Roger Ebert’s review of ‘Oz the Great and Powerful”

For our assignment to find a movie review and comment on why I liked or disliked it, I decided to find a review on a movie that i had seen. I also decided to pay a little tribute the Roger Ebert and read some of his reviews. That being said, I decided to pick Ebert’s review of “Oz the Great and Powerful.” My own reaction to the film was mixed so I was curious to see what he felt about the film.

Ebert spends time focusing not on the story line, but on the acting ability of the actors/actresses in the film. Especially when comparing Mila Kunis’ rendition of the Wicked Witch of the West to Margaret Hamilton’s original performance as the Wicked Witch.

According to Ebert, James Franco’s performance is consistent but underwhelming. When I saw the film, this is the best description, because while in some parts he was good, it seemed throughout the film that he was disinterested in committing to the character.

Ebert continues that while the special effect are stunning, they are sometimes overbearing. In my opinion, the best part of the film was the transition from black and white to color, it was absolutely breathtaking. However, after that, the explosion of color was overwhelming and too much.

One of his most interesting points was when he compared the special effects in this film to the original “Wizard of Oz.” Instead of saying if he likes or dislikes the use of CGI, he opens the conversation about Hollywood’s reliance on CGI and special effects. And how “Oz” would have been more magical if the director had relied only on the special effect techniques of the 1930s.

This was a very interesting point to me because I agree that the magical worlds in films lose their believability when they heavily rely on animation and green screens. While in some cases, it’s the best way to get the storyline across, it was almost overused in Oz.

I really liked this review because it didn’t focus on the plot, but the actors’ ability to portray their characters compared to their predecessors and the scenery and special effects that were used. Ebert’s overall consensus seemed to be that the film would have been more effective if it had taken a leaf out of the special effects book of the original “Wizard of Oz.”


3 thoughts on “Roger Ebert’s review of ‘Oz the Great and Powerful”

  1. I will have to read this review. Being a long-time Wizard of Oz fanatic, I have been quite uneasy about going to see this film. The effects do look amazing, but even the trailers show some parts of the film that just look over-the-top and ridiculous. And when you are making a prequel to a very popular classic movie, the actors must be entirely sold into their characters, and definitely take some close notes on the previous film. Which I’m sure they did, but some more research probably wouldn’t hurt them!

  2. I saw “OZ” over Easter Weekend and like you, I was left with mixed feelings about the film itself. I thought James Franco was OK, but I was more concerned with Mila Kunis’ acting as the Wicked Witch… Before her transformation, her character was not believable to me. I thought her acting got better as the movie progressed. But, I absolutely loved Michelle Williams! However, I wasn’t as concerned with the special effects as I was with how quickly the scenes moved. I saw it in 3D and was left wishing that they had slowed the movie down a little. I have to say though, that you’re absolutely correct in saying that the transition from black & white to color was AMAZING!

  3. Haven’t seen this movie yet, and I didn’t think I would want to. After reading the review, along with your comments, I just feel like it would be an injustice to watch this new rendition of Oz. I do have to say that while I love James Franco as an actor, at times he does seem to be elsewhere instead of focused on his character.

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