Chick 1 says:
The idea of this movie always intrigued me. Seemed like a good idea but the more I saw of the ads the more the movie itself seemed…meh. Unfortunately, my suspicions were accurate.
First let me say that Oz is gorgeous. The sets, costumes, and most of the visual effects are a treat. There are a lot of great ideas here, some clever thoughts on how the Wizard came to be. And I have to admit the final resolution was satisfying. But getting there was a slow painful trip.
One of the biggest problems is the combination of James Franco and his character and I’m not sure which is the real problem. Yes, Oz (Oscar Diggs) is a self-centered, ambitious, amoral con-man but lots of protagonist start off in that condition. That’s usually the point of a good story, that the hero should grow and learn. But there is so little to like in Oz and it’s a long time into the movie before we see some sincerity in him. Even his early attempts to be “good” are motivated by self-survival and personal gain. And as we get closer to the end when Oz is supposed to be maturing, Franco’s acting just comes across as smarmy. What I assume was supposed to be a sweet smile just made me go, “Ew, stop.”
It seems the filmmakers are trying for a type of fantasy sweetness with a nod to old style acting but it makes the film lack subtlety. You can have a sweet-tempered good and evil story but still have layered and textured characters. Michelle Williams as Glinda the Good Witch is OK. Her acting is fine and the character does occasionally have a clue but toward the end she descends in “I believe in him. Blah blah blah.” territory and completely confirms Mel Brooks’ theory that ”Evil will always triumph because good is dumb.” This especially applies to poor Mila Kunis who flounders around like Natalie Portman in the Star Wars movies, a case of good actress with crappy script/direction. Even just a few minutes after meeting her I was thinking, “Can a witch be this stupid?” Rachel Weisz is the only one who manages to escape somewhat unscathed.
There are a few moments that resonate like the story of the china doll. And the finale is fun, especially the final tie-ins to the original Wizard of Oz movie.
Bottom Line: Unless you are a big Wizard of Oz buff or love great visual effects, stay away.