Thursday, 14 March 2013

REVIEW - OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL


Did I miss something? Here's what I saw: James Franco does a shitload of LSD and wakes up in a magical world where he meets a righteous winged monkey, a talking little china girl (oh oh oh oh!) and three drag queens, one of whom inexplicably turns green, and then he ends up re-animated as a face projected on a cloud of smoke. Right? Actors always end up bringing something of themselves to their performances (bar Meryl Streep), which is why a good casting director is a necessity if you want to ensure the success of your film. As the bogus wizard, Franco ought to be conveying unconvincing conviction, whereas he's just unconvincing, phoning in his phony portrayal of one of cinema's most famous frauds. I suppose he, like the others, was hired for aesthetic purposes, and Oz is certainly a splendid spectacle, with its beautiful sets (the Emerald City remains an Art Deco delight) and bright visual effects, although while they get the smaller details right, there's at least one 'treadmill-in-front-of-back-screen-projection' shot that provoked giggles. The three gloriously camp witches, all wigged-up with nary a hair out of place (except you, Michelle Williams - just tuck it back), are considerably more fun than Franco, especially Rachel Weisz, although when Mila Kunis makes her (spoiler alert) transformation into the Wicked Witch, it's hard to shake the fact that she looks like a sad bullied teenager and still sounds like Meg from Family Guy. It's worth it, though, for Weisz's pricelessly sincere remark: "Sister! You look hideous!" You just know this shit was written by a Pulitzer Prize winner. Sam Raimi lays the leaden-paced slapstick on heavy, and populates the supporting cast with a variety of faces of colour, as if to make up for the fact that, someday, Oz is going to become a very politically-incorrect land. And what they may lack in wealth, these peasants at least make up for in detergent. It's like RuPaul's Drag Race on crack. Or just James Franco on crack.