If you recall, I had hope for Oz. I don’t know why. Obviously it was going to turn out the way it did. But why? But why do these adult-themed fairytale adaptations never work? Or at least the recent ones don’t. Has there been a good one? I can’t recall because I hated Alice, Red Riding Hood, Hansel & Gretchen and Oz, though I didn’t hate it, was far from good. But does that matter as it’s on track to do very well this weekend? It should. But it doesn’t.
I personally love the story (and stories) behind Oz and I think there is a lot to take from and works great for screen, as it has before with Wizard of Oz & Return To Oz (I love Return To Oz, okay?!). But in recent years, post-Nolan and post-Alice, these fairytale movies have an identity complex. They want to tell a story that is so light and childish, but want to be dark and gritty enough for adults but they just do not work. THEY DO NOT WORK. Or, they aren’t working.
Oz has it’s moments, do not get me wrong. If there were any director fit for the world of Oz, it’s Raimi. It’s a beautiful movie and everything from the colors to the characters are so perfectly Raimi and Oz. I loved Rachel Weisz, who, normally, I’m not a fan of. I thought she played the part perfectly and, to be typical, was deliciously evil. I want a stand alone movie with just her character. And I love the big, explosive, finale.
And that was about it…
Before the movie had come out, I seemed like I was the only person who was excited for it. A lot of people told me they weren’t because of the cast. I kept saying, why not! LOOK AT THAT CAST! Oh, but they were right. That cast… Franco is completely miscast and plays Oz. Maybe it’s because I couldn’t help but picture who was originally cast in the role, Robert Downey Jr, or maybe it was because he sucked. Either way, James Franco sucks. And, I love Mila Kunis but it’s just downhill from there once the “twist” is revealed. And Michelle Williams is pretty good so I actually don’t have any complaints about her.
But the cast isn’t why Oz: The Great & Powerful doesn’t work. It’s just all too much and this is my problem with Raimi. There’s the monkey, there’s the China Girl, there’s the 45 witches, there’s the Munchkins, the Tinkers, the Breadmakers, the whatever the hell else there was. And then another 100 characters. The film does begin with some great opening credits, and the first 20 minutes are an homage to the original film, which is fine, but nothing ever feels right. The jokes never hit. It feels like the film is attempting so many genres and tones all at once and, like all those other films before it, has an identity complex.
It just doesn’t work.
When will these start working?