Like many of you, I always wondered, every day of my life, exactly what happened before The Wizard of Oz. Or at least Disney thinks we all did. And thus, we find out the Wizard’s humble origins as Harry Osbourne, sworn enemy of Spider-Man, er, or maybe he was actually called “Oz,” and was an aspiring magician. That’s the craziest origin story they could think of? Joking aside, this came from the director of the Spider-Man trilogy (Sam Raimi), and the trailers made it look similar to the trippy Alice in Wonderland live-action movie, which I actually enjoyed (dodges shoe thrown by hater). But how did this
remake prequel deliver? (SPOILERS FOLLOW)
Well, it performed like a cheap pizza- good at first, heartburn and sorrow later. It started out with a spectacular opening credit sequence that made my 3D price worth it, and had a beginning that seemed a tribute to the original Wizard of Oz movie. The first 20ish minutes were shot in black and white with an old-school screen size. The acting style felt old-fashioned and larger-than-life, most notably from James Franco and Abigail Spencer. Heck, Oz even entered Oz via a tornado, and then we got a look at the wide-screen, vibrantly colored world. By the time Theodora and the womanizing Oz arrived in the Emerald City, I was completely into the movie.
And then something happened. I’m not really sure if there was one catalyst or not, but after Mila Kunis transformed into the more-wicked-witch, I realized my expectations for this movie had not only fallen but had gotten curb-stomped by a winged baboon. Simply put, the movie was good enough, but could have been much better. To twist Oz’s words, I didn’t want this to be a good movie, I wanted it to be a great one. Maybe if Michelle Williams and Rachel Weisz hadn’t been so convincing, Mila Kunis’s acting wouldn’t have been so painful once she tried to play the evil role. Maybe if Mila Kunis’s second-half face hadn’t looked so laughably fake, we may not have cared about her acting so much. Maybe if there had been any sense of real danger or conflict, the movie could have been interesting in the second act. Maybe if the writers could have fleshed out the characters more, the most believable and likable wouldn’t have been the (well-done) CGI china doll. Maybe if the movie hadn’t ended so randomly, yet weakly.
I really wanted to give this movie two thumbs up. Unfortunately, it’s only gonna get one thumb up, hesitantly and that’s if you see it in 3D. And I’m gonna point two thumbs down in advance for the already-announced sequel, because that sounds like it will blow more than a tornado.