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6.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 453 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 77 out of 453
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  1. Nov 9, 2014
    5
    Oz lacks the magic of its source material and might just be too dark and dull for young viewers. James Franco gives an uninspired performance and to say that a china doll was the best character sums it all up. It's visuals dazzle though.
  2. May 8, 2013
    4
    Honestly just wanted to see this film by Michelle Williams; and the truth not me surprised, was what I expected: a bad film. Good Special effects but its only this, no more.
  3. Apr 23, 2013
    4
    Mention the Wizard of Oz in America and everyone has an opinion, it's an institution. In Britain it doesn't have the same effect which may make most people over here quite cynical when it comes to this prequel or maybe it means they will see it impartially. However this didn't happen for me because ultimately it just felt like any other fantasy film, a pretty one for sure but nothing in itMention the Wizard of Oz in America and everyone has an opinion, it's an institution. In Britain it doesn't have the same effect which may make most people over here quite cynical when it comes to this prequel or maybe it means they will see it impartially. However this didn't happen for me because ultimately it just felt like any other fantasy film, a pretty one for sure but nothing in it ever distinguished it as the prequel to a classic. In fact it turned me off the original slightly. The film follows Oz an arrogant, slimy Kansas magician who is swept up in a hurricane and transported to Oz. He must travel the land that sees him as its savior despite his inherent nature. However he must contend with an evil witch (or two) along the way as well. It's a shame that a director known for being adventurous and ambitious plays Oz so incredibly safe in not only casting but story. There are certain qualities to be found in Oz that are hidden away beneath a wealth of mediocrity and problems, most of which reduce the film to an average family picture that will leave you empty on your exit. James Franco makes a good Oz but there is nothing surprising about his performance, it just feels as though he was a good choice, but not the right one. Michelle Williams however continues to impress with her turn as Glinda the good witch as she is knowledgeable, whimsical and a realist, something Williams shows almost effortlessly. Rachel Weisz entertains too but she is let down by Mila Kunis who is terribly miscast. Her naive witch comes across as irritating and when her character changes, you can guess how, she just becomes loud and even more irritating. An attempt to call back to the camp of the original just turns into poor emulation, especially in regards to the witches. The story itself is basic, bordering on formulaic forcing the film to impress with its visuals which like i said it does but it just isn't enough. The addition of sidekicks for Oz makes him a different kind of Dorothy with Zach Braff and Joey King playing a flying monkey and a china doll who can see the best and the worst in him. In fact the two of them are the most memorable parts of this film adding some great comic relief as well as most of the film's heart. The film has heart but it doesn't have enough to mask the problems and all around average feeling the movie creates Expand
  4. Mar 8, 2013
    5
    Ever since my love for film sprang to life in the form of Christopher Nolan’s Memento in 2000, I have been dreading the moment that I would have to publicly, and in print, come out and say that the 1939 feature film version of L. Frank Baum’s childrens stories The Wizard of Oz was by no means a favourite of mine.

    Made 48 years after the year of my birth, the American classic is
    Ever since my love for film sprang to life in the form of Christopher Nolan’s Memento in 2000, I have been dreading the moment that I would have to publicly, and in print, come out and say that the 1939 feature film version of L. Frank Baum’s childrens stories The Wizard of Oz was by no means a favourite of mine.

    Made 48 years after the year of my birth, the American classic is undoubtedly an achievement in style, form and film especially knowing that the cinematic venture had four directors attached to it at one time, a slew of production issues and inexplicable disasters.

    Today, 74-years after the original American classic, Disney has decided to carefully [given copyright laws and agreements] deliver a prequel to audience members and their grandparents without many lions, or tigers or bears, or ruby slippers or chin moles, oh my! Nearly a decade ago, Disney decided to adapt a film from a amusement park ride in the form of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Fast forward ten years, and now Disney is doing the opposite and trying to make a feature film an elaborately lush, often cheesy and nauseating roller-coaster type film in the form of Oz the Great and Powerful. But just like any other roller coaster, Oz the Great and Powerful does have its fun and amusing moments. Starting in the same fashion of the original film, Oz the Great and Powerful shines in glorious black and white. Introducing us to Oscar Diggs (James Franco) in tributing 4:3 Academy ratio then to a 16:9 widescreen ratio once Diggs enters the magical land of Oz, director Sam Raimi and his team gets it right at first. But as the land of Oz begins to widen and its characters, as well as Diggs’ journey, begins to unfold, somewhere over the rainbow is where the story and movie looses so much of its magic.

    Franco plays Oscar Zoroaster Phadrig Issac Norman Henkel Emmannuel Ambroise Diggs, small time magician in a moving circus, con-artist and 20th Century playboy. After playing a routine show with his trusty and undervalued sidekick Frank (Zach Braff), Oscar gets a surprise visit from a former flame Annie (Michelle Williams) informing him of her engagement. Sentimental and vulnerable, Oscar is chased away from the circus on a hot-air ballon where he is faced off against an angry twister and sent in to the colourful world of Oz. Rich and saturated with colour, Oz fatefully introduced Oscar to Theodora (Mila Kunis) and is brought to speed about the prophecy of a great and powerful wizard appearing out of thin air to the land to free them from the evil witch. Skeptical at first, before knowing of his inheritance in gold thanks to his advisor Evanora (Rachel Weisz), Oscar’s agrees to rid of the evil witch. Aided by an unusual team of friends, Finley, a monkey with wings (voiced by sidekick Zach Braff again) and China Girl (Joey King) as well as the Glinda The Good Witch (Michelle Williams), Oscar, simply a man in a fantastical world, is faced with his greatest con yet.

