Another classic tale reimagination which is kind of artificial, empty, and leaves mixed feelings.
Director: Sam Raimi | Stars: James Franco, Michele Williams, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz
Budget: 215 million | Box office: 455 million
This was the first movie which I watched just because once I promised myself to see every major movie, filmed in 3D (except horror ones). The trailers looked not promising and besides cool effect of changing from square black and white frame to colourful widescreen everything else told about mediocre recreation just abusing the wave of classic tales reboots.
I wish they have left the black and white part out of the trailers, in such way it would be quite a nice surprise in the movie. The beginning shot in 4:3 frame looked really nice in 3D, I could really watch something like The Artist in such format. They could have played with more stuff going out of square frame to the wider screen, but in general it looked very lovely. The beginning of second part, and changing to colourful widescreen format was also nice, the first glimpses of land of Oz were impressive, especially the weight of huge flowers and leaves. But from there it started to go from bad to worse.
I think the monkey is to blame for it all. From the introduction of this ugly artificial creature I couldn‘t watch the movie without thinking how bad it is done. I don‘t think it was lack of quality because the visual effects companies were quite experienced and worked with such movies as Avengers, Prometheus, Spider-Man and others, so it probably was an artistic decision to do the creatures and all the environment in such a style. I think they tried to replicate hugely successful Alice (the same producers which started all this modern fairy tale craze), but even if I hated that, I admit that Tim Burton had it‘s own interesting style. Here is just plastic, artificial and empty. The only nice thing was a little china girl (nice joke with Chinatown), who had real weight and more sincere emotions than all the actors combined.
Which leads to another big downturn for me – the general poses of actors and the dialogue style, as it goes from overly simplified to plain stupid. Again, why? It can‘t be because of dedication to children, as almost all the modern cartoons are much smarter and interesting in their approach. Maybe in such way they tried to replicate the feeling of classic Oz? It was quite simple and lighthearted, but it was sincere. Here it just looks and feels wrong.
It‘s a pity, because the main idea of the fake magician coming to the land and becoming the great wizard by trickery is quite fun and shows the classic story from the other side. But I just can‘t agree with such Sam Raimi‘s vision (who decided to give acclaimed horror director such movie anyway) and it‘s a bit sad that such films still are so successful and getting sequels.