Last night I went to a midnight showing of Oz the Great and Powerful. So, standard spoiler alert here. I’ll be honest: going in I had little hope that the film would be stellar. I wanted it to be! On the surface it should be an anthem film for my life: it’s the story of a WIZARD in m’fing OZ, literally the gayest place in the multiverse.
However, while I fully expected it to be less than stellar, I didn’t expect it to be barely watchable.
And yet there I was, squirming awkwardly through every moment, almost unable to bear the shit-slog from title to end credits.
I couldn’t figure out what made it so shitty though, which is why I delayed this post for a few hours. Because as a writer, it is as important to figure out why stories are shitty as it is to figure out why they are amazing.
Was it James Franco’s high school drama club rendition of Oscar Diggs(aka Oz), delivered as it was with all the emotional depth of dryer lint, and with a smug self-satisfaction that made you want to punch him in the balls every time he showed up on screen?
No, while Mr. Franco’s particular talents on the screen rank somewhere around watching milk curdle for me, there was something more….pervasive than the reek of his performance at work here.
Was it Mila Kunis’ slutty-not-sultry whirlwind turn as Meg Griffin the Wicked Bitch of the West, whose inability to overcome the weight of her own television persona leaves the entire film smacking of an extended Family Guy cutaway (with half the charm…I might add)?
No, though I certainly think they could have easily replaced Mila Kunis as the Witch, with Mila Kunis as Meg Griffin in Family Guy Season 3 Episode 1, “The Thin White Line”, in which she kidnaps and holds a man hostage out of jealousy, and had a much stronger performance.
Was it director Sam Raimi’s sophomoric and uninspired usage of bright colors, blooming flowers, and fluttering insect life to render a bizarrely vibrant yet utterly lifeless mock-up grade school homage to the wonderful world of Oz?
No, I don’t think even the ceaseless reel of cheap 3D film tricks, with pop out monkey hands, and theme park inspired railroad rides through flora so vaginal it would make Georgia O’Keefe blush, was really enough to kill this film for me.
Hit the jump to find out what I really think the problem was. (Or you know, just take the above criticisms as a concise recommendation on why the average film viewer should avoid this film)