    There is no denying the enchantingly entertaining spirit of Oz the Great and Powerful. Screenwriters Mitchell Kapner and Robert Lindsay-Abaire tried so very hard [given so many copyright regulations] to keep the spirit alive from Braun’s literature and the original feature film. But where the film lacks in spirit and true spell-binding beauty it makes up for in CGI-laden set designs and characters. It is quite a shame to think that the most emotionally involving and manipulating instances of the film revolved around Finley and China girl, two CGI-derived characters. Although the film really feels authentic and one may get lost in the first black and white act, one becomes a bit distracted with the constant objects shooting out of the small 4:3 ratio frame repeatedly. It seems like Disney has yet to find a film where they can exercise Real D 3D in moderation. But one must not forget the origins of the man who was at the helm of Oz the Great and Powerful, Sam Raimi. A masterclass in camp and B-films, Raimi was the man responsible for the lowest AND highest points for Spider-Man on film as well as the cheap and campy Evil Dead trilogy. In true original fashion, Raimi never strays away from the cheap thrills, cliched one-liners, and narrative predictability. Raimi and his crew tried so hard to find the magic of its predecessor but must be soon realizing that there is no place like home, especially given his success in the horror genre with his last entry Drag Me To Hell.
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  5. Mar 11, 2013
    5
    First the good news. The film looks great and the 3D is fantastic. Unfortunately the casting is all wrong. I can hear it now "Let's see, James Franco was in one of my Spiderman films, cast him as the Wizard. Oh, James is best friends with Mila Kunis, so put her in the film as a witch." etc. etc. The 1939 film is the success it is because of the casting, writing, and sets. This oneFirst the good news. The film looks great and the 3D is fantastic. Unfortunately the casting is all wrong. I can hear it now "Let's see, James Franco was in one of my Spiderman films, cast him as the Wizard. Oh, James is best friends with Mila Kunis, so put her in the film as a witch." etc. etc. The 1939 film is the success it is because of the casting, writing, and sets. This one only has the sets. You know something is wrong when you are constantly upstaged by a flying monkey and that is a computer creation. He is the only one with personality. The only actor that clicked with me was Michelle Williams as Glenda the Good Witch. The best part of the entire film was the fantastic 3D at the opening credits. Overall, a disappointment. Expand
  6. Mar 18, 2013
    4
    I was mostly baffled by the amount of dialogue in what was intended to be a children's movie. Every 10 minutes of action (and by action, I mean characters actually doing something, not necessarily fighting) was interrupted by another 20 minutes of dialogue-based exposition.
  7. Mar 11, 2013
    4
    The first semi-highly anticipated film of the year Oz the Great and Powerful is not a worthy prequel by any means. Raimi's touch was satisfying with a few Evil Dead like camera work, but that along with the great animated visuals was not enough to carry the film. James Franco gives a below average performance and Mila Kunis is ridiculously silly as the evil witch and a horrible casting choice.
  8. Mar 11, 2013
    6
    At heart Oz is a moral story of good and bad (the witches), and good and great (Oz), though the journey of the characters from one to the other are not always as complete (Oz) or credible as they could be (the wicked witch).

    Starting with Oz himself, a 'magician' in Kansas, nothing wrong with that, he knows he is a fraud, but he is also an arrogant, womanising, unscrupulous shyster.
    At heart Oz is a moral story of good and bad (the witches), and good and great (Oz), though the journey of the characters from one to the other are not always as complete (Oz) or credible as they could be (the wicked witch).

    Starting with Oz himself, a 'magician' in Kansas, nothing wrong with that, he knows he is a fraud, but he is also an arrogant, womanising, unscrupulous shyster. By the end of the film, I'm not sure how many of those traits he has learnt the error of, despite upsetting most of Oz, before saving the day with a combination of earthly illusions and charm. James Franco's casting raised eyebrows, however I think he brought a degree of humility to the role that made Oz vaguely likeable. I am certain I could not have coped with Robert Downey Jr's (the producers first choice) style of arrogance in the role.

    Franco is supported by an accomplished cast of witches in Kunis, Weisz and Williams, and its Williams who wins hands down with her measured and gentle performance. Kunis is smouldering as always while Weisz seems to be trying too hard. Without giving anything away, I was disappointed in the transformation of one of the witches to the famous Wicked Witch of the West. The gravitas of the role seemed too much for the actress in question. Zach Braff adds value as Oz's beleaguered assistant in Kansas and the voice of a comedy sidekick flying monkey in Oz. The same can be said for Joey King, voicing China Girl with a sincerity that belies her years.

    Director Sam Raimi delivers a vibrant, colourful landscape, similar to Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, that looks sublime at times but sometimes the CGI was overpowering. The green screen certainly earned its pay-check. Raimi adds some neat references to the film's source, most notably the 4:3 sepia tone introduction in Kansas, which looks great in addition to the old fashioned style of shots.

    Overall, considering my expectations I was slightly disappointed but there is just enough magic here, in Raimi's visuals and elements of the plot, to suggest the return to Oz was worthwhile.
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  9. Mar 17, 2013
    4
    Oz contains not so good performances and a horrible flowing script. However the visuals bring out of being a huge failure in this forgettable in this pathetic Disney adaptation of how Oz found his way in the classic wonderland.
  10. Sep 11, 2013
    6
    A decent enough movie that has some rather pretty visuals. Some interesting characters and it is fun to see how the land of Oz came to be what it was in the classic movie.

    Some OK performances, but nothing memorable. Milla Kunis, while unbelievably hot as usual, perhaps seems to be having too much fun with her role, if ever there was a modern example of over acting, she is it. Franco
    A decent enough movie that has some rather pretty visuals. Some interesting characters and it is fun to see how the land of Oz came to be what it was in the classic movie.

    Some OK performances, but nothing memorable. Milla Kunis, while unbelievably hot as usual, perhaps seems to be having too much fun with her role, if ever there was a modern example of over acting, she is it. Franco is,? Well? Franco is Franco. A bit hard to see him as anything else as his range isn't that far. China Girl (Joey King) was just so adorable and my favorite character of the movie. A really heartwarming performance. The rest of the cast are just forgettable.

