'Oz: The Great and Powerful'
2 1/2 stars
In show business, like all business, very often you spend money to make money. Director
This is an uneven but agreeably managed blockbuster, better than the last one ("Jack the Giant Slayer") aiming for the same demographic.
Raimi's just enough of an oddball, franchise-friendly (from his three "Spider-Man" pictures) yet happy to return to the well of exploitation grunge now and then ("Drag Me to Hell"), to sneak in some strangeness as well as some verifiable filmmaking. Mostly it's visual touches, punctuation, such as the way Raimi angles the camera this way and that to denote extreme danger. Or the way he'll zwoop in or out with a zoom shot on
The movie's weaknesses and strengths are captured by
Is "Oz: The Great and Powerful" a prequel to the Oz we know best from the movies, "The Wizard of Oz," or a separate adventure culled from the L. Frank Baum books, or what? Yes to all three. In a nod to the 1939 classic, Raimi begins in
As a series of sights, which movies like these are, "Oz: The Great and Powerful" is more like "Oz: The Digital and Relentless." Certainly this is true in its final half-hour, which seemed to me to be all explosions. The script comes from
I suspect there's just enough heart in this sleek Tin Man of a project to connect with an audience. Preteens, however, may freak out whenever Theodora's simian minions reappear, fangs at the ready. It's best to consider "Oz: The Great and Powerful" as the bombastic 21st-century prelude to the 20th-century "Oz" we know. It's also the cinematic horse that crossed the finish line ahead of the
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"Oz: The Great and Powerful" Movie Trailer
MPAA rating: PG (for sequences of action and scary images, and brief mild language).
Running time: 2:10.
Credits: Directed by
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