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Bettie's Box Office: Oz The Great And Powerful

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 04:06 PM CDT

Oz, the Great and Powerful is the story behind the man behind the curtain. James Franco has the title role of Oscar Diggs - "Oz," for short - a two-bit magician in a cheesy traveling circus. When he flirts with the wrong woman (the girlfriend of the circus Strong Man), he ends up stealing a hot-air balloon and catching an earlier tornado to the mystical land of Oz, pre-Dorothy. He doesn't know how he got there, but he figures he can con the good people out of a king's fortune by going along with their belief that he's been sent by a divine providence to kill a wicked witch. Sound familiar?

Sneak Peek at the movie.

The movie tries to capture some of the magic of the 1939 Judy Garland film. Before we get to Oz, everything is in black-and-white. Once there, everything blossoms into spectacular color along the yellow brick road. And just like Dorothy, the Wizard picks up a few traveling companions on his quest: a talking monkey (Zach Braff), an orphaned china doll (Joey King) and Glinda the Good Witch (Michelle Williams). Together, they'll have to outwit Glinda's wicked sisters, Theodora (Mila Kunis) and Evanora (Rachel Weisz). 

 

Franco is likable as Oz but doesn't seem quick-witted enough to be the ultimate con man. Kunis is forgettable as a good witch gone wicked. Weisz is the only one who seems to command her role as the evil mastermind playing everyone else like chess pieces. The places feel familiar, the Munchkins are predictably lovable, and the witch's flying monkeys (actually, baboons) are still scary, although there's nothing too extreme for the target audience: kids and their parents. 

 

All in all, Oz isn't Great and Powerful, but it is good and entertaining. It opens Friday, March 8, and is rated PG for sequences of action and scary images, and brief mild language.

Bettie's Box Office: Oz The Great And Powerful


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