    Overall:
    An OK movie that was better than I expected, but not by much.
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  11. Mar 9, 2013
    4
    This movie relies too heavily on CGI. It would have been much nicer to have real scenery, because using too much of CGI just loses the realism it once had from the original. Along with it, annoying supporting characters. They're either there for comic relief as their only purpose, or just plain annoying. However, some scenes does compliment the original movie and does explain howThis movie relies too heavily on CGI. It would have been much nicer to have real scenery, because using too much of CGI just loses the realism it once had from the original. Along with it, annoying supporting characters. They're either there for comic relief as their only purpose, or just plain annoying. However, some scenes does compliment the original movie and does explain how everything came to be in the first place. This movie is basically Disney trying to make a Wicked copycat. It's worth a try for the average moviegoer, but those who know the story will notice problems with this movie. Expand
  12. Mar 12, 2013
    5
    Oz the Great and Powerful, is a colourful and vibrant movie that tends to stimulate your senses with it's technicality and adventurous music. But unfortunately the movie falls short from almost every scene. Sure the movie has it's moments, but they are short and far between. And it tends to get quiet boring, with underwhelwing twist and turns. The actors do their jobs well, with a fewOz the Great and Powerful, is a colourful and vibrant movie that tends to stimulate your senses with it's technicality and adventurous music. But unfortunately the movie falls short from almost every scene. Sure the movie has it's moments, but they are short and far between. And it tends to get quiet boring, with underwhelwing twist and turns. The actors do their jobs well, with a few standouts and cg characters that do their parts very well. I feel that the movie could have brought a lot more to the table, but instead plays it's safe and ends up kinda cliché. I had a couple of laughs and enjoyed the pretty cgi landscapes, because it sure is pretty. I'm aware that it's a childrens movie, and they will probably enjoy themselves. But it lacks heart and soul and a better story with more meat and juicy. Even though i didn't have high hopes, i was dissapointed.
    Saw it in 3D.
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  13. May 29, 2013
    6
    It was alright. Nothing really special about it The visual effects where nice though. It was an alright prequel. Hopefully next one will be better but i doubt it. You know how sequels go.
  14. Dec 16, 2013
    6
    While this film has a cliché story and meh characters it does have some charm. Some of the characters are likeable and the story decent. Additionally, this is the Wizard of Oz the film stays true to the spirit of the classic film, which helps it feel acceptable as a prequel. I’d recommend this film to anyone who didn’t like Return to Oz as this film is more colorful and light-hearted. ThisWhile this film has a cliché story and meh characters it does have some charm. Some of the characters are likeable and the story decent. Additionally, this is the Wizard of Oz the film stays true to the spirit of the classic film, which helps it feel acceptable as a prequel. I’d recommend this film to anyone who didn’t like Return to Oz as this film is more colorful and light-hearted. This film is also good for kids as the film seems to be their target audience so they’ll probably enjoy themselves. For me this is a rental. Not entirely bad but nothing spectacular. If you are looking for a decent film to kill some time this is the movie to check out. It’s not as good as Return to Oz but it is definitely better than the last big budget live action film from Disney Alice in Wonderland (2010). Expand
  15. Mar 15, 2013
    6
    This prequel explains the Wizard's backstory. After an enchanting opening title sequence, a scruffy traveling magician (James Franco, who's kinda bland) gets blown into a fantastic world of magic and talky witches. Like the Wizard, I wasn't sure where it was headed. The visual style and EFX are either very stylized or very cheesy. There are some truly magical moments, while others are slowThis prequel explains the Wizard's backstory. After an enchanting opening title sequence, a scruffy traveling magician (James Franco, who's kinda bland) gets blown into a fantastic world of magic and talky witches. Like the Wizard, I wasn't sure where it was headed. The visual style and EFX are either very stylized or very cheesy. There are some truly magical moments, while others are slow and maudlin. Some of the supporting characters (including a monkey and porcelain girl) are delightful. Children won't be as picky and will likely be thoroughly enchanted. More demanding grownups may be charmed at times and yawning at others. Expand
  16. Mar 13, 2013
    4
    A melodramatically cheesy script, a little miscasting, and some missed opportunities at twists make this much-anticipated film a disappointment. For those wanting winks and nods at the MGM classic will become desperate for anything. Those who are able (and willing) to watch with fresh eyes without any expectations might find this film more enjoyable.
  17. Mar 16, 2013
    5
    I think Oz: the Great and Powerful is decent but the action and magical scenes were too violent for kids to see. I mean, the March season is a bit stale this season and I still have to wait for G.I. Joe Retalliation coming soon. There's no new releases for me so far although I'm not the last person seeing Jack the Giant Slayer because the film was a big failure at the box office. I stillI think Oz: the Great and Powerful is decent but the action and magical scenes were too violent for kids to see. I mean, the March season is a bit stale this season and I still have to wait for G.I. Joe Retalliation coming soon. There's no new releases for me so far although I'm not the last person seeing Jack the Giant Slayer because the film was a big failure at the box office. I still like James Franco, but where's Johnny Depp when you need him? It's gonna be a tough year for Disney, but I hope that Oz could be better than the poor John Carter last year. I'll wait for a rental. Expand
  18. Mar 13, 2013
    6
    I wouldn't call this a good movie because it was really cheesy. However, I did enjoy it enough to say that it's not a complete waste of time. I'm not a fan of the orginal, so I took this movie for what it was. My wife is a die hard fan of the orginal, and she hated it. I guess that tells you everything you need to know.
  19. Sep 7, 2013
    6
    A triumphant prologue opens up a film that tosses and turns in its confidence and ambition, ultimately falling short of the magical and memorable moments that made the original Oz film such a classic. What the film is missing is the definition of fantasy and reality, the original often toyed with the audience about whether Dorothy ever went to the Emerald City, but this film sets out withA triumphant prologue opens up a film that tosses and turns in its confidence and ambition, ultimately falling short of the magical and memorable moments that made the original Oz film such a classic. What the film is missing is the definition of fantasy and reality, the original often toyed with the audience about whether Dorothy ever went to the Emerald City, but this film sets out with many callbacks and mentions to the original, but doesn't add up to a significant or plausible adventure. This is a prequel, a "how it all began" approach, but James Franco shows a different side to the man we may remember, he womanises, frauds and cheats anyone he meets, until he here whisked away in a hurricane (sound familiar?) and ends up in the mystical land that shares his magician name, Oz. While stunning and epic on beauty, it feels empty and a chance to show how far special effects can push the spectrum, the familiar yellow brick road is there, but it was much more fulfilling seeing Dorothy, Scarecrow and friends bouncing along and singing their way to the great city, but in this, Oz arrive in moments after meeting a beautiful witch Theodora (Mila Kunis), who sees no wrong in her new companion, and then he is gone again, off to defeat the wicked witch.
    The film takes an interesting but under-explained twist, one which has very little build-up in terms of deep character development, it all happens very fast, leaving little time to revel in some of the finer moments of the film, the set pieces are big, but the plot inconsistencies put a darker light on moments that could have been appreciated more. These scenes pick up well after a slow start in the land of Oz, but tonal shifts and confusing assumptions still cloud the goal that was trying to be reached by the ambitious director Sam Raimi. I'm still on the fence about the casting of James Franco as the "great and powerful" Oz, he brings an interesting charm to the role, but seems to miss the opportunity at a charismatic and controlling individual, something the heavily rumoured Robert Downey Jr. would undeniably have brought. Mila Kunis is certainly the standout of the film, she plays a conflicted and passionate character in Theodora, proving her worth when it matters most. Her sister in the film is played by the talented Rachel Weiz, who is a charming yet equally cunning witch who never sits easy as the film unfolds.
    This isn't the return to Oz that I'm sure we all hoped for, while there are very impressive visuals and some sturdy performances, one can't help but revisit the old ways to sing a long with Dorothy and her pals, rather than a heavy CGI flick with only passing moments of marvel.
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  20. Jul 30, 2013
    6
    First off, It looks beautiful. Sam Rami did a great job at creating the world of Oz and I am sure that it would have been awesome to see it in 3-D (considering Rami actually made use of it in this film). The acting is ok, James Franco sort of fades in and out for me through out the film. Williams, Kunis, and Weisz do a great job as the witches as well, They really help carry the film. ZachFirst off, It looks beautiful. Sam Rami did a great job at creating the world of Oz and I am sure that it would have been awesome to see it in 3-D (considering Rami actually made use of it in this film). The acting is ok, James Franco sort of fades in and out for me through out the film. Williams, Kunis, and Weisz do a great job as the witches as well, They really help carry the film. Zach Braff is easily the star as the love-able monkey assistant, He was great.

