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Mixed or average reviews - based on 42 Critics What's this?

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6.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 452 Ratings

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 42
  2. Negative: 10 out of 42
  1. Reviewed by: Kim Newman
    Mar 4, 2013
    80
    If there are post-Harry Potter children who don’t know or care about The Wizard of Oz, they might be at sea with this story about a not-very-nice grownup in a magic land, but long-term Oz watchers will be enchanted and enthralled. There’s even a musical number, albeit an abbreviated one. Mila Kunis gets a gold star for excellence in bewitchery and Sam Raimi can settle securely behind the curtain as a mature master of illusion.
  2. 75
    The cast, plainly packed with second or third choices, lets it down. Is there anything in James Franco’s past that suggests larger-than-life, a fast-talking, womanizing con-man? And the three witches – Theodora, Evanora and Glinda – are Bland, Blander and Blond Bland.
  3. Reviewed by: Richard Roeper
    Mar 6, 2013
    63
    Some of the surprises in Oz the Great and Powerful, the much-anticipated "Wizard of Oz" origins movie, are delightful. Others, however, sink the movie just below the point of recommendation, with the primary drawback falling on the lovely shoulders of Michelle Williams and Mila Kunis, as early versions of Glinda the Good Witch and the Wicked Witch of the West, respectively.
  4. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Mar 6, 2013
    58
    Much of Oz The Great And Powerful’s fate is tied to James Franco’s performance as Oz, and the center barely holds, with Franco often looking as overwhelmed by the task as he was by his hosting job on Oscar night.
  5. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Mar 7, 2013
    50
    There's no Judy Garland songs, no Scarecrow, no Tin Man, no Cowardly Lion. There's also no simplicity, no magic, no truth.
  6. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Mar 1, 2013
    40
    A miscast James Franco and a lack of charm and humor doom Sam Raimi's prequel to the 1939 Hollywood classic. Oz the Wimpy and Weak would be more like it.
  7. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Mar 7, 2013
    0
    Don’t be fooled by the smoke and mirrors. There is nothing here that is great, or powerful. Worst of all, there’s nothing here that even feels like Oz.

See all 42 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 92 out of 151
  2. Negative: 35 out of 151
  1. 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 DisneyThis 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. Expand
  2. Jul 20, 2013
    9
    I made plans to see this movie, then I saw it was rated 64% and I was like "oh crap...". Then I saw it anyways and thought it was great.I made plans to see this movie, then I saw it was rated 64% and I was like "oh crap...". Then I saw it anyways and thought it was great. I really like movies that take you to a new world and this did just that. The movie was somewhat unpredicatable which I liked. Anyway, i'd recommend it. I came out of the movie feeling like I just saw something great. Collapse
  3. 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 characterNo 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. Expand
  4. 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 andA 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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  5. 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 wouldEver 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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  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, II 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. Expand
  7. 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.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.
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See all 151 User Reviews

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