User Score
6.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 437 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 73 out of 437

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  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 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?
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  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 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
  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 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.
  4. Mar 8, 2013
    0
    complete garbage. Disney claims that its films are for the family, but they are for kids and no one else, don't be fooled! Disney is not capable of making anything other than kid garbage. They are completely incapable of creating multidimensional characters, realistic dialog or anything that makes an actual quality film. This is nothing more than a shameless money grab. Very sad for some of these great actors that have been tarnished by this garbage. I hope they made a lot of money, and can't wait to see the return of their real careers. Expand
  5. Mar 13, 2013
    3
    One of the worst movies I have seen in a long time. James Franco's slapstick/over the top/general hospital es-que performance will go down as one of the most cringe worthy performances on screen ever. Mila Kunis brings no intimidation/menace to her role, Rachel Weiss feels cold and one noted in her role. The only reason I did not give this movie a 0 rating is because the Porcelain girl, The monkey and Glenda were all fantastic in their roles. I would have much preferred a movie about Glenda and not about Oz, or at least not about James Franco's Oz. Expand
  6. Mar 10, 2013
    9
    This movie worked for me. I do not understand the lukewarm reception this film gets. Possibly its that people have all seen the first one and have spent a lifetime imagining this material. What I found watching this movie is a great homage to the first film while never trying to outdo its predecessor. Some scenes fell flat but others shined like the china doll sequence. It is somewhat predictable but is a great piece of work. Expand
  7. Mar 8, 2013
    8
    It's a visual treat. The Special Effects are AMAZING!! Followed by great performances esp by Rachel Weisz. It is funny occasionally and the monkey character 'Finley' voiced by Zack Braff is Fantastic. Overall a Fun Movie. The script could have been sharper.
  8. Mar 9, 2013
    0
    Forget the original. Taking this film on its merits, of which there are few, there is a gaping chasm between what I might deem to be watchable and this movie. Most of the film panders to either slow children or simpering adults, don't know which. I went into the film given Sam Raimi the director yet another chance to redeem his pitiful directorial career, and again, he falls short. Rachel Weisz does her usual bad job, adding to the misery of this film. While I am not a special effects guru, most of the film looked flat and boring. Another waste of time from Hollywood, thanks for another bad evening at the movies. As my children are not mouthbreathing knuckledraggers they won't be seeing this movie. Expand
  9. Mar 8, 2013
    3
    This movie is a major disgrace to the 1939 version. They can't go thirty seconds into a song without being interrupted by another character. Long story short: NOTHING LIKE THE ORIGINAL
  10. Mar 11, 2013
    3
    How anyone actually likes this is a shock to me! Bad acting, bad directing, bad special effects. A pointless prequel to say the least. James Franco was awful, completely unbelievable as Oz. Sam Raimi should be embarrassed at how bad this movie is. It had no heart, no brain, and no courage.
  11. May 27, 2013
    2
    Just terrible. This movie was definitely done 100% in front of a green screen and for 3D and it clearly shows. The animations are sloppy, the 3D "gotchas" are cringe worthy, the story is terrible and the acting is just laughable. How does James Franco get acting jobs?
  12. Apr 29, 2013
    1
    The thing that lets this film down the most is the terrible terrible dialogue. If you're drowning in water and there's nobody around, do you start yelling "I can't swim!" No you don't. It's as if the director thinks we're so moronic that we need everything spelled out for us. James Franco is incredibly annoying to the point where you want to just slap that inane smile from his face. His acting is ATROCIOUS, but with a script like that it's hardly surprising. Loaded with cliches (cackling witches anyone?) this film is a soulless, special effects driven mess that will be forever known by people with taste as a thorn in the side and embarrassment to the original. Avoid like the zombie plague Expand
  13. Mar 8, 2013
    10
    This is a awesome movie, do not believe in haters from critic, these people don't like popular movies. Oz is a movie to the people, to Disney fans around the world.
  14. Mar 16, 2013
    1
    This movie is horrible. Dialog is bad. Horrendous. Visuals are ok, not eyecandy material. There were a few convincing moments, but that's not enough. This movie is badddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd. Expand
  15. Mar 10, 2013
    7
    Genuinely Funny. Characters are good and the annoying ones are supposed to be annoying. Old fashion looking purposefully low quality effects are awesome. Very good cgi visuals it is very good looking. Entire black and white intro is awesome.