    The plot is fine as well but the dialogue just doesn't really cut it. There are parts that are fantastic and others there are really lack-luster. I'd have like to see a script with more solid dialogue through out the film instead of short bursts. The run time was a bit of a killer for me as well. I think it would have been better if it had been a little shorter.

    Overall, It wasn't that bad of a movie. I enjoyed watching it and I'd recommend giving it a shot but it wasn't as good as it could have been.
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  21. Apr 1, 2013
    6
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Oz the Great and the Powerful is an entertaining film, but one that has numerous drawbacks. The story arc of this film is good enough and flows into the original Wizard of Oz quite well. There seemed to be a good amount of respect for the original movie and I think that goes a long ways as to not offending fans of the classic. This is also a gorgeous film, with great CGI environments and CGI characters. I found the 3D effects to be quite immersive and beneficial. Sadly the acting just isn't up to par, with the two fully CGI supporting characters outshining the live actors in pretty much every way. I thought James Franco had progressed as an actor after seeing him in 127 hours and Rise of the Planet of the Apes, however he was overly cheesy, in a non-convincing way, in this one. I'll chalk it up to being miscast. Same goes to Mila Kunis, who was mind bogglingly miscast to be the Wicked Witch from the classic Oz. Not only was the transformation unremarkable, but they continued to use her likeness and voice after she became the witch. This was jarring and unconvincing. One second you're hearing Meg Griffin and the next you're hearing a wicked witch cackle that was voiced over by someone else. I think this was the biggest problem of the movie and one that could have easily been remedied by using a different actress as the wicked witch and having the transformation happen gradually throughout the movie instead of over the course of 5 minutes. Seeing the character breaking down over a longer period of time would have made the psychology behind the Wicked Witch much more interesting. Overall the movie is an entertaining one time watch, but could have easily been much more if the acting matched the aesthetics of the movie. 6/10 Expand
  22. Apr 8, 2013
    4
    While this film got great visuals, the attacking by James Franco and the three witches is less than except able and its shows that it is a Disney film. I have nothing against Disney. In fact I love Disney. However you can tell Disney and director Sam Raimi were trying to make the film kid friendly. The wicked witch of the west is not as scary as the original. There are no memorable quotesWhile this film got great visuals, the attacking by James Franco and the three witches is less than except able and its shows that it is a Disney film. I have nothing against Disney. In fact I love Disney. However you can tell Disney and director Sam Raimi were trying to make the film kid friendly. The wicked witch of the west is not as scary as the original. There are no memorable quotes and the dialogue does not contain any complex words. All in all this is a good movie for kids but think about it before bringing older kids to it. Expand
  23. Jun 11, 2013
    5
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This film is about how Oz got his job. I find this interesting because, I bet some people like me wanted to know how Oz got his job. This film is okay, but I didn't get most of the jokes they made through out the film. The last time I've seen James Franco was in the Spider Man movies. It had a good ending. Expand
  24. Jul 30, 2013
    6
    A good film to see if you love the world of Oz, but otherwise, not too great of a film, from its basic, cliché (and quite frankly, pointless) story, to its poor overuse of CGI throughout the film.
    Don't get high expectations.
  25. Jun 7, 2013
    6
    "Oz the Great and Powerful" manages to continue the spirit of its legendary predecessor, marked with darkness and tension—and it's an enjoyable to watch for the visual effects alone. The film contains many nods to the original "The Wizard of Oz" (1939), without it feeling forced or taking away from the story at hand. The film acknowledges the moments for those with a fondness for the"Oz the Great and Powerful" manages to continue the spirit of its legendary predecessor, marked with darkness and tension—and it's an enjoyable to watch for the visual effects alone. The film contains many nods to the original "The Wizard of Oz" (1939), without it feeling forced or taking away from the story at hand. The film acknowledges the moments for those with a fondness for the childhood classic. It is a relatively faithful remake, but comes up short on surprises for a truly, memorable adventure.

