Opening 7 Mar 2013
This fantasy adventure movie tells the story of the wizard of Oz. Oscar Diggs (James Franco) is a circus illusionist who charms and tricks his way through his shows, life and women. While aspiring for greatness, his motto is: “For when you believe, everything is possible”. Unfortunately, his conviction doesn’t work that well on his sweethearts’ husbands, which is why he is forced to flee in a hot air balloon that soon gets caught in a tornado. On the brink of death, he swears to become a better person. He then lands in the magical Land of Oz, which has long been waiting for a great and powerful wizard to free the country from first one (Rachel Weisz), then two (Mila Kunis), wicked witches. Being now the focus of the whole country’s hope and attention, Oscar confesses to Glinda (Michelle Williams), the good witch, that he indeed is not the wizard from the prophecy. She, in turn replies with: “but they don’t know that…” inspiring Oscar to put up the greatest and most magnificent illusions ever known in order to outsmart the evil that has kept hold of Oz for so long.
Oscar sets out to find greatness, but finds goodness instead. Thus, this movie is a variation of the classic hero’s journey fitted into the familiar Walt Disney style: animated talking animals, cute characters, a bit of humor and a guaranteed happy ending. Additionally, this movie was shown in 3D, which was fun. All in all, this is a solid family movie suitable for children who can take a bit of a wicked witch and for grown-ups who like a tad bit of a deeper message. This movie would be *** if it weren’t for James Franco, who ceased to be just another pretty face to me in this movie and got another ½ star for truly enjoying himself becoming the gold-hearted wizard of Oz. (Katia Trost)