  16. Apr 28, 2013
    3
    It is boring and less magical than recent movies with almost the same plot such as Alice in Wonderland which is amazing, but this it is not entertaining not good but the thing is that it is visually stunning, it is like lyrics without music, it is not good, it is not entertaining, it is boring and
  17. Mar 15, 2013
    0
    Disappointing does not even begin to describe how I felt when watching this movie. The only enjoyable part is the first 15-20 minutes, when everything is in black and white. After that, the movie descends into horrible cliches and the worst acting I have seen in a long time (looking at you Mr. Franco). Normally even a bad movie can keep me entertained with great visuals. Unfortunately, most of OZ's visuals were absolutely terrible. The "funny" flying monkey side kick is alarmingly fake looking. The most fun you will have seeing this movie is driving to the theater. Expand
  18. Mar 8, 2013
    8
    This film was fantastic. The sets perfectly evoked the 1930s original. James Franco was excellent. It even manages a black white start :)

    I have never disagreed so much with the critics about a film ever.

    Go and enjoy, pure entertainment.
  19. Mar 13, 2013
    10
    James Franco is the best actor I've ever seen. True Talent!!! He deserves much more attention because he is great!
  20. Mar 13, 2013
    9
    A solid prequel to the classic that is 'The Wizard of Oz', and while it might make you think twice about the original (similar to what Wicked did for me) it's certainly for the good. Heavy on CGI, perhaps, but that seems to be the way films are going these days. The actors all played their roles perfectly and I particularly liked Finley & China Girl. It's also a great storyline that really picks up towards the end with a great ending. Overall a film I thoroughly enjoyed Expand
  21. Mar 9, 2013
    10
    MGM did Disney a great service by wanting way too much for the use of certain similarities from the original movie and I'll explain why. By not allowing the likeness of the major characters in the original it made the Oz universe more vast, something I was disappointed with the Star Wars prequels. In Star Wars they wrap everything up nice and neat leaving no room for the imagination. This is one movie that I believe is being beaten up for all the wrong reasons. If you go into this and let yourself be engaged with movie, you will find yourself in a magical world that makes over two hours seem like 45 minutes. My family loved this movie and as it was done the sold out audience erupted in applause. I personally thought it was as good as the Avengers. I've grown up with Sam Rami movies since "The Evil Dead" and I love his film making. All I can say is that I hope this is a huge success so that there can be a sequel and we get to find out how the ruby slippers come about. Great fun and a great movie. Expand
  22. Mar 26, 2013
    3
    Going into this "Oz", I expected at least a moderately coherent plot, serviceable acting, and some decent special effects, but apparently even those expectations were too high. For the amount of money spent on this movie, and the amount of work put into it, the result is underwhelming to put it mildly. The overall quality of the film could be compared to a Disney Channel movie. James Franco's acting ranged from decent to bad, and Mila Kunis' performance ranged from sleepwalk-acting to soap opera-level awful (at some points she was unintentionally hilarious). I would recommend it for children 6 and under, but even then, there are scenes in "Oz" that would actually be terrifying for very young children. In the end, I will say to just avoid this movie if possible. Expand
  23. Mar 10, 2013
    10
    Enjoined every minute of the movie, from the visuals to the characters. A nice fairytale that does exactly what it should do. Do not listen to the haters.
  24. Mar 9, 2013
    8
    A fun movie to go out and see with friends. Visually, it's amazing. I wish they executed a few parts of the story better than they did, but all in all, it's great fun
  25. Mar 12, 2013
    7
    “Oz the Great and Powerful” deals with the themes of believing and how powerful faith can be. The story handles the theme very well with clever writing and homages to the older film (keep in mind that this is a prequel to the actual story and not the 1939 classic film by MGM). Sam Raimi does a good job of directing the film. He mixes humor with the more semi-serious moments. There are moments of excitement that gets the blood going and legitimately scary moments that make you jump out your seat. However, the story mainly in the middle gets a bit confused on what it is about and what’s happening. Along with that, certain things feel a bit rushed particularly when Oz arrives in Oz.

    The acting and characters for the most part are decent. Oz, James Franco, is pretty much the scene stealer as one would hope from a movie titled “Oz.” Franco brings a lot of charisma and charm to the character along with being relatable. He sometime goes a bit over the top, but when he puts on his big cheesy smile almost everything is forgiven. Mila Kunis is okay in the movie at best, but half way through she become not so good. Her character feels forced and any emotion she tries to convey comes off as trying too hard. There’s a flying monkey and little porcelain girl that bring a lot of the heart to the film. They’re incredibly likable and help show off some of the humanity in Oz.

    I particularly like the visual effects. The backgrounds are well detailed and immerses the viewer into the world. There are some moments were you can tell it’s CGI and the character don’t blend well with the background, but they don’t appear very often. The musical score by Danny Elfman is effective, but not too memorable until the third act.

