Some people will grouse that Oz the Great and Powerful is a pale imitation of a great film.
But, perhaps unintentionally, that’s part of its charm. After all, the Wizard is revealed in The Wizard of Oz to be a shyster. In Oz the Great and Powerful, he’s revealed to be a shyster from the moment he’s seen on screen.
Oscar “Oz” Diggs (James Franco) is a carnival magician, a pale imitation of a wizard.
This movie, if you’re given to the bent that The Wizard of Oz is a masterpiece, is a pale imitation of a greater cultural event.
The filmmakers know it.
The writers know it.
Disney knows it.
So why can’t we all have fun with the stupid thing?
Director Sam Raimi is great at crafting fun when he’s not making For Love of the Game. And Oz the Great and Powerful is fun while it lives within the Disney parameters and the conventions it must follow.
Sometimes, even the most cynical person can close his eyes and believe. You try not to cry when Oz fixes the China Girl (Joey King).
Mila Kunis isn’t quite right. Rachel Weisz deserves better. But sometimes we get what we get. Sometimes it’s good enough.
OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL
Directed by Sam Raimi
With James Franco, Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz
Regal Santa Fe Stadium 14