    The film starts off in black & white as we are introduced to Oz (James Franco), ho-hum life as a magician traveling with the “Baum Brothers” circus. One day, while escaping in a hot air balloon from an enraged strongman, Oz is caught in a tornado and deposited in Oz. Color now enters the world after landing into this new magical land; and when he gets there, it certainly does come to life. Oscar's arrival is afforded with full color, widescreen treatment by Raimi and his band of CGI landscapers. Though garishly convincing, the world of Oz lacks the 'wow' factor of James Cameron's "Avatar" (2009). Once there, meets the witch Theodora (Mila Kunis), who believes he represents the fulfillment of a prophecy made by the late king. She escorts Oz to Emerald City, where he meets Theodora's sister, Evanora (Rachel Weisz). In order to claim the throne, however, he must travel into the Dark Forest and kill the Wicked Witch.

    James Franco is fine as our protagonist this film, for the most part. Oscar comes across more as a sleazy opportunist--a man conflicted with his inner-demons. His charm and attitude-works well in this film-as he is forced to politely lie and muddle his way through the adventure. Fortunately, the performances by the witches are more entertaining, but to discuss any of the three characters in any detail might spoil what few surprises are to be had. The latter half of the film in particular is dominated by the trio, and thankfully so. Weisz and Williams are fitting as Evanora and Glinda--but it is Mila Kunis, who truly comes to dominate the film with her commanding performance as Theodora.

    It is largely an entertaining piece of eye candy that goes on longer than it should. It benefits from having a director who brings energy, humor, and emotion to what could have been a soulless exercise, much like "Alice in Wonderland" (2010). "Oz the Great and Powerful" was never going to hit the same heights as the 1939 classic, nor was it ever fair to expect or presume it to do so. It is a film decidedly of its era, and while it is quite the spectacle, the present-day nature of the CGI effects means it will likely become dated and overlooked relatively quickly.
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  26. Mar 21, 2013
    4
    A disappointing return to Oz. Visually dazzling at times, but I literally felt like I was watching a cartoon at times. The tone switches awkwardly from sweet/humorous to dark/ominous; the combination doesn't work and makes the whole project feel messy. The performances were underwhelming. The main problem I had with the film is that, for the most part, I was completely bored. Add to thatA disappointing return to Oz. Visually dazzling at times, but I literally felt like I was watching a cartoon at times. The tone switches awkwardly from sweet/humorous to dark/ominous; the combination doesn't work and makes the whole project feel messy. The performances were underwhelming. The main problem I had with the film is that, for the most part, I was completely bored. Add to that the tonal inconsistencies, cartoon visuals, and disappointing performances, you get a film that's hard to enjoy for all it has to offer. I thought the finale was great; the last 20-30 minutes were really entertaining and also added to the original 1939 film. As for the rest of the 90 minute running length though, well, I couldn't wait to get out of Oz. Oz is an okay film, but (re)enter at your own risk. Expand
  27. Mar 24, 2013
    4
    The Good: Glenda was awesome. Michelle Williams did a great job in her performance. The final action scenes were great. Zach Braff was great in both roles. The China Doll was well acted and presented. The overall story was well devised.

    The Bad: James Franco was atrocious. I loved him in other roles but this was terribly acted. Mila Kunis another favorite of mine received the
    The Good: Glenda was awesome. Michelle Williams did a great job in her performance. The final action scenes were great. Zach Braff was great in both roles. The China Doll was well acted and presented. The overall story was well devised.