    Overall, “Oz the Great and Powerful” isn’t great, but it is still pretty good. The special effects are great, but have some spotty moments, the score my Elfman is solid, and James Franco’s performance steals the show. However, there are some minor story issues in the first two acts and the acting by the rest of the cast, especially Mila Kunis, leaves more to be desired. The final act of the film is spectacular though and sums up everything great about the film incredibly well. I give it an incredibly high 3.5/5, acting could use some work, but Franco and the third act make this a really good experience.
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  26. Mar 10, 2013
    3
    Excessive length kills an already verbally challenged storyline. I must confess to not being a huge fan of the land of Oz. There is no denying the classic status of 1939's 'The Wizard of Oz', but recent theatrical productions have either been truly awful (Wicked) or overly familiar ('Wizard of Oz). This Oz fares no better. James Franco is charismatic as the fake wizard injecting both humour and a liveliness into the proceedings, but the film runs out of steam long before the second half. Compensations are to be had with the aesthetics of the film. Costumes, Art-Direction, Visual effects and Make-up are all truly amazing and the film looks the millions of dollars that it probably cost to make. It is probably the best looking film of the year so far. However, it is probably the worst scripted also, and where film making is concerned it is always better to have a good story to get involved with than a visual feast. Both in sync is the ideal. This Oz is basically a boring, but beautiful series of pictures. Expand
  27. Mar 10, 2013
    10
    Went and saw OZ The Great and Powerful today in 3D and it was SPECTACULAR!! It was fantastic!! VERY very worth seeing!! Especially on a big screen and especially in 3D. Very well done, well written, spectacular effects, good action, good story, good humor, good adventure Definite must see and certainly a must-own!
  28. Mar 12, 2013
    7
    Oz: The Great And Powerful turns out to be a very honorable prequel to 1939's The Wizard Of Oz. The script and acting is so well written and intelligent. Not to mention it has an all-star cast including James Franco, Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis, and Rachel Weisz who are all very believable for each of their roles. But one of the biggest things that blew me away was the special effects. Very well made movie. My rating is 3/4 stars. Expand
  29. Mar 13, 2013
    10
    It's a masterpiece. The "professional" reviewers are again, completely out to lunch. A beautifully realized vision of the land of Oz, and perhaps the best prequel ever made, and no I am not related to Sam Raimi.
  30. May 31, 2013
    2
    Underwhelming. Amounts to a series of colour palette choices and some adequate CGi. This abomination should be avoided at all costs. If fast forward had been available at the screener, I would have been home in time for YouTube. Grow up!
  31. 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.
  32. 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 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
  33. Mar 10, 2013
    7
    The wicked witch might not be so wicked, but be prepared for an epic visual triumph, that dazzles the mind and satisfies the ears with a great, albeit a bit overblown soundtrack. This might not be the Oz that you remember, but it remains fresh enough for another trip back through the yellow brick road.
  34. Mar 24, 2013
    1
    Everything about the original has turned into a laughable embarrassment that is heartless and mindless. The Great and Powerful Oz is bland, uninteresting and carries no magic or wonder to it. As for James Franco, this should be a wake up call that his acting career needs to end.
  35. Mar 9, 2013
    8
    As whimsical as it is beguiling, "Oz The Great And Powerful" overwhelmingly surmounts its potential; thanks to Sam Raimi's perfectly conceived directorial imagination.
  36. 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
    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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  37. Mar 8, 2013
    9
    It's been a long time since I've seen anything this visually brilliant. Oz The great and the Powerful is magic for any child's eyes! This remake of the classic is very well done, other than its gazing fashion which is brought up a lot in this film which is good for a remake. I think every Disney fan won't be disappointed by Sam Raimi 's elegant cinematic experience.
  38. Mar 9, 2013
    8
    Oz the Great and Powerful is a mixed bag. It's very big, extremely colorful, and full of unique characters. I took the family to see it and found that it was perfectly suited for almost all ages. There was no violence or blood and only a couple of 3D staged frrights, mostly in the form of flying monkeys (which was the scariest part of the the original WOO). The characters were not terribly well developed but everyone had their place and it was fun to watch them chew up the scenery. The effects were a mixed bag with some of it being very good but others (mostly long shots of characters running) looking obviously CGI. The story itself plays right along the lines of WOO with character failings and encounters being resolved or re-met in Oz. The CGI characters looked terrific and the China Doll was absolutely precious. It was very easy to forget you were looking at CGI. The ending was very satisfying and my favorite part of the movie. I think the only place it missed was revealing an important character note very early. The original WOO held onto a mystery until the very end and I expected that here. Aside from that, the various plot points tied up nicely and we left the theater smiling.

