know from the original material, none, the screen writing couldn't possibly have been lazier. The acting is bad, soap opera bad. Some may possibly give Franco or Williams a pass because of the material. However no one will give Kunis a pass when she is transformed into the wicked witch of the west. If you need a reminder of how an over the top stereotypical witch should be played go back and watch a few minutes of Margaret Hamilton's version.

    There are several new characters introduced, as expected and as there should be. Unfortunately not one of them worked. Some are introduced for humor, some to tug at the heart strings, and some for plot devices. Not one of them is effective, and none of them are memorable.

    Probably most disappointing of all were the visuals of the film. I know the 1939 version probably doesn't actually look better, but the fact that I had that thought several times during the course of the movie gives you a glimpse into how poor the visuals were. The only exception was the opening credits and first 20 minutes of the film. All this was the black and white portion of the movie. These are the only moments where it is not obvious that the actors are on a sound stage going through the motions.

    The Wizard Of Oz was perfect family entertainment. Whimsical, humorous, frightening, and endearing. The characters were one dimensional, yes, but they were fun and we cared about them. Oz The Great And Powerful is none of these things. All I wanted was a glimpse back into aspects of the original. Instead I received my worst theater experience since Spiderman 3. Wait who was responsible for that one?
    Full Review »
  2. Mar 11, 2013
    8
    First off, what is with the hate on James Franco? He performed just fine! The film is actually better than it had any right to be, and in someFirst off, what is with the hate on James Franco? He performed just fine! The film is actually better than it had any right to be, and in some respects, it makes the 1939 film even better. The film looks great too. The visuals look really colorful and beautiful. The clever twists at the end are just the icing on the cake Full Review »
  3. Mar 9, 2013
    8
    This film is a pleasant surprise. Unlike other fairy tale movies like both Snow White movies and Alice in Wonderland, this film hasThis film is a pleasant surprise. Unlike other fairy tale movies like both Snow White movies and Alice in Wonderland, this film has characters you care about. James Franco does a solid job as Oz, but it's the supporting cast, (like Zach Braff's Finley the monkey and a little adorable china doll) that makes this film an enjoyable ride. Full Review »