    The Bad: James Franco was atrocious. I loved him in other roles but this was terribly acted. Mila Kunis another favorite of mine received the same fate. Even her media circuit seemed unwanted. The CGI was sometimes good and sometimes bad. There were times when you could see the actors walking and it looked like they were in a homemade video like you might find in a mall or something. Sam Raimi let me down on this because I've seen all of these actors do better in other roles which leads me to believe that this film was under-directed. This is a big fall from the Spider Man films. Verdict: Rent It.
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  28. Mar 16, 2013
    5
    It was very beautiful. It rose to the level of tim burtons alice in wonderland. The cinematography was strong as well as art direction, visual effects and overall protection of the original story. However, this is not a good film. The downfall of this picture are 3 fold. The screenplays dialogue, pace of the long and overcapitalized story, and the acting. These flaws throw the bliss of theIt was very beautiful. It rose to the level of tim burtons alice in wonderland. The cinematography was strong as well as art direction, visual effects and overall protection of the original story. However, this is not a good film. The downfall of this picture are 3 fold. The screenplays dialogue, pace of the long and overcapitalized story, and the acting. These flaws throw the bliss of the movie into destruction and ended up being a lame duck. Expand
  29. Mar 11, 2013
    6
    This film is entertaining, contains beautiful visuals and a few perfectly realized moments and characters. However the overall tone it achieves completely mismatches the whimsical nature of the setting. The 1939 film knew how to set the right tone the bad guys were bad guys, the good guys were good guys, the story was straightforward and it never got TOO serious. Oz the great and powerfulThis film is entertaining, contains beautiful visuals and a few perfectly realized moments and characters. However the overall tone it achieves completely mismatches the whimsical nature of the setting. The 1939 film knew how to set the right tone the bad guys were bad guys, the good guys were good guys, the story was straightforward and it never got TOO serious. Oz the great and powerful feels like it's trying to be a fantasy epic along the lines of Lord of the Rings squeezed into a storybook setting.
    Everything about this is too serious and detracts from the childlike fantasy setting. Characters have complex and multi-layered motivations, including some really tragic backstories and character arcs that are way too dark, and action sequences with stakes that are too high tha play out more like jedi lightsaber battles.
    I'm not sure what tone Raimi was going for here, but between the whimsical setting and character design and the all-too-serious story, there's not even a comfortable middle ground.
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  30. Mar 18, 2013
    6
    The movie is actually not that bad.. i think it was okay but it could be much better. Recommended family movie! My score for "Oz the Great and Powerful" is 6/10...that's the highest personal score i can give.
  31. Mar 16, 2013
    6
    Trying to follow up on what is by most considered heritage material must have been a daunting task. The movie very much succeeds in visual design and treats the original and its feel/storytellingstyle with respect. Perhaps too much so, because it ends up being a story following a storytelling style that while being true to the original also being oldfashioned and naive. It is still aTrying to follow up on what is by most considered heritage material must have been a daunting task. The movie very much succeeds in visual design and treats the original and its feel/storytellingstyle with respect. Perhaps too much so, because it ends up being a story following a storytelling style that while being true to the original also being oldfashioned and naive. It is still a children's tale but most seeing it (and judging it) are scarcely children anymore. Be that as it may I was entertained and liked it, just not enough to se it more then once. Expand
  32. Mar 19, 2013
    4
    I was really hoping this would be a good film. I grew up in the 1990s and used to watch The Wizard of Oz every year with my family for Thanksgiving as a kid. And to my surprise, at the age of 23, I can still say it's one of my favorite movies of all-time. With that said, I knew 'Oz: The Great and Powerful' could never reach the status of the original. I just wish I could have liked itI was really hoping this would be a good film. I grew up in the 1990s and used to watch The Wizard of Oz every year with my family for Thanksgiving as a kid. And to my surprise, at the age of 23, I can still say it's one of my favorite movies of all-time. With that said, I knew 'Oz: The Great and Powerful' could never reach the status of the original. I just wish I could have liked it enough to walk out of the theater satisfied, and wanting to buy it on Blu-ray. I didn't. Another reviewer mentioned how this is a kid's movie, not a family movie. I couldn't agree more. And it's such a shame, because kids aren't that stupid. Or at least, you don't have to reduce them to that. I appreciated The Wizard of Oz as a kid because Judy Garland was beautiful, and believable, the Witch was scary, and all the side characters played a crucial role in the story. In Oz: The Great and Powerful, I never became attached to any of the main characters (namely James Franco and Mila Kunis), and the side characters felt more like extras from Shrek (except they stayed on screen far longer than they should have). All in all, the semi-clever ending wasn't too bad, and to me, that's what saved the film. If not for that, the poor structure in the first half of the film, and the misplaced acting (Franco and Kunis are good actors, but weren't meant for this film) would have killed it for me. Rent it, or wait for it to come out on Netflix, it's not necessarily worth going to the theater for. Expand
  33. Mar 26, 2013
    6
    Oz the Great and Powerful is very well done and for the most part well acted, but the story just wasn't there for me. It seemed too silly when it was supposed to be serious, and not that funny when they were trying to be funny. With that said, I'm sure kids everywhere will enjoy this movie, so this is a great family movie to watch.
  34. Mar 21, 2013
    4