    Oz the Great and Powerful isn't a masterpiece, but it's a very, very good film. Based on other reviews, I really should have seen the 3D version. Go see this today.
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  39. Mar 10, 2013
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. To me, the most important test of a movie is whether or not it was entertaining. I was thoroughly entertained. It was worth the price of the ticket. The special effects were awesome. And I could see Mila Kunis evolving into the Wicked Witch we've all come to know and love (hate Those that compare it to the first movie,to its detriment, are comparing apples and oranges. This was not a re-make nor was it intended to be. It was a good story in its own right, and I enjoyed it. As did my 8-yr old granddaughter.While she's seen "The Wizard of Oz", it hasn't had the imprint on her that those of us from another generation share, and she's still talking about it. I think Disney did a great job overall. Expand
  40. Mar 11, 2013
    1
    And James Franco wakes up from his Peyote induced fever dream he suffered from realizing how completely pointless and pathetic his life was, to see all of his friends aren't in fact monkeys, or dolls, or witches. They are just normal human beings, who he has treated poorly, and continues to lie to, for what he narcissistically claims is "The Good of The People." Oz, the Great and Powerful kids, hand in hand with Disney teaching you that if you scam your way along long enough, and make sure to use the emotions of every single person you step on along the way to your advantage, you too can one day make out with with your ex girlfriend (who may or may not be Eminem's mom from 8 Mile) in a dark enclosed space, waiting to offer empty promises and life lessons to cowardly lions, heartless tin men, and dumb, unappreciative little girls from Kansas. Expand
  41. Mar 12, 2013
    9
    It is a daunting task to follow anything that has greatness attached to it. When "The Wizard of OZ" came out in 1939, it was anything but a success but with the passage of time became a film classic and is now imprinted on our collective psyche. The marvel of "Oz Great and Powerful" is it's production design, from the opening titles, from Kansas to Oz itself is a technical wonder. While the temptation is to draw from all Oz before it, I do believe it succeeds on it's own and will become an enduring film that we will want to see again and again. Expand
  42. Mar 17, 2013
    0
    Juvenile, awful directorship, an unfortunate use of 3D (incomparable to Ang Lee's use of 3D Life of Pi) which gave me a terrible headache. The woeful attempt at homour was absurd.
    Unsophisticated with banal motivational lines about believing blah blah. The actors possessed little acting skills, with perhaps the exception of Michelle Williams who managed to portray a tolerable (but not
    exceptional) Glinda and Rachel Weisz (who wasn't at her best). James Franco's Oz was extremely annoying and if that's what the director hoped to achieve then he accomplished this feat extremely well. However, the dangers of manifesting the egotistical, greedy and seedy characteristics of Oz without any charming offsetting traits has its disadvantages.Consequently, I felt no empathy with any of the characters with the exception of Theodora (despite Mila Kuni's poor performance) one managed to garner some understanding relating to her hatred of the Wizard (however, I attribute that due to my own feelings of contempt towards him). This film has not lived up to its exceptions but I blame Disney for appointing a terrible Director. With a huge budget it could have done so much more. Expand
  43. Mar 26, 2013
    3
    Main thing is James Franco's miscasting,he was Raimi's choice, 'cause he had work him in SM trilogy.But it should have been Johnny Depp,he is kinda born to play such fantasy roles,so he is the most perfect for Oz.Weisz is quite good,as she is always,and Mila and Williams are nothing special.The story is soooo predictable at the end.A Movie to entertain the people who only care about CGI and nothing else.And Disney cant repeat Alice's success 'cause, 3D revolution is over and WHO CARES 3D now huh??!!. Expand
  44. Jul 23, 2013
    0
    I am going to start out right away and say this movie was terrible. Just terrible. I had hopes for this movie but they were shattered within the first twenty minutes of the movie.

    There was probably only one likable character in the entire movie and it wasn't Oz. In fact, he was probably the least likable character. I thought choosing Jame Francco to play Oz was a bad move. Most of the
    casting for the movie was bad.

    The special effects were terrible. It reminded me of Revenge of the Sith were everything was green screened. I am serious, EVERYTHING WAS IN GREEN SCREEN. I even notice background cows that literally look like something from a 1990s PC game. Also the 'lovable' monkey awkward and obviously fake. I am unsure if they even tried to make the CG portions of the film fit with the two real things on screen.

    The overall story was pointless too. I mean was there really a need to go back and tell the story of Oz other than money? NO. I was uninterested throughout 98% of the movie. That 2% is when the china girl doll thing was on the screen, she was the one interesting character in the whole movie. They tried to portray Oz and a con man was silly and how he just suddenly changed his ways was absurd because there was no build up, all of a sudden, boom, he was good.

