Movie: "Oz the Great and Powerful"

As I’ve mentioned several times, my favorite movie growing up was The Wizard of Oz. Grampa Knights had it on laser disk, and we watched it practically every time we visited him.  He finally he put it on VHS for us.  I knew every line and sang my heart out with every song. I have no idea what it was about Oz that made me fall in love, but it did. We also watched Return to Oz, the very scary sequel, and loved it.  My family still references it in every day language (“Tie my feet together!“)… and I think it, subconsciously, might helped contribute to a middle school obsession with the movie, The Craft.

When it was announced that Disney was creating a new version of this childhood favorite, Oz the Great and Powerful, I was quite excited.  Life got in the way, and I did not get to see it with my family in the Berkshires, but Mike and I did get it on Netflix and watched it.  Because so much time passed between when the movie came out and when I saw it, I had read lots of reviews.  In particular, I’d read that it was terrible – making a mockery of the wonderful female hero of The Wizard of Oz because of weak female leads and a wimpy love story plot.  I guess you could say that I was a little surprised I enjoyed it as much as I did.

I expected this to be a 2/5 stars movie, but it was more like.. a 2.5/5 stars movie.

James Franco did a great job portraying the wizard in his youth, and Michelle Williams made for an excellent Glinda (although it was very confusing when the Wizard kept calling Glinda “Wanda”… I thought there was another character!)  (Also confusing… the fact that the writers called Glinda the Good Witch of the South, like in the novels, instead of the North like in the movie!)  I also enjoyed the switch from black & white to “technicolor” in a similar fashion to the original.

Mila Kunis’s Wicked Witch (sorry… spoiler there… she’s the Wicked Witch, sorry…) was weak.   It killed me that she became the Wicked Witch out of jealousy (“Green with Envy…” so predictable) and that her character in that state was so CGI’d that she matched the background more than anything else.  I also found a plot mistake… which I’m pretty sure I’ve never done before!… and I kept getting distracted by it:

In the original Wizard of Oz, the field of poppies outside the Emerald City is put in place by the Wicked Witch in hopes of keeping Dorothy and friends from meeting the Wizard. I can vividly remember her waving her hands over the magic ball:

Wicked Witch of the West: And now, my beauties, something with poison in it, I think. With poison in it, but attractive to the eye, and soothing to the smell.

Wicked Witch of the West: Poppies… Poppies. Poppies will put them to sleep. Sleeeeep. Now they’ll sleeeeep!

The writers really thought Oz fans wouldn’t notice such a big mistake…?

So anyway, I liked the movie but it most definitely did not live up to the original, and it is difficult to not make a comparison.  I’ve only read the first of the original Oz books series, and maybe I’d have an easier time if I weren’t so obsessed with the original.   Did you see it?  What did you think?

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