OZ-Franco-and-WilliamsIf there’s one thing I’ve learned about movies, it’s that movie critics can be a bit too critical when reviewing them.  And while critics on websites seem to be giving this film about a 59% rating, those who have seen it, including myself, have thought more highly about it.

Disney’s “Oz The Great and Powerful” opens in theaters this weekend.  I’ve just returned home from seeing it, and I can say that this was a good film!  Not a great one, but still good.

James Franco does decently enough in his role of Oscar “Oz” Diggs, a two bit con artist and travelling circus magician who gets swept up in a Kansas tornado and magically transported to the land of Oz.  Apparently there’s a prophecy that a man with the same name as the land, who also happens to be a great wizard, will rid the land of the wicked witch that plagues it.  Oz “admits” to being the wizard after being told the tale by the beautiful Theodora (Mila Kunis).  You see, aside from being a magician and con artist, Diggs is also a notorious womanizer.  Things seem to be going great as Oz finds out more about his future kingdom and the riches he’s about to just walk right into.  There’s just one small detail, he has to kill the witch.  Realizing more and more that he’s in over his head, he awkwardly plays through the charade he started, all the while trying to find ways to back out of it.  The wheels, however, are now in motion and as the story progresses he’s made to realize that he is a better man than he would have everyone believe.  More importantly, because others believe in his goodness, he finally starts to change and believe in himself.  This change allows him to realize that he can help others and not just himself.

While Oz may not be this year’s biggest film, it certainly has heart.  I predict it will do far better in the box office than another Disney movie did in this same month just last year.

Sam Raimi did an excellent job directing, and if you’re a fan of his films you may notice a signature touch or two from his filmmaking bag o’ tricks in this movie.  Heck, you might even notice a Bruce Campbell cameo appearance while you’re at it too!

The standout performance of the whole pic belongs to Mila Kunis.  More and more, her movie career and acting abilities seem to be taking off lately, and her role as Theodora really gives her a chance to showcase her talent.

Definitely worth seeing in theaters, the land of Oz is extremely colorful and well designed and deserves to be viewed on a ginormous theater screen!  Just be aware when taking children to see it that it carries a PG rating for sequences of action & scary images as well as some brief mild language.