The Buzz: Oz the Great and Powerful

Sarah Cho, Feature Editor

I entered the theater expecting the sort of family movie that is just as or even more so enjoyable for an older audience—something like Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean” or “Alice in Wonderland”. I expected something of at least “Spy Kids” caliber. But, everything from the comic impossibilities to James Franco and Mila Kunis’ overacting screams a solid kids’ movie—a kids’ movie of the Journey 2: The Mysterious Island variety.

Once I overcame my disappointment, however, I found the movie to be mildly entertaining and a good movie to watch with kids. The action sequences are as intense as they can be in a PG rated movie and the dialogue was humorous. Franco’s character, while exceedingly stereotypical, was likeable in an anti-hero sort of way. I especially loved its cast of strong female characters, particularly Kunis’ portrayal of Theodora and Michelle William’s Glinda. While the acting was exaggerated and cheesy for 99.9% of the movie, it added to the Wizard of Oz charm we grew to love as children with the original. Really, the entire movie seems like a giant popup book, and I mean that in a good way. Its bright vibrant colors, magically enchanting settings, and unusual and playful camerawork create this odd, yet likeable, experience.

But, even as a kids’ movie, it’s not without its faults. The biggest flaw, by far, is the CGI. The movie’s use of green screen could have been a little (a lot) better. Some scenes actually made me cringe and at times I felt physically sick and could only sit in my seat wondering where they found a green room big enough for Franco to run around in.

While I didn’t see the movie in 3-D, you can tell this was a made for 3-D movie. There are tons of sharp objects which abruptly fly out at you along with sequences involving water and fog you just know was put in there so those who shelled out the extra three dollars and fifty cents can go “ooh” and “ahh” with their 3-D glasses. But, in all honestly, the movie isn’t worth an extra three dollars and fifty cents and as a result, the painfully obvious made for 3-D sequences took away from the whole experience.

While not the epic that I expected and not the blockbuster its trailers made it out to be, it is a solid kids’ movie. And if nothing else, the theater plays some pretty amazing trailers to highly anticipated movies just before the showing. But, to be fair to the movie, I must admit I am definitely not the demographic they were targeting. I’m sure a younger viewer would have thought it to be a spectacular movie. I’m absolutely positive James Franco now has some very love struck nine year olds as lifetime fans.