Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Oz The Great and Powerful (Movie) Review

Oz The Great and Powerful Movie Synopsis

Being something of a sequel to The Wizard of Oz, the premise of the movie was in sepia toned with the introduction of the main male protagonist, Oz, whose full name is very long but is simply Oscar something. Oz is a struggling magician tying to make his mark in a travelling circus, always dreaming to have that big break which always seems to be eluding him. His character is nothing much to speak of, he is a basically a selfish and self-centered con-man swindling people of their money and an incurable playboy (which get pretty irritating) who cheats women and comes across almost close to a sleazeball.

Simply put, there is no redeeming points to his character. Even if you scratch past the surface to find out that he has become the way he has because he does want to end up like his father being a nobody: his pursuit of something greater combined with his low self-esteem and doubt causes him to avoid any possibility of relationships, be it friendship or romance. Personally, I do not like his character, he may be good in nature and his fear causes him to become selfish and self-centered, but that is not an excuse. He chose the way he wanted to handle situations so he has to live with them.

And it is how Oz ends up in the land of OZ, as he is escaping from the very strong and angry man in the circus intent of ripping him to pieces for wooing his girl. So Oz ends up in a hot air balloon, gets sucked into a typhoon and transported into the magical world of OZ where he meets Theodora, a naïve witch who has always been yearning for love. Theodora acts as Oz’s guide into the world of OZ and leads him to the emerald city where her sister is awaiting.

Not aware that her sister is the wicked witch, Theodora tells Oz that the land of OZ is in peril and needs a savior (which would be him) to save them from the wicked witch who killed her father, the king. She truly believes that Oz is the one who can save them from the wicked witch, but she is unaware that her sister is the wicked witch. 
Theodora's wicked sister. I guess the point black nails were a dead giveaway....

Due to Oz’s con-man ways, he wins over her heart unaware of the consequences he set himself up for. He charms her with his old ‘cheesy’ trick of using a music box, and dances with her, even kissing her. Being naïve and not used to the attention that Oz showers her with, Theodora truly believes that he loves her and that she will be his queen, ruling together with Oz over the land.

Theodora is a pitiful character and I wish there was more back-story about her character. She seems to be the sort of character that is yearning for love, yet unable to receive any due to the perception of the people around her that she is wicked. She seems to be quite powerful and has to keep her emotions in check: when she was angry fireballs formed from her hands and had a very destructive power, and when she was sad her tears literally were like acid and burned her face. Her views are very simplistic and she believes whatever people (especially her sister and Oz) tell her. If she had the proper guidance, perhaps she could have been spared having been turned into a wicked witch by her evil sister, which caused her to not only turn wicked but very ugly as well. But by the time her sister had successfully tricked her it was too late. How could she turn back when her hurt was already turned wicked? With no more “goodness” or emotions left whatsoever, she became an accessory to her sister’s plan and ended up being the wicked witch who was melted by Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. 
Theodora went from this....
to this.....

Glinda, the good witch, who was framed as being the wicked one, is not my favorite character either. She is boring. Although she is the character who would represent the theme of faith and hope throughout the movie, she was bland despite having a sense of humor. She did tell Oz that though she know that he is nothing more than a con-man, she is all that she has to work with and she tries to get him interested and helping them with their cause to defeat the wicked witch. Why do I say she is boring? Well, Glinda’s cheery disposition and sense of humor is all good, but it would have been nice if her character was sassy because being “nice” only is just so one dimensional and boring (almost like being a damsel in distress). Even in the fight between her and the wicked witch, she was so “weak” looking and demure. Well, she did win in the end, but it wasn’t really that satisfying a fight to watch. All she (could) conjure up was fog (or was it mist) and bubbles.

The characters that stood out and made adorable moments would be China girl (a porcelain little girl whose town was destroyed by the wicked witch’s flying baboons and is the sole survivor) and Oz’s flying monkey assistant Finley.


So the story goes, Oz finds himself in the land of OZ and he is enticed with the promise of kingship and gold if he would kill the “wicked witch”, Glinda who turns out to be the good one. Naïve Theodora gets conned by Oz and gets her heart broken which results in her turning wicked and an accessory to her wicked witch sister’s plans. Along the way to kill Glinda, Oz meets China girl and she tags along with him and Finley on their quest, which soon takes a turn when they realize the truth of who is the actually wicked witch. Oz realizes that he has bitten off more than he can chew and wants out, but his heart (of compassion somewhere in there) causes him to help Glinda and her cause. He decides to make the most spectacular show of his life and manages to scare away Theodora and Glinda defeats Theodora’s sister. Both wicked witches are chased away from the emerald city and peace is restored with Oz becoming the legend and “phantom” in The Wizard of the Oz.

The effects were good and the colors of the movie were vibrant, very suitable for children. It was not scary at all and some parts were a little boring (for me). But overall it was somewhat enjoyable, it would have been better if more character growth was shown and the motivations of the wicked sisters were explored (was it jealously towards Glinda or some event that triggered the wickedness or was it nurtured, what were the three witches relationship?).


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