Average User Score: 6.1Aug 17, 2013This 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.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.1Aug 17, 2013It is always painful and disappointing inside to see something potent and original dissolve away into the Hollywood formula. Clearly there isIt is always painful and disappointing inside to see something potent and original dissolve away into the Hollywood formula. Clearly there is that pressure on Kick-Ass in the sequel. The question is, how has the ‘something more’ in the original fared? Something more than entertainment through the standard sugar high. Remember how touching was big daddy’s love for little kick girl when he would say “Child, your inventiveness is so wonderful.” Remember that hilarious beginning scene with the superhero we thought was our protagonist turning out to be just someone else who was mentally ill? The sequel is starting to dissolve around the edges. Gory fight scenes are less and less realistic and actually begin to get boring (except for kick girl’s!). What is doing well in the sequel is the comedic quality of the dialogue, the funny lines, and most of all the mystique of kick girl. What is it with her costume anyway? It is such a perfect vision. Kick girl is such a wonderful vision of a classic archetype. She represents anima in an early developmental but extremely potent state. Given this, it is no wonder she has propelled to such stardom especially with boys and even men. But even as a child, she is not FOR children. It is unfortunate in a way that her potency is rooted so entirely in violence. Theoretically it could have been based on many things. In it’s current incarnation it defines the Kick-Ass brand however, and isolates away this potency into an unrealistic basis which only Kick Girl can really own. Quite a brilliant form of ‘copyright’ actually.… Expand