It is hard to believe, with all the technology and resources that we have in the movie industry these days, that a movie released in 1939 still reigns supreme over others of the same vein or any that try to duplicate, but it is true. ??Oz: The Great and Powerful?? was looking to change that. Disney originally had the rights to ??The Wizard of Oz?? but sold them to Samuel Goldwyn, who in turn sold it to Louis B. Mayer, who created the original film. Now, it has run full circle and Disney brings us ??Oz: The Great and Powerful??, a prequel that explains the origin of the man who became Oz. Oscar Diggs, played by James Franco, is a circus magician in early 20th century Kansas. He??s a shallow man. He??s an arrogant man. He??s a womanizer (they took a few liberties there). So when his time in the circus comes to an abrupt halt and his hot air balloon finds the heart of a Kansas tornado, he finds Oz, just the same way that Dorothy did. We go from black and white to vivid, 3D animation color. We??ve come a long way since 3-strip Technicolor.The beauty and 3D of the entire film are exceptional. The best part of the film was the realization of the Land of Oz like we didn??t get in the original. Sure, they traveled the yellow brick road for part of the film, but we also get to see places inside the Emerald City that we could only imagine before. We get to see off the beaten path places in the land of Oz. We get to meet a little China doll girl who was the only survivor of a China doll city that was destroyed by the witch??s monkeys. The imagery of the film is top notch. The effects that bring the witches to life and Oscar??s friends are none short of brilliant.Unfortunately though, as I??ve seen a lot in recent months and years, the script doesn??t match the visuals. The script is sluggish and dull. It??s that simple. ??Oz: The Great and Powerful?? doesn??t even come close to achieving the magic of the first. The writers and creators took a strange course that to me, proved very costly. Oscar a.k.a. Oz, is a ladies man. He woos nearly every woman he meets. The three women, Theodora, Evanora and Glenda are all smitten with him. Consequently, there??s a lot of kissing. Not only is it hard to believe James Franco to be this person, it plays out like a television soap opera, cheapening and distracting the audience from what they truly came to see. ??Oz: The Great and Powerful?? is a fun movie. It is a nice way to escape for a few hours. I especially like the characters that Oz meets along the way; the China Girl and Finley the flying bellhop monkey. Yet, too much time was wasted building up emotional relationships with three different women and that left the scenes with the witches doing their nasty evil, in the sparse category. You??d think with something like this, Hollywood would have taken more time to make sure it wasn??t just a visual treat and would have left sexual attraction on the cutting room floor.
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