    I need to stop before i saw something insulting. This i a terrible movie. Don't see it, Don't buy it, Don't rent it. It ranks and one of the worst movies I have seen.
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  45. Aug 26, 2013
    0
    Horrible it's not just horrible, this cost 215 million to make. Same as Jack the Giant Slayer ,The Lone Ranger, Man of Steel, Battleship, World War Z, Pacific Rim, Snow White & the Huntsman, Wreck-It Ralph, Furious 6. Movies that are great, impress me are great movies with very little budget, not only that movie that made huge profit. Movies like Jurassic Park, The Lion King, Ice Age,Independence Day, Star Wars. I don't understand why would a company let directer to spend that enormous money. Most high budget films are bad, some are good, but not worth a money. Expand
  46. 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.
  47. 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. 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
  48. Jun 4, 2013
    7
    "To say "OZ" is powerful is pushing its boundaries a little bit, but great is a fair assessment. Oz is a visually stunning spectacle with enough dazzle and humor to make up for its overbearing run-time, middling performances and modest conclusion." B
  49. 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 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
  50. Jul 29, 2013
    8
    No matter what age bracket you are in, you'll enjoy it. It doesn't have the best action or storyline but the casting and character performances was spot on.
  51. 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 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
  52. Apr 25, 2013
    8
    This movie is not half bad. James Franco was a good pick for the role. If they had gone with Robert Downey, his persona would have made all the interactions seem too dirty while Franco's silly innocence keeps it light. Great effects and some good humor are also what make it worth the watch.
  53. Aug 18, 2013
    8
    Surprisingly dazzling with great special effect and some charming characters. As someone who didn't expect much going into this, and as someone who thought a prequel to the legendary "The Wizard of Oz" was pointless, I must say I was impressed with how much I enjoyed the movie. It in no way lives up to the original movie, but on its own it's still an enjoyable film. It packs humor, excitement, and some surprising emotion. The cast is fantastic, particularly the memorable supporting cast. There are some inaccuracies here and there but overall it ties in nicely with the original movie, and has a slight mature story that tells you not to play with peoples emotions. Overall it's a great film, and while it ay not live up to its predecessor, it's still worth a watch. Expand
  54. Aug 28, 2013
    1
    One point for Michelle Williams's performance which was fantastic. Everything else in this film was poorly crafted, poorly performed, and generally uninteresting. I suppose if you thinking yelling is acting, really like James Franco for whatever reason, or have no concept of what tension is this film would be worth watching.
  55. 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.
  56. 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.
  57. 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 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
  58. Jun 28, 2013
    3
    Gwaaaah, what a terrible movie. James Franco should NOT be a leading actor and Mila Kunis should NOT be a leading actress. It had a good set of ideas and what could have been a really touching story that was just trampled on my ham-fisted acting. Gwah.
  59. Mar 9, 2013
    7
    If you are expecting this intense, exciting adventure, you will be disappointed. If you are expecting a hilarious comedy, you will also be disappointed, just as you would be if you were expecting this emotional powerhouse, or a thought provoking masterpiece. What this is is a very mild version of each of those, which by no means should be taken as a serious movie. This is actually pretty similar to recent story adaptations such as Snow White and the Huntsman and Alice in Wonderland, neither of which I really liked. It's not very original at all, it drags in spots, but it has a few laughs, some mildly emotional moments, and a small bit of exciting action. What separates this from those movies is James Franco's performance. He is so intentionally over the top, that it gives the impression that the movie doesn't take itself too seriously. James might be the only person involved in the whole movie who realizes how hokey and corny it is, but he owns it, and that makes it enjoyable. He basically hams up the screen as if he is making a mockery of the script. The movie would be pretty terrible if this quest to defeat the witch were taken as seriously as the script seems to take it, but James has fun with it, and doesn't take the movie seriously at all, which becomes contagious. I guess you have to go into it with that same attitude for it to work. It works for little kids anyway, but James makes it work for adults too. Of course it looks great, and there are some genuinely good moments too, like how they reveal the witches. I do like the references to the original movie, like how it starts out in black and white (basically things they could get away with without having the rights). Kids will like it, and adults will like it if you like the original, and you go into it taking it very lightly. Expand
  60. 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.
