When I first saw the trailer for this film and realized what the actual concept was, I was a bit baffled. Honestly, I did not see the need to make a prequel to one of the greatest pieces of fantasy fiction ever created. It simply wasn’t something that I wanted to dive into, especially because this is a film that takes place before Dorothy makes it into the Land of Oz. However, I was surprised and quite pleasantly so. On my initial watch, I did not dislike it.
This film had just enough heart to it that I had to like it, but it also was held back by some major issues that get in the way of its grand design.
How to Stream or Download Oz the Great and Powerful
You can stream it or you can download the film from a number of digital stores and platforms such as Disney+. Click on the Download button at the end of the review. And if you like Mila Kunis, check her out also in Max Payne and in Ted.
The Movie Review
The story begins in 1905, in Kansas City where Oscar Diggs is one of the most popular magicians and con artists in the country. However, his eccentric nature leads him to mess around with the strongman’s wife. When threatened he chooses to run away in a hot air balloon, which is seemingly a dumb decision at first because a tornado pops out of nowhere.
Of course, when the storm clears up and when the fog settles, Oscar finds himself in a completely new world known as the Land of Oz. Upon reaching Oz, Oscar encounters Theodora, a naive and kind-hearted Witch who believes him to be a prophetic wizard who will rid the Land of Oz of the Wicked Witch of the Dark Forest. Obviously, being the con man he is, Oscar takes on the mantle without realizing what he’s getting himself into…
The character of Oscar is something that I truly do appreciate as well. The film doesn’t hold back on showcasing any of the darkness that is within Oscar as a character. He is a con man first and foremost, always looking for his own self-interest above anyone else’s, and he doesn’t become a better person until he is pushed to the very brink, that too only because he knows he will be known as this prophetic wizard.
James Franco’s performance in this film isn’t anything special but it does convey that specific feeling that Oscar is exuded throughout the film. The other thing I most like about the characters is that they go through these journeys, each of them has their own specific journey.
Glinda is a character that you think is evil at the start, yet she isn’t at all. Theodore goes from being the nicest character in the film to the worst and most despicable which in the series. Eleonora on the other hand is just deeply flawed and an evil person from the start, yes she does have her own motivations as well.
The performance by Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, and Michelle Williams cement these characters are either loveable or despicable in a perfect way.
The cinematography really does elevate this film to a 10, especially because of how clean it looks. This is a film that is set in a fantastical world, that is dark and gritty and yet has semblances of beauty within it.
It relies heavily on the camera to do a lot of the work, as well as the CGI to depict the beautiful and monstrous creatures that are within this film. It does so amicably and this film looks gorgeous, there is nothing really bad when it comes to this film’s cinematography, aside from a few shots where the CGI is a bit janky but that is not really a huge issue because they are quick shots and they go by without most people noticing.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, pause the great and powerful might just be one of the better blockbuster films that I have seen in recent times. It has a few issues for sure, there are pacing issues, where the film doesn’t hold specific shots and kind of diminishes the emotional impact they would have.
Of course, the janky CGI at some point, as well as some of the acting is inconsistent. So all of these issues are minute compared to the fun I had watching this film, it is a fun and engaging film with a beautiful world and beautiful cast of characters and monsters for you to awe at.
- Visually phenomenal, pleasing to look at.
- Great performances by the actors.
- A decently written narrative that you can actually enjoy.
- Some editing issues that take away from emotional scenes.
- Janky CGI during some moments.