Cloud Atlas, John Carter, Sin City and V for Vendetta (while praising inflated, empty crap like Iron Man and The Avengers), so it is with Disney's OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL, out now on DVD and Blu-ray.
original, along with the 1978 musical version, The Wiz, numerous times. So I rented it and brought it over for a July 4th, get-out-of-this-awful-humidity, movie afternoon.
I'd never have thought of giving Sam Raimi (at left) the directorial reins here but, surprise, his movie is damned good: gorgeous to look at, filled with eye-popping effects and scenery (in which CGI is used sublimely well) and characters who are all too human, including those witches: That's Michelle Williams as Glinda (just below) and Rachel Weisz (left) and Mila Kunis (right), as the naughty duo, further below.
James Franco (below) does some acting for a change! He's the best here since Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Howl. (He's much better even than in This Is the End, where he must play "himself." And since he has spent so much time trying to cover his own tracks, no wonder his "himself" character is less interesting or "there" than any of his co-stars in this very funny, smart and irreverent movie.)
Zach Graff's and Joey King's) put to use on special effects. The good little flying monkey (below, right) and the girl made of porcelain (a truly amazing creation, shown at left, above and below) are charming creatures who entertain and move us every bit as much as did Lahr, Bolger and Haley in the 1939 version. Franco's character, by the way, is actually a very different kind of "Dorothy." But he's Dorothy nonetheless. Sure, he plays the Wizard, but his mission here is pretty much the same as Ms Garland had in the original.
Hugo (a movie I thoroughly enjoyed, by the way) -- but it's tossed at us with a hell of a lot more subtlety -- which has, face it, never been a mark of the work of Martin Scorsese.)