    The Wizard of Oz is one of those timeless classics that many critics and moviegoers say should not be touched. The film was originally based off of L. Frank Baum’s book of the same name in 1900. The Wizard of Oz was actually the first in a series that spanned multiple sequels starring Dorothy and other original protagonists. With so much additional material, another trip to Oz could proveThe Wizard of Oz is one of those timeless classics that many critics and moviegoers say should not be touched. The film was originally based off of L. Frank Baum’s book of the same name in 1900. The Wizard of Oz was actually the first in a series that spanned multiple sequels starring Dorothy and other original protagonists. With so much additional material, another trip to Oz could prove to be very fun. Disney, the company behind this newest installment, attempts to capitalize on some of those other works by highlighting the exploits of Oz himself in Oz the Great and Powerful. It’s too bad that this most recent attempt by the House of Mouse fails in almost every regard to capture the magic that the original film and books have. Directed by Sam Raimi (Spider-Man, Evil Dead), Oz the Great and Powerful acts as a sort of broken continuity prequel to the original film. We see Oz’s origins as desperate carnival magician and con man Oscar Diggs (James Franco) in 1909 Kansas. His eventual transportation to Oz via CGI twister is much like the one Dorothy took on her original voyage in 1939. The movie shows the transformation of Diggs into the Wizard of Oz as well as his interactions with the three witches from the first movie. One would think the role of Oz would call for an actor who is capable of being charming, snarky and somewhat manipulative. Sadly, Franco is just too laid back, too normal and too boring to play a role that requires an actor to act larger than life. Oz needs to be a charismatic trickster, someone who can wink and smile his way out of life and death situations. Franco’s “charm” has him stumbling over his words and sputtering nonsense to every character that crosses his path. The rest of the cast is a mix bag as well. Evanora the Wicked (Rachel Weiz) and Glinda the Good (Michelle Williams) don’t really bring anything to the film at all. They’re not necessarily bad, but they’re just not that interesting either. Theodora (Mila Kunis), the third and probably the most recognizable of the witches goes through a character arc that is so unbelievably clichéd and laughable that it truly shows that the writers were just being lazy. Finley (Zach Braff) and China Girl (Joey King) are the only two characters in the film who provide any reason to care what’s happening on screen. While lacking in strong characters, the film is very pretty look at. Viewers are given the chance to see to new places in Oz and even revisit some old ones. The Emerald City and the Dark Forest are created using actual sets along with CGI imagery. The creatures, such as the always terrifying flying monkeys, provide are a much needed reprieve from the boring characters that audiences are stuck following. Oz the Great and Powerful is a pathetic franchise-starter that is attempting to cash-in on the name of the film that came before it. There's a generic hero’s journey, woefully underwritten characters and poor casting choices. The sense of magic is completely absent and replaced with special attention to green screen backdrops. The obvious merchandizing throughout makes the movie look like it’s following a pre-planned checklist of what to sell to kids after they see it. Stealing its plot lines and underdeveloped characters from 2010’s Alice in Wonderland doesn’t help the film’s claims of it being “an original tale from the mind of Sam Raimi.” Oz the Great and Powerful is nothing more than a poor attempt to exploit any nostalgia that people have for this world and its characters. Expand
  35. Mar 26, 2013
    5
    That was one of the worst movies Disney has thrown together. Period. It was a simple call on Disney's part. Wicked has been doing an unbelievable job on Broadway for years. So how can they make some extra cash? Make a movie that will have lovers of the Broadway production, and the original Wizard of Oz, running to your door. I understand the concept of making it similar to the originalThat was one of the worst movies Disney has thrown together. Period. It was a simple call on Disney's part. Wicked has been doing an unbelievable job on Broadway for years. So how can they make some extra cash? Make a movie that will have lovers of the Broadway production, and the original Wizard of Oz, running to your door. I understand the concept of making it similar to the original Wizard of Oz how it takes forever to start the story. However, the Wizard of Oz was an original concept. Once the story picked up it continued full speed with a unique shocking concept, along with it's story, and beautiful scenery. The running force behind The Great and Powerful Oz was the 3D animation and computer generated world. I can't honestly tell you the last movie that used 3D in its original nostalgic sense things truly popping out at you. Those scenes only last a few minutes and leave much to be desired during the rest of the film. The story was dull and boring. Not to mention it brought in aspects of both book series, the musical, and the original film, which do not all mesh. The actors deserved a better story line. The customers deserved a better movie. Expand
  36. Mar 30, 2013
    6
    This movie wasn't the right one for me at all. There were some good twists and humor in it but nothing like the original wizard of oz. lets go dorthy.
  37. Apr 10, 2013
    6
    This film was very enjoyable with it's twists and wonderful effects, but Mila Kunis costed this film it's better rating. Her role could've been given to someone more fit for her character. Other than that, I still was very satisfied with the film. Especially in 3D.
  38. Jun 5, 2013
    6
    Moderately enjoyable experience. I found the first 20 minutes in black and white dragged on and there was not much explanation of what the Land of Oz is once we got there. I enjoyed all the indirect references to the original without having the original characters redone. Mila Kunis’s witch makeup is terrible. Laugh out loud funny at the reveal. The Flying Baboons and the Witches wereModerately enjoyable experience. I found the first 20 minutes in black and white dragged on and there was not much explanation of what the Land of Oz is once we got there. I enjoyed all the indirect references to the original without having the original characters redone. Mila Kunis’s witch makeup is terrible. Laugh out loud funny at the reveal. The Flying Baboons and the Witches were scarier before you could see them. The good witch and the China doll were awesome characters. Shame that Franco didn’t really find his groove until the last 10 minutes. Too often I could spot that they were on a sound stage. Which they had done that a bit better. Overall the movie wraps things up nicely and makes up for the first half of the film. Expand
  39. Aug 18, 2013
    6
    Not the Oz remake I was hoping for. Franco did not carry Oz the way he should have. Even with my love for Kunis, I have to say that her acting in Oz was forced and unnatural. Williams felt out of place, albeit delivering a good performance as the good witch. Weisz proved to be the only shining character in this whole film.
  40. Aug 17, 2013
    4
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The Great And Powerful Oz deserves a mixed review I think. It's greatest accomplishment is the visual wonders it achieves. It's worst feature is that it stretches the boundary of incredulity between how a movie can be so superbly visually portrayed with such masterworks of imagination as to continually stun even a jaded creativity, and yet at the same time allow itself to be so damaged by insipid dialogue in its first hour as to actually create the possibility of walking out. It is all the more paradoxical because of the quality of the imagery is so awe inspiring, and by that same measure all the more unforgiveable in that the discrepency is so great, as though two universes of quality existed in the same production effort and na'er the two were allowed to meet. If this disparity can be thought of as a dis-ease, then it is a disease I would instantly to blame on Disney, as the brand may never shake it’s association with dissolution of the soul of it’s stories by drowning them in artificial sweetener. The soul message of it’s story does finally find some ground to stand on, but only after an hour or so of threatening to not have any ground at all, another horror of the beginning.

