James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams star in Sam Raimi’s prequel to the much loved 1939 classic film ‘The Wizard of Oz’ which starred Judy Garland.
There are one of two ways you can view this film, 1. As a Date Movie or 2. As a serious prequel to the original film. And, I expect that many audiences will be disappointed at the lack of originality in this film, the opening sequence for example is a carbon copy of the original.
It is also hard to like James Franco, who, frankly looks tired, and is trying too hard to be flamboyant, camp and a ‘showman’. Perhaps best known for his role in the serious ‘Spiderman’ trilogy, coincidentally, directed by Raimi. He simply doesn’t have the range to pull off such a complex character as Oscar Diggs.
However, Zach Braff of ‘Scrubs’ who portrayed Finley, the flying monkey was the character who had the most heart, and the best jokes. Michelle Williams gives a good turn as Glinda the Good and Mila Kunis tries, but fails to do anything new with Theadora the Good, whereas Rachel Weisz seems to be going through the motions.
In a film which could be so much more than simply filler before the much loved original ‘Wizard of Oz’, Raimi misses the point and is instead more intent on big action sequences, and animated sequences, which are well done, but are almost to no avail.
What was once so good about ‘The Wizard of Oz’, the clunky props, the so-so animation, the brilliant direction was what made the audience work for the magic, for their own belief in Oz.
Naomi Jeffreys, Film Editor