The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

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The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

Click your heels together, go see Oz

Disney’s prequel to the beloved 1939 classic hit movie “The Wizard of Oz” comes short of matching the MGM masterpiece. But that should not stop anyone from seeing “Oz the Great and Powerful,” directed by Sam Raimi.
Some interesting references to the first “Oz” help keep older fans interested. This “Oz” starts off in black and white, while only taking up part of the screen to give a retro feel reminiscent of the original. In these initial scenes, the main character Oscar Diggs (James Franco), or Oz, works as a small-time circus magician who finds himself in trouble when a strongman discovers that Oz gave his girl a music box. Oz rides on the hot-air balloon to escape his troubles, and, of course, he gets sent to the wonderful land of Oz after flying into a tornado.
That is when “Oz” becomes a colorful visual experience with vibrant landscapes and lush environments. To make it clear, I wrongly chose not to watch in 3-D, which was a regrettable decision. Just from watching, it became obvious Raimi had 3-D in mind.
Three very beautiful witches await Franco’s character once he reaches his destination, one of whom becomes the famous wicked witch. Oscar meets Theodora first and her face seems a little different than the actress that plays her, Mila Kunis. Her witch sisters, Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams), look almost too good as well. Perhaps Disney did not need to smooth out their faces on the computer, if that is the case here.
Despite the long runtime of 130 minutes, “Oz” moves along at a decent pace. Humor fills in the gaps where needed, especially once Oscar meets a flying monkey named Finley (Zach Braff). Finley adds a lot of satirical dialogue to “Oz,” yet never becomes overly annoying as one of the sidekicks.
Oscar’s other new friend, a China doll made out of porcelain, adds a touching moment to the script when the two first meet and she needs help. Out of the two sidekicks, the China doll comes off as more memorable, with both vulnerable and funny moments. Joey King brings the China doll to life with her versatile voice.
King also plays a pivotal role at the beginning: a handicapped girl who requests Oscar grant her the ability to walk again. She gives the impression of a promising young actress who will be heard from for a long time.
Many characters from the 1939 classic are missing, such as the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion. Dorothy is absent as well since the story in this prequel takes place 20 years before the first movie. Munchkins appear and add some nostalgia, at least.
The twists in “Oz the Great and Powerful” will not fool many people. Once the plot moves away from revealing the wicked witch, it centers around whether Oz can help the “good” witch and her supporters, all of whom assume that Oz is a powerful wizard. “Oz” never tries to take any huge risks with the storyline, which some reviewers may consider a flaw. What exists in the story works, though, and keeps the movie interesting beyond the visuals.
Perhaps “Oz the Great and Powerful” is not as great as the original. It does not have to be perfect for moviegoers to have a good time! Even if a bit predictable, “Oz” looks excellent and the visual experience combined with the decent story make this worth the price of admission.

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Click your heels together, go see Oz