Oz The Great and Powerful 3D Blu-ray Review
There’s an emptiness that engulfs Disney’s OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL from the opening scenes through the duration of the film. It’s partly due to the general shallowness of star James Franco, but it’s mostly due to every star in the film over-acting as if they’re in an animated princess movie. The film’s shortcomings don’t necessarily make it a bad film, but they do prevent Oz from ever hitting home with the audience. This is a superficial journey that is pretty to look at, but won’t elicit any emotions from the audience.
It should be noted that there were 14 “Oz” books written by Frank L. Baum and neither this nor Wizard are based on any one specific book. OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL is a prequel of sorts to THE WIZARD OF OZ and picks up with Oz (James Franco) in Kansas, working as a magician in a traveling circus. While escaping an angry boyfriend of a girl he attempted to seduce, Oz flees the circus in a hot air balloon, only to get caught in a tornado that takes him to the Land of Oz. Once there, he meets up with a beautiful witch named Theodora (Mila Kunis) who believes Oz is the “chosen one” that will rid the land of the evil witch, which we later learn is actually Evanora (Rachel Weisz). Eventually, Oz meets up with the good white witch, Glinda (Michelle Williams) and together they challenge the rule of Evanora.
The story of OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL is fine in that it relates to Wizard to a degree, but not so much so it feels forced. The theme of overcoming self-doubt and becoming a better person is a good one, but the problem is the film is also incredibly empty. James Franco can sometimes be a talented actor, but he’s not a blockbuster-carrying type of talent. The role was originally slated for Robert Downey Jr. and with an actor with his level of charm and charisma, Oz could have been a great movie. Instead, the whole film lacked heart and so all we were left with were pretty colors and fun special effects, which we got in spades. That can be enough to make an average movie, but it’s not enough to make a great movie.
If not for a few scenes of a scary witch transformation, OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL would be perfect for little kids. The bright colors, safe dialogue and fast pace make this something that kids of all ages can appreciate. That makes it more frustrating that Raimi added those images. They served no purpose other than to scare little kids, which is a cheap shot from Raimi. That aside, Oz is a safe film that the whole family can watch and enjoy, even if it fails to live up to its potential.
OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL 3D BLU-RAY REVIEW
If you buy 3D movies, then you know by now that Disney seems to be the king of 3D Blu-rays. Add that to the fact that the film takes place in a magical, colorful world and that makes this a no brainer. This is a fun movie to watch in 3D and you won’t be disappointed with the eye-popping effects.
A note about the 3D only version: I hate it. I’m disappointed in Disney for not including this with the 2D Blu-ray set like they have all of their other releases. They attempted a mea culpa by offering the 2D version for $5.95 if you buy the 3D version, but it was too little, too late. So I was torn on how to review the 3D disc. On one hand, I would give it a “1” because there are no special features and it’s a standalone disc. On the other hand, if I only rate the 3D quality, I’d give it a “9” because the 3D is incredible. In the end, I chose the easy way out and gave it a “5”, but just know the 3D is great, but the disc should have been included in a larger set.