  61. Mar 25, 2013
    8
    Enjoyable fantasy flick by Sam Raimi may have the same 'plot points' as Disney's own Alice in Wonderland, but done in such an enthusiastic fashion that you just can't help but smile. Raimi and the casts infuse so much energy into this production that it covers up some inconsistencies in the plot. Psychedelic production values and a lot of humor made this feel like an acid trip. While the CGI might feel a little too much, but when it works (i.e. in China doll's case), it really works. One thing I like is that Oz doesn't really gain any magic powers by the end of the film, and its conclusion is so consistent with his character and his abilities. Kudos for Franco for selling this character, in a role meant for Rob Downey Jr. of all people. Expand
  62. 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 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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  63. Dec 18, 2013
    7
    When I first heard that Disney was doing a prequel to the Wizard of Oz, I was kind of annoyed. Then I remembered that they did a pretty decent job making a sequel to it, 25 years earlier. My hopes got even higher when I heard that James Franco would star in it. To me, he was such an interesting choice to play the wizard. Franco is a very versatile actor, but he's known more for action and comedy, not family films, but he brings a very interesting dynamic to the movie. Much like the Wizard of Oz and Return To Oz, this film is taken directly from the original Oz stories of L. Frank Baum. Once again, instead of just adapting a book, the screen writers picked and chose from several stories to create this one, and if I may say so, they did a very good job. Of course there is a bunch of Disneyizing to it, as seen with the spunky china girl and the talking monkey, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Franco is terrific and really carries the story. He combines his charms and looks with goofiness and ingenuity to make his character come alive in a way that L. Frank Baum would have loved. He's paired with Mila Kunis who is also really good and used to playing unlikable characters...Shut up Meg! What I especially liked about this film is how they played off the original. Starting in black & white, in an old box format, before opening up to the tradition high def. widescreen view was ingenious. I also loved how people from the black & white story had roles in Oz, just like the original. What was strange though is that they made Oz out to be a real place and discounted the whole dream aspect of the stories. In all of Baum's writings it was never known for a certainty weather or not Oz was a real place. The fact of the matter is that nothing in this genre will ever be as good as the original Wizard of Oz, but The Great & Powerful answers a lot of questions, is taken directly from the writings of the original author, has a great cast, and really does an impressive job of connecting to a film that was made 75 years earlier. Expand
  64. 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. 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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  65. Jun 23, 2013
    8
    The film starts off unimpressively in B&W and old-timey but if you can endure past Oscar's trip to Oz then you're in for a visual feast. You really need a 55-in or larger 3D HDTV to really benefit from this offering, I have one from LG, and the cinematography stands out as its own feature. We come into Oz in full saturated color at full 1080p, quite a treat. And there are several jump-from-your-seat moments that are best experienced in 3D. The plot and characters are aimed more at tween girls but it's tolerable for the rest of us, especially towards the climactic end for which you should have tissues on hand. Overall, it's a great prequel for one of America's enduring family classics. Expand
  66. 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
  67. 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 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
  68. 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.
  69. Jun 24, 2013
    8
    You can dissect this movie in every way and find a way to degrade it to the original, or you can take it for what it is. It is a delightful treat to see great visuals with wonderful characters.
  70. 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.
    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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  71. Mar 8, 2013
    8
    I was pleasantly surprised by this movie. Once again the critics miss the point. Oz is a great popcorn movie, with beautiful scenery, believable acting, wonderful special effects, and appropriate amounts of comic relief. Most importantly the writers do a great job tying the prequel into the original movie. The movie may not win any awards but it will likely win over movie goers.
  72. Jun 28, 2013
    2
    Well, it did deserve a point just to see Mila Kunis in tight leather pants. Thank you, Di$ney. Oh, and another point to the actors for sticking it out through this turd. Otherwise, I'd recommend watching something with a little more substance--like Spongebob.
