Oz the Great and Powerful Blu-ray + DVD Review
Kidzworld reviews Oz the Great and Powerful now out to take home on blu-ray and DVD!
By: Lynn Barker
Never underestimate that 2nd rate carnival magician. He might just be destined to rule in the land of Oz!
In 1905, travelling carnival magician Oscar Diggs (James Franco) uses time-worn tricks of levitation as “The Great and Powerful Professor Oz” and dreams to one day be a great man; an inventor. When angry locals learn that he’s not what he seems, he makes a get-away in a hot air balloon which lands in a magical river. Professor Oz has landed in Oz.
Good witch Theodora (Mila Kunis) realizes that the predicted magical savior of the land has arrived. She’s attracted to him and, being the ladies’ man and cad that he is, Oscar takes advantage of her and the prophecy that he’ll be Wizard and ruler. On the way to capitol Emerald City, the duo runs from evil attacking baboons and later saves the tiny flying monkey Finley (voiced by Zach Braff) from being eaten by a lion.
In Emerald City, Theodora’s witchy sister Evanora (Rachel Weisz), the “guardian” of the throne, welcomes the trio but doubts that Oscar is “the Wiz”. She tempts him with the city’s golden treasure. He’s told he won’t be king until he defeats the wicked witch and captures her wand. We realize Evanora isn’t all that “good”.
On the way to grab the wand, Oscar and Finley find a broken China Girl (voice of Joey King) whose town has been destroyed by the evil witch’s baboon army. Oscar repairs her and she joins them on their adventure as they find Glinda the good witch (Michelle Williams). She explains that it is Evanora who is the evil one. She and her baboons killed Glinda’s dad who was once king.
Convincing Theodora that her “love” Oscar has betrayed her with Glinda, Evanora now has an ally in evil as Theodora is transformed into the most evil of the three sisters. Meanwhile, Glinda, Oscar, China Girl and Finley rally Glinda’s people and they prepare for battle against the bad witches. Oscar teaches the people some tricks that work for a while but baboons grab Glinda and Oscar finally summons the faith in himself and his allies to fight for her and Emerald City.
My Journey In Oz: By James Franco – The versatile Franco made this documentary on and off set as he interviews fellow actors and director Sam Raimi. Candid and interesting extra.
Mr. Elfman’s Musical Concoctions – Composer Danny Elfman talks about working with Sam Raimi in the past and focuses on various scenes with key music, his inspiration and writing a simple waltz for Oz and Theodora that became the theme song for the green wicked witch. Cool.
Walt Disney and the Road to Oz – explores the long connection between the Oz books and Walt Disney who wanted to make an Oz film many years ago but something always got in the way. A very interesting backstory for this film.
China Girl and the Suspension of Disbelief – This is one of my fave extras! We see the many versions of the China Girl character as her voice teen Joey King explains how she performed the role. We go behind the scenes and see Joey working with director Sam Raimi and suggesting lines. We see the talented marionette operator bring the puppet to life on set and learn how Joey’s expressions were superimposed on the CGI version’s face. Very interesting and magical “how’d they do that?” extra.
Before Your Very Eyes: From Kansas to Oz – this is the production design and special visual effects featurette. We learn about some of the costumes and the entire “look” of the film; how several departments worked together and were inspired by classic animated Disney films to form the magical sets, critters and effects. Actors talk about how great it was to work on actual giant sets and not just with green screen and their imagination. Interesting.
Mila’s Metamorphosis – Another fave extra. We see how Mila Kunis was changed into the green evil witch as make-up is applied step by step and make-up whiz Howard Berger of KNB effects shows us exactly how it was done. Mila is funny as she talks about her character and the responsibility of becoming an iconic witch. She noted that kids were frightened of her in the make-up. We see her entire costume and watch her flying on wires. Fun and entertaining.
Bloopers – The usual line flubs and silly stuff; James Franco decides to kiss the Finley puppet, Joey’s tummy rumbles while she’s recording lines, a dove just stays in James’ hand, not wanting to fly away. Over the final kiss between Oz and Glinda, director Sam Raimi is heard saying “Stop kissing. Let’s go get some chow!” Funny
This film fulfills its mission as the origin story for the wizard and would lead nicely to a sequel or two. The witch and Oz characters are well-developed, although I’m not as fond of James Franco when he is trying to be a showman. Robert Downey Jr. would have rocked that part. Mila is very good as vulnerable Theodora but her green wicked witch isn’t as effective. Joey King does a great job with the voice of China Girl.
The movie looked amazing and colorful in theaters and so does this DVD and Blu-ray. If you freeze-frame in some of the detailed scenes, you’ll see all kinds of cool details. The extras on the set are both informative and fun for the whole family. This one would be a great gift or take home. 4 stars!
Oz the Great and Powerful Blu-ray + DVD Rating: