Oz the Great and Powerful review

March 8, 2013 2:52:09 PM PST
The film is called Oz the Great and Powerful, but it falls short of such a lofty title by being good enough but not great. Not exactly weak, but hardly as powerful as it should have been given the original Wizard of Oz is so beloved.

James Franco plays a magician who finds himself in Oz after a trip that will seem pretty familiar to any fans of the original. He's embraced as a wizard come to save the little people of Oz.

Michelle Williams is delightful as the good witch. Mila Kunis dares to go ugly as 1 of two bad witches and her sister played by Rachel Wiesz is even more evil.

Don't worry. This is a family friendly movie, dealing with events before those shown in the iconic 1939 movie. Rights to the classic film remain at another studio.

But Dorothy isn't here and there's no sign of her ruby red slippers. We're stuck with characters from the original Oz books published almost a century ago.

A flying monkey is amusing. A porcelain doll less so. The picture has a terrific climax and visually it is fun to watch especially in 3-d, but never quite reaches that high-bar of being equally interesting to kids and their parents.

James Franco was a second choice for the lead after Robert Downey Jr. chose not to play the part and I am quite sure I'd have enjoyed the movie more if Downey had been available.

"Oz" is from Walt Disney Pictures, which is owned by the same parent company as WABC-TV.