  73. Aug 24, 2013
    7
    Being a prequel to "The Wizard of Oz" (Which, by the way, is the most critically acclaimed movie on all of Metacritic), people probably had high expectations for this movie. Because it wasn't amazing, I think that many people are under-rating it. It's still good and as far as a prequel goes, I thought they did a good job. While at times they add that "Disney Magic" which as much of an inner child I am does slightly annoy me, the story line works well. The visual effects aren't exactly Avatar standard, but they don't stoop as low as "Spy Kids: Game Over" either. For the movie that it was, I thought the visual effects were reasonable. Overall, it's not the most amazing movie you'll ever see, but it's still enjoyable. Expand
  74. 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
  75. Jun 27, 2013
    8
    The movie exceeded my expectations. Unlike other fairy tale adaptations, such as Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland, the movie uses it's visual effects and use of 3D as a way of throwing some relevance towards the world revolved around the characters. Although it's story heavily borrows some elements from several Disney pictures, it worked for the story line and functions as clever tributes. Oscar Diggs (James Franco) has to grow as a person and it's actions are what made him learn from his mistakes and to eventually transform himself into a better man and The Wizard Of Oz. The movie is groundbreaking in certain aspects and is able to entertain the audience with it's own witty tricks and surprisingly spends more time developing it's characters. James Franco clearly wasn't the first choice to portray the Wizard, but eventually he suited the part and offers us a grounded performance. Michelle Williams also offers an immensely likable and charming performance as the bubbly Glinda and often resembles the classical image of Disney Princesses. Rachel Weisz is the typical Disney villain, a woman who possesses a great amount of wealthiness as well as wickedness. Though other actresses could have made the character extremely evil, it's ultimately nice watching Weisz enjoying herself and delivering a cunning and suitably envious image towards her role. Mila Kunis is the one who brings the cleverest and easily distinguishable performance in this adventure. In between both sides, Kunis manages to pull off with an ease a naive young woman and manages to convince us with a simple look that literally pays homage to the golden age of Hollywood. Kunis walks away with the honors for bring such depth and relevance to a character who ends up becoming so iconic and quite frankly tragic after her magnetic performance.
    I had a blast travelling to the magical land of Oz and it's a ride I would surely repeat.
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  76. 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.
  77. Mar 8, 2013
    7
    There are times it is magical and reminds you why you love the original. Then there are other times it is too campy and too corny. Franco may have been miscast but he does a fine job in the role and Zach Braff provides a lot of laughs as his monkey sidekick. It's not awful just don't be expecting art.
  78. Mar 16, 2013
    8
    Great visuals, nice cast. the monkey is cool too. The storyline is OK, it's like a prequel to the original Oz. The 3d effects are decent. Such movies are good to let your brain rest and to take you away from everyday routine. Nothing more.
  79. Apr 20, 2013
    7
    Not the best movie of year 2013,but fair enough humor and 3De ffects make movie is watchable.I felt movie is lacking a steady plot.Anyway this worth to watch if you in to simple pop corn movies.
  80. Mar 9, 2013
    7
    I was undecided about this one for a while; it gets dark for it's demographic. Like Jack the Giant Slayer, I wasn't sure whether it was meant for children or adults. Unlike Jack the Giant Slayer, this one made use of its amazing graphics, instead of being an excuse for them.
    scriptsmotion.wordpress.com
  81. Mar 13, 2013
    9
    Great movie that while watching I couldnt help but get excited about the original movie and how this one ties it all together.. explains why this character is the the way they are.. worth watching.. 3d effects are cool.. nothing too breathtaking so 2d would be just as enjoyable. Go see it.. actors and actresses did well.. found myself wanting more at the end.. like felt quick because it was so enjoyable Expand
  82. Jun 29, 2013
    7
    Had our family smiling and managed to keeps us engaged. The darkness may be to strong for those that are younger than 8-9 or so... Exceeded my low expectations.
  83. Apr 17, 2013
    8
    I am not particularly fond of the original movie, which I consider to be overly saccharine and wildly overated, mostly by people who fantasise obsessively about "movie magic" and how great the movies of the thirties and forties were. I really wasn't expecting much. In fact I only went to this one because I made an error in booking. So I was pleasantly surprised at how witty, emotionally engaging and spectacular this film is. James Franco is not all that appealing, but the performances of the three witches are great especially Michelle Williams. The special effects are pretty good, the humour was fine, the romantic riffs were deftly handled. And the porcelain doll was particularly well done she has most of the best lines, for a start. The 3D was excellent as well. Congrats to Sam Raimi for pulling something so good out of pretty unpromising material. A real labour of love, with plenty of movie magic of its own. Expand
  84. Oct 1, 2013
    8
    Oz the Great and Powerful was actually better than I thought it would be.My favorite characters in the movie was the China girl, and Witch of the west.Allot of people seem to think this is a remake but it`s a separate story.
  85. 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 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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  86. Apr 21, 2013
    8
    After going on a date and seeing this movie, I honestly was surprised. I have never scene the original and hadn't heard anything about this one. And I must say it was a true emotionally brilliant experience. The heart, the action and character development is just truly brilliant. It engages the audience right form the beginning and never lets go. As stated before I've yet to see the original but via parodies and pop culture references, I have the basic knowledge of the original. And I must say, as a prequel it is just brilliant how everything unfolds and explains itself. Truly brilliant film worth watching Expand
  87. Mar 9, 2013
    9
    There seem to be a lot of cynics out there who wish to view this as a simple cashgrab by Disney. While it may have some of that, the film on a whole does not suffer it. It is a most enjoyable experience in a way that the Star Wars prequel trilogy failed to achieve it does not try to live up to or surpass the greatness of the original. Rather, it tries and succeeds at using some of the magic of yesterday to tell a story for today's audience. An outright remake would have drawn poorly comparisons from the get-go, while this you could still walk into open-minded (if you don't listen to critics like Mr. Morgenstern who was just waiting for the opportunity to use a turn of the phrase in the Tin Man and make us belief that his opinions should matter. If you are getting your movie watching advice from WSJ instead of your real life friends and family first, and the actual public second well, there is no hope for you anyway). This walked a fine balance and told a suspenseful-enough tale that reminds you that magic does not have to die in your childhood. Expand
  88. 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 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
  89. 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.
