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FILM FANS: 'Oz' is neither 'great or powerful'

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Special Photo: Disney James Franco stars in "Oz the Great and Powerful."

EDITOR'S NOTE: Film Fans features local residents reviewing the movie of the week: "Oz the Great and Powerful." Want to be a film fan? Email features@gwinnettdailypost.com

1 out of 4 stars

Well, to begin with "great and powerful" is a misnomer of major proportions as it is clearly neither of these hypes. It is rather a non-entertaining two hours of assorted characters that only Disney could collect. You have the enticing star power of James Franco, Mila Kunis, Michele Williams and Rachel Weisz, but they are merely lost leaders in a massive con game gone bad and nothing more. In fact, Williams is so bad in her robotic role as Glenda the Good Witch, she is actually an authentic liability.

But the start is promising as Franco is the star attraction in the traveling circus. His Oz magic show is bringing in marks but his real interest is conning the young women with his torrid tales. But in a flash his real world is threatened and he escapes in a balloon to the fantasy city of Oz and the movie starts its 360 dive down the slippery slope. Then we see Oz is plagued by multiple witches but later Franco has them all so befuddled that they change roles like a chameleon.

This movie simply doesn't connect on any level. Moreover it's usage of religious prop images as transition points are in extremely poor taste.

-- Rick Wright, Auburn

3 out of 4 stars

"Oz the Great and Powerful" turned out to be what you would expect a prequel to one of the most famous and watched movies of all time would be about. While introducing new characters, the movie provided back story on a lot of familiar characters that would become famous in the classic. On its own, "Oz" has an enjoyable entertainment value, although at two hours and 10 minutes the movie is a little long and the pace does tend to slow at times.

At the center of the movie is James Franco as the wizard himself. He does seem a little overwhelmed at times but does a good job being the film's center of attention. All the witches who are instrumental in the Wizard of Oz are represented and the actresses who play them are more than up to the task. The film does seem to borrow a lot from the musical "Wicked." However, there are very few songs in this movie which is some what disconcerting as the classic had memorable songs through out.

The movie tries to appeal to young and old alike and was especially appealing to those fans of the original.

-- Mark Weinstein, Lawrenceville

2 out of 4 stars

"Oz" was not exactly the movie I was expecting. In fact, I found it to be very disappointing. First off, I did not care for James Franco. There will be no Oscar nominations from his performance. The special effects were not so special, particularly when watching in 2-D. None of the characters were likeable with the exception of a CGI flying monkey. Finally, the story itself was weak and unlike the original, was not a musical. The only silver lining was that "Oz" was able to connect itself to the original story but unfortunately it was wasted on a movie meant for younger audiences. The Broadway show "Wicked," far surpasses this movie and is definitely the better prequel.

-- Kenny Grams, Lawrenceville