Is There Genius In Sam Raimi's 'Oz: Great and Powerful'?

Disney's fantastical adventure 'Oz: The Great and Powerful' hit theaters worldwide this weekend on the back of lukewarm support at best. A prequel to the much-loved 1939 classic starring Judy Garland, Sam Raimi's 3-D film stars James Franco as Oscar Diggs, a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics who comes across the magical Land of Oz. Alongside Franco, Hollywood actresses Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams play the three witches.

Though the critics - deflated after the end of a long awards' season - were only too happy to disregard Raimi's movie as unmemorable, 'Oz: Great and Powerful' could prove to be more than relevant for the younger generation. The advent of 3-D cinema has placed more emphasis on the movie going experience and - just like with Life of Pi - audiences are in for a thrilling two hour ride with 'Oz', whether they remember much of the story afterwards is a side matter. "The 3-D effects are plentiful - hats, lions, and baboons jump off the screen and into your lap - but the characters rarely lodge in the moviegoer's heart," said Richard Corliss, while William Bibbiani of CraveOnline said, "The best 3D movie, period. So far, anyway." High praise, given the huge success of Ang Lee at the recent Academy Awards. Scott Foundas of the Village Voice appeared to miss the point entirely, writing, "Throughout, I longed for the Raimi of old-or even of 2009's deliciously gross throwback Drag Me to Hell." Matthew Turner of View London was another to praise the director's use of the new technology, writing, "Sam Raimi's colourful Oz prequel is nicely acted, visually spectacular and makes terrific use of 3D ..."

Oz's chameleon lead actor James Franco recently told the Daily Telegraph he is "not afraid of embarrassment," with regards to the movie projects he takes. With an estimated budget $200 million, 'Oz Great and Powerful' will have to go some to become a true commercial success, though it may prove to have been worth the effort for Franco and co.

James FrancoJames Franco Stars As A Magician With Questionable Morals in 'Oz: Great And Powerful'


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