Bottom Line: More aptly titled OZ THE KINDA-GOOD-BUT-FAR-FROM-GREAT-AND-OCCASIONALLY-VISUALLY-POWERFUL, this family-friendly adventure whiles away it’s 2+ hours on overly familiar visual splendor and far-and-few-between sporadic bouts of wit and whimsy . Fun at times, yet lollygagging to get from scene to scene – it’ll become glaringly evident that this movie is just too darn long and somewhat dull once the young ones (and probably you) start squirming in their seats at the 60 minute mark. The acting is fine...at times, but James Franco lacks that swindler-with-a-heart-of-gold charisma that generously oozes out the pours from the likes of Robert Downey Jr. and Johnny Depp (director Sam Raimi’s first two choices for the role). Look, it took a lot courage and a few brains to bring this prequel to a beloved classic to life – but what they failed to hand out this go around was any heart… It’ll rightfully do huge business; people are excited for it and they can easily justify the ticket price for a big screen, 3D treatment – but when it comes to watching a movie with your family that’s barely above average like this…there is indeed no place like home.
Starring: James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams and Zach Braff
Running time: 127 minutes
Story: Disney's fantastical adventure "Oz The Great and Powerful," directed by Sam Raimi, imagines the origins of L. Frank Baum's beloved wizard character. When Oscar Diggs, a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he's hit the jackpot-fame and fortune are his for the taking-that is until he meets three witches, Theodora, Evanora and Glinda, who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone's been expecting. Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity-and even a bit of wizardry-Oscar transforms himself not only into the great wizard but into a better man as well. When small-time magician Oscar Diggs pulls one flimflam too many, he finds himself hurled into the fantastical Land of Oz where he must somehow transform himself into the great wizard-and just maybe into a better man as well. -- (C) Walt Disney