Blu-ray Review: ‘Oz the Great and Powerful’ Sinks Like Leaky Balloon

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CHICAGO – Sam Raimi’s “Oz the Great and Powerful” starts so promisingly. The full-frame black-and-white scenes that open the film have a clever charm as they introduce us to the title character (James Franco) and whisk him off to the legendary land of witches and talking scarecrows. And that scene where the film expands as he reaches his fantasy land is a beauty. And then “Oz,” like the balloon in which its magician rides, starts to sink. It’s the over-reliance on CGI that makes it cartoonish, the horrendous miscasting of Mila Kunis, or the plotting that mistakes wacky physical humor for storytelling. The wonder of the journey becomes less and less until “Oz” feels like little more than a financial venture, a quick way to profit off the success of Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland.” While not as creatively bankrupt as that film, it’s still a mere shadow of what it could have or should have been. By the end, I just didn’t care. Blu-ray rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

The Blu-ray for “Oz the Great and Powerful” is admittedly impressive. In fact, I found some of the special features more interesting than the film itself, especially “Walt Disney and the Road to Oz,” which details the history of Disney’s interest in making a movie based on Frank L. Baum’s world and how close it came to happening before. Also engaging is “My Journey in Oz by James Franco,” which is pretty self-explanatory. Franco asks great questions of his fellow cast-mates as he shoots his own behind-the-scenes featurette. The special features and transfer on the Blu-ray release of “Oz” are excellent. I just wish the movie was as well.

Oz the Great and Powerful was released on Blu-ray and DVD on June 11, 2013
Oz the Great and Powerful was released on Blu-ray and DVD on June 11, 2013
Photo credit: Disney

Disney’s fantastical adventure Oz The Great And Powerful, from the director of the Spider-Man trilogy, follows Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus musician with dubious ethics. When Diggs is hurled away to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he’s hit the jackpot - until he meets three witches (Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams), who aren’t convinced he’s the great wizard everyone’s expecting. Reluctantly drawn into epic problems facing Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it’s too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity - and even some wizardry - Oscar transforms himself into the great Wizard and a better man as well.

Special Features:
o Disney Second Screen: The Magic Of Oz The Great And Powerful
o Bloopers
o My Journey In Oz By James Franco
o Mr. Elfman’s Musical Concoctions
o China Girl And The Suspension Of Disbelief
o Before Your Very Eyes: From Kansas To Oz
o Mila’s Metamorphosis
o Walt Disney And The Road To Oz
o Digital Copy Included

“Oz the Great and Powerful” stars James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, and Michelle Williams. It was released on Blu-ray and DVD on June 11, 2013. content director Brian Tallerico

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