    A movie has two things, the soul of it’s master message and the artfulness with which that message is rendered. If only the visual world created here could have played more of a role than a mere backdrop. But that is usually the way of it. It is the emotional relationship between characters and the quality of dialogue which play the most important role in establishing how artfully the message is being delivered. No matter how great the visuals or how clever the little side stories or how good the acting or even how good the message, nothing can save a movie from bad dialogue, and my goodness how this movie suffers. It is that syndrome I suppose of being trapped in the notion that your main audience will be children, and in not really understanding children well, winding up with something that is dumbed down, hamhanded, cliche, trying to be funny and failing, and just plain insipid. This ends up failing to entertain anyone, children included, and that is not a worthy legacy to the great Frank Baum. The dialogue and humor is not all bad and generally improves in the second half of the movie, but even then it still suffers from mediocrity about half of the time.

    The messaging begins to gain it’s very first traction when the good witch Glenda reveals that she knows our protagonist is not really a wizard but a con man, a trickster and yet this is partly because this is how he defines himself within his own mind. If you have stayed to that moment, you will stay to the end. Part of the problem is that there has been no tension established in our wizard character’s personality up to this point. Until this point he is one dimensionally and utterly a boor and a twit with no personal appeal whatsoever. Suddenly however, he becomes interesting, and the movie beings to save itself from ruin. Finally he discovers that he can use his trickstery skills to do good and save Oz from evil. It is an idea which is simplemindedly executed, but ultimately an empowering message and that is probably the best thing about this movie. Until the last scene however, the movie continues to suffer from details which are formulaic cliches before plopping to an end with a standard sentimental happy ending. One such cliche I find hilarious when comparing to the gentle spirituality of Frank Baum is the final superhero battle between the good and bad witch wherein the contest appears to be mostly based on which player has the greatest amount of pure voltage at her disposal an unfortuate nod to the power of technology over spirituality, and a treatment which is unfortunately repeated again and again in modern movie remakes of all the great myths and stories from the past, hence degrading them.
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  41. Mar 8, 2014
    5
    Other than the special effects, which are actually distancing us from the whole message of the film, it's a cluttered mess of a tedious plot, unlikable protagonist, and uninteresting villains. Frankly, the 'Wizard of Oz' was good enough. A prequel to a children's fantasy film from the 30's seems dated and utterly pointless. My brother, who's actually older than me, dragged me into this.
  42. Nov 29, 2013
    6
    Oz lacks the magic of its source material and might just be too dark and dull for young viewers. James Franco gives an uninspired performance and to say that a china doll was the best character sums it all up. It's visuals dazzle though.
  43. Apr 28, 2014
    4
    By accounts, this should have worked. Sam Raimi knows how to give us a good blockbuster, and it had many Oscar nominees in the cast. But it doesn't. The story has been done millions of times before, the characters were all one-note (even Glinda, who is a love interest for some weird reason), and James Franco can't muster up any wonder for the world he's supposedly in- and thus, neither canBy accounts, this should have worked. Sam Raimi knows how to give us a good blockbuster, and it had many Oscar nominees in the cast. But it doesn't. The story has been done millions of times before, the characters were all one-note (even Glinda, who is a love interest for some weird reason), and James Franco can't muster up any wonder for the world he's supposedly in- and thus, neither can we. If it weren't for the eye-popping visual beauty, this film would have nothing. Well, not completely true; it helps if you watch the movie with a slightly perverted friend who can make an innuendo out of every single line and/or event. Because I have first-hand knowledge that it is possible. Expand
  44. Sep 23, 2014
    5
    From Director Sam Raimi the guy who brought you (Evil Dead , Spiderman trilogy , drag me to hell) comes his new magical movie. Let me just say Sam Raimi is the horror expert i do not know why Raimi decided to direct oz the great and powerful he is already a legend with directing horrific pictures like Evil Dead , Darkman , Spiderman. Raimi works again with James franco which this movieFrom Director Sam Raimi the guy who brought you (Evil Dead , Spiderman trilogy , drag me to hell) comes his new magical movie. Let me just say Sam Raimi is the horror expert i do not know why Raimi decided to direct oz the great and powerful he is already a legend with directing horrific pictures like Evil Dead , Darkman , Spiderman. Raimi works again with James franco which this movie proves that franco is a nothing but a frail and a rip off for a magician,). The movie also stars Mila Kunis , Michelle Williams , Rachel Weiz , Zac Braff as the monkey , Joey King as the voice of the doll. a good cast makes the perfect recipe for a good movie. Grade B- ( If your a fan of the wizard of oz or Sam Raimi's spider man trilogy you'll love this one) Expand
  45. chw
    Jul 20, 2014
    6
    Oz the Great and Powerful should have cast better actors than people who can't actually act, or cast a director who can direct magnificently. This was just as bad as one of the movies they show on the Disney channel. Terrible acting, but could've been spectacular if they acted decently.
  46. Mar 30, 2014
    6
    Oz the Great and Powerful is a pretty okay film, but it definitely has it's flaws. While I do think that there are some elements in the story that are good and also some very good visuals, I thought this film was a little cheesy at times and also had some pretty mediocre acting; also the story also had some pretty predictable moments. I think that the film does have it's good elements,Oz the Great and Powerful is a pretty okay film, but it definitely has it's flaws. While I do think that there are some elements in the story that are good and also some very good visuals, I thought this film was a little cheesy at times and also had some pretty mediocre acting; also the story also had some pretty predictable moments. I think that the film does have it's good elements, like there are some elements in the film that were pretty old school, but of course in a good way. Overall Oz is okay, but it's not for everyone. Expand
Metascore
44

Mixed or average reviews - based on 42 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 42
  2. Negative: 10 out of 42
  1. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Mar 18, 2013
    30
    At the center of the movie, in place of the ardent, emotionally pulverizing Judy Garland, there is James Franco...as he smirks and winks, his reflexive self-deprecation comes off as a gutless kind of cool, and it sinks this odd, fretful, uncertain movie like a boulder. [18 March 2013, p.86]
  2. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Mar 10, 2013
    58
    What we get here is Oz the Amiable and Unthreatening.
  3. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Mar 10, 2013
    75
    It's familiar enough to be comfortable but not so familiar that it feels worn and repetitive.