  90. 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
    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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  91. 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
    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. Expand
  92. Mar 30, 2013
    8
    "Oz the Great and Powerful" is a beautifully executed callback to the original 1939 film. The most important thing to remember is that this is a prequel to "The Wizard of Oz." There is just enough Oz and enough differences to make this a successful film. Fantastic visuals, clever sleight of hand, and a talented cast makes this a joyful experience for people of all ages.
  93. 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 the movie into destruction and ended up being a lame duck. Expand
  94. Apr 1, 2013
    10
    that was amazing. I loved the films like Alice in Wonderland and this movie was kind of like that, i thought the cast was good and the 3D fit in well and it was very entertainig. Overall 10/10 i would reccomend this to anyone who liked Alice in Wonderland
  95. Jun 19, 2013
    2
    A little less CGI and a maybe someone else besides James Franco in the title role would have made this movie worth watching. I enjoyed the black and white element in the beggining but a bad script is a bad script. Also for those scratching there heads to a number of scenes this is a prequal to the book Not the movie. Overall it was interesting at times but dull and lifeless overall.
  96. Mar 23, 2013
    7
    This film had many things that could have gone wrong, but they really did a great job. It´s beautiful and colourful. The beginning in black and white is cool and when the wizard finally arrives in Oz... wow it´s so beautiful. Of course this is a film based on the visual effects and tries to pay homage to the original. But it´s not an empty film at all. It´s way better than Alice in Wonderland. The actors did a good job. The movie is constantly funny and people enjoy it from start to finish. There are a few moments that feel truly scary (totally unexpected for me) and the two best characters (the monkey and the little porcelain girl) are great. Incredible that they make you feel sad for a character like that little porcelain. Totally recommendable. Not a masterpiece but at least what all big blockbusters full of visual effects should be Expand
  97. Apr 1, 2013
    8
    The movie was very good, I don't understand why it is so underrated. James Franco was amazing but not many people like him in general which makes their review biased. For some reason he's quite underrated. For me, Franco is one of the best actors of our generation.
    Anyway, the movie was very entertaining. It is a movie for all ages, so some parts of it might seem stupid to people over the
    age of 16. At times the script was bad, but overall the movie is great. It's a must see for people who like fairy tales or just want to see something refreshing that doesn't need to be taken seriously. Expand
  98. 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 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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  99. Jun 9, 2013
    7
    I felt this was a pretty good movie actually. At times, it was like watching Alice in wonderland more than anything. Maybe because of all the twisted environment with colors. But it had some nice characters in the movie, but it all came together I think a bit too fast. I wanted to see more of the background stories of each character. The main character was solid but I think just didn't make me feel that much into the movie as if i was watching it with maybe Johnny Depp? It's just the dialogue sometimes either felt awkward or no point. It was just very PGish. i know it's a Disney movie, so expect that. But It was just too 'happy feel good' for me. There were no real threat or turmoil and urgency to save the world of Oz. Overall, a solid good movie but i thought it would have been much better than it turned out. The movie title doesn't exactly show it. Maybe Oz got too consumed with power or something. It would have been a much better side plot than a love story with the witch sisters. Expand
  100. Mar 20, 2013
    9
    A fabulous fantasy and a blast to watch, Oz the Great and Powerful is visually powerful and a great family movie!!! Great acting (you actually feel sorry for a specific character), fantastic visuals, and a handful of references to Disney fairy tales and the original 1939 classic. Plus, despite being over 2 hours long, this Oz prequel never has a boring moment integrated into it. Sam Raimi has outdone himself!!!

    Its' also clean for the most part. Though I do have to point out that if your younger ones were frightened by the witches/flying monkeys in the original Oz, stay FAR AWAY from this hot air balloon ride. This rendition of the classic magical land is a considerably darker and scarier place. Unlike the G-rated original that's fine for most 4 and 5 year olds on up, this PG-rated prequel of sorts is more for ages 9 and up.

    For a more detailed review, visit www.moviestakenseriously.blogspot.com
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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.