This is about a movie but not Steven Spielberg’s fine 2002 sci-fi flick, Minority Report. (If you haven’t seen it, check it out, it’s got a BSG kinda vibe.) Instead, I’m talking about Sam Raimi’s new film, Oz the Great and Powerful. Audiences have flocked to it but the critics have been lukewarm. A critic I admire, David Edelstien of New York Magazinesaw a different flick to the one Dr. A and I saw. He called it “peculiarly joyless” whereas I thought it was spot on and charming as all get out.
There were technical diffculties at our screening so we actually changed theatres at the multi-plex and saw the first hour twice. It made me appreciate the much maligned performance by James Franco. Yes, he was detached and a bit arch BUT he was playing a self-described Carny trickster for chrissake and they are not known for their earnestness. I’m not really much of a Franco fan (he’s supposedly a horrible neighbor too) but I enjoyed his performance and Rachel Weisz, Mila Kunis, and Michelle Williams were to die for.
I realize that people are very protective of the Wizard of Oz. I am too. The original evokes great memories from my childhood and still holds up very well indeed. Yip Harburg’s lyrics also had a lot to do with making me a horrid punster. Is the new film as good? Maybe not but it benefits from being very different since it’s about the time *before* Dorothy and Toto too landed in Oz.
The vice of many of the reviews is one that always bugs the living shit out of me: the whole “this is the movie they should have made” shtick. I, for one, was pleased that Raimi didn’t make it into a musical or bring back most of the characters we know and love from the 1939 film. The film should stand and fall on it’s own merits and I had a very good time at the movies despite covertly pining for the lollipop guild.