Oz the Great and Powerful - Film Review

I decided to review Oz the Great and Powerful on an otherwise beautiful Sunday evening. What was I thinking? Lenore, my daughter, and I watched this together while my husband fled the living room to watch hockey. 

They have taken an old story with a perfectly good lead female character that was a heroine, brave and intelligent and replaced her with a male lead character. Why do we undervalue the roles of women? Can we no longer see a woman going on a quest and finding herself? It appears we can only do so, in Hollywood, if love is involved. 

In The Wizard of Oz there was no love story. In fact, sex was not a part of it. In Oz the Great and Powerful we have a pseudo sex scene (never shown, but implied) with the first 25 minutes. At this point I'm so disenchanted with this movie. And then enters the monkey. Normally monkeys are cute--but until you've had one steal your sunglasses or jump on you....sorry I digress, this should be inner dialogue--but not this one; he's a bit creepy with Zach Braff's voice. Is this monkey like the Jester in Shakespearean plays; will he be telling us like it is? Unfortunately, this movie isn't that well written. 

I love James Franco; like really love him. He has all the qualities a book nerd could want, but I feel like his brooding character trait is a put on. In other words, it's unauthentic. 

I know this movie is not meant to be like The Wizard of Oz but I really feel like it does a disservice to the original. I really don't like James Franco's smugness. 

These two powerful females Theodora and Evanora are awaiting the great and powerful Wizard...please. Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz found out that the Wizard was a fraud and that all the strength that the characters needed was in themselves. This is a major theme people. But in this new odyssey, one man is the greatest and most powerful and the whole story revolves around him. Ewww. 

And why does this woman have a bird on her head? Oh sorry it's a fascinator. And now, the Wizard's magic is the only thing that can overpower the wicked witch. Now Theodora is crying for help. Come on. This is ridiculous. Enter again, the monkey. I'm sorry Zack, but you aren't convincing as a monkey. You're much too bright for this role. But thank you for bringing to our attention "vicious stereotypes" about a monkey's love for bananas. 

So now we find out that he isn't the wizard they've been hoping for. Does this guy need an ego boost or what? Was he banished from his real world for lying or being ego filled. 

Behind a table is an animated doll that's broken apart. What connection to our world and our society can we make? Society is broken? We are always looking for a quick fix? Women need to be carried by men? Women aren't whole until they have a man? Too many ideas come to mind to land on just one.

By the way, the Wizard's magic is all common sense fixes at this point. Do we all have the ability to be wizards then? Oh and Lenore says she's the doll in the movie. It's the only character she can relate to. Now the wizard has 2 friends--the doll and the monkey--we have some sort of resemblance to the original. 

Oy vey! Now he's carrying the doll. Are we supposed to see his sensitive side? The doll also carries a knife; if we were in prison I'd be scared she'd shank me. The doll asks to be symbolized as a heart--aww--more likeness to the original...maybe.

The Wizard, the monkey and the doll are in darkness looking for the wicked witch and are scared when they stumble upon the Glinda the good witch. She asks if he is the Wizard and he's scared to admit it at first because he's not a real hero. When he sees how beautiful she is, he replies "yes". Like his machismo takes over and his ego is blaring "yes I am all great and powerful". Then she says "then there's hope". Blech. 

So now we have his three compadres to help him sort out this disaster. I don't know about you, but nothing and nobody can save this disaster. 

Evanora lies to her sister, Theodora, that she and the Wizard were romantic. This news alone makes Theodroa's heart break and she tries to gouge her own eyes out. Why do we have to see women vulnerable to love and manipulated by love? Blech again. 

So Glinda the good witch can create fog but she can't fight against the bad witches Evanora and Theodora. Free falling into nothingness might be a bad idea unless you're the Wizard and part of your journey is learning to let go and not having to be in control. This whole part is redundant because he already let go when coming to Oz. Now that he's in a bubble flying at light speed, he manages to make it through some great barrier and makes it to the village. There are no little people. I wish the bubble would have continued going and would have taken him far far away maybe into a better scripted movie.

Ha! Glinda calls him out for being egotistical and selfish. This is the best part of the movie. He tells her he isn't a wizard but then proclaims to everyone that he is. Make up your mind. Theodora played by Mila Kunis is so insipid that I want to gouge my eyes out. Now we have an apple that she's offered by her sister. Are we mixing our metaphors or our fairy tales? Ughh. She eats the apple and it makes her heart wither away. Now she's turned bad...because love was unrequited. I'm currently biting my tongue because this is an age old stereotype...a woman scorned. Didn't the monkey warn us against stereotypes. The tinkers of the village are introduced--now we have crossed over to Tinkerbelle. Come on Disney. 

Ok now we have the little people dancing. So the wicked witch becometh is all testy because her heart was broken. And now the Wizard is leaving because he can't fight against a heart broken woman. How about not breaking her heart in the first place. The fact that the women are so bad in light of how good the only dominate male character is, has me in knots. I'm not really a feminist but this movie makes me act like one. It is irritating that the Wizard's bad behaviour is forgiven; even though he's a liar and the actions of the women is so evil in comparison. But really, why do we forgive the Wizard and not the women?

The Wizard keeps saying he isn't a real wizard. He's only a carnival wizard / a fake wizard. He wants to be like Thomas Edison. So are we being brought into reality. A time? A place? The Wizard says, " I know I'm not the Wizard you were expecting, but I might just be the Wizard you need". Seriously? this is laughable. Replace wizard with boyfriend and see what you get. Blech...

The Wizard is seen as the con he is but is revered for his ability to fool others. So now they are all members of his fan club. He can overcome evil by conning? The brightness of Oz and the darkness of the wicked witch is of course prevalent throughout. As a theatre junky, I appreciate this.

We have rampaging flying monkeys attacking people and the monkeys are mostly defeated by roses. Glinda is taken by the monkeys but her wand is left behind. Who will be able to use it? The little doll picks it up. What ever will she do with it? The coward of Oz wants to flee in a hot air balloon but surely he'll have a change of heart. This is Disney after all. Glinda is shackled and the wicked witch is being heckled. 

Theodora throws a fire bomb at the wizard's balloon and certainty he is dead. Lenore just asked if the wizard was in the balloon. I said probably not. She agreed. This movie is transparent. Now there's an apparition of the Wizard condemning the sisters for being evil. It's all smoke and mirrors; no really it is. There is smoke and mirrors to make his apparition look life like. 

And cue the fireworks...ooh...aww...

The end. No it's not. Gosh. I wish it was though. I'm about done. I was actually bored about an hour ago. 

More fireballs. Theodora has serious fire envy. She sets off all the fireworks. Theodora is told to take off but the wizard tells her she can come back if she finds goodness in her heart again. She screams "never". It's over right? No. Glinda and Evanora are having it out proper now. It wasn't fair before because Glinda was tied up. Evanora is powerless without her necklace. I know how she feels. I sometimes don't feel put together unless I'm wearing a necklace either. Anyway, she can't fight off Glinda. What will Glinda do? Nothing. Evanora turns into a hideous old woman. What a juxtaposition between young and old; beauty and ugliness. Now the world of Oz is safe and serene again because youth overcame old age and good overcame bad and man overcame woman...

Now we see Glinda who used her actual given powers to save her people as opposed to the Wizard who had to invent his powers. Is this woman power? Are women inherently good? No just the white witch. 

The Wizard gives out gifts of friendship, laughter, family, and...drum roll...behind the curtain is...love...blech. 

The End. Finally. 

- as an end note: this isn't the last word on this subject. Something tells me that Corinne will have some choice words about this topic to follow soon.

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~Jennifer Ward  

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