Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)


Link: Oz: The Great and Powerful

Summary: A twister carries a magician to Oz, where he becomes involved in a struggle for power between witches.  The story serves as an origin story for the Wizard of Oz and the witches of Oz.

Thoughts: This film’s major flaw was that the main character’s goals were far too ambiguous, so I found little reason to care about him or his plight.  In the beginning, his goal is the vague cliché “I feel like a nobody!  I wanna be somebody!”  This is too abstract.  I have no way to relate to it, in a story sense.  That is, I have no way to relate the character’s actions to a desire that abstract.  The goal needs to be more concrete.  What physical thing does a character want that will fulfill his desire to be somebody?  And what are the stakes?  What awful terrible thing will happen if he doesn’t fulfill his desire?  The film had no answers for these.  When the main character is transported to Oz, he wanders around with no goal at all, until he’s tempted by the lure of wealth, which is consistent with his abstract goal of act one, and doesn’t even make sense considering he’s stuck in another world.  And, again, there are absolutely no stakes.  If he can’t become wealthy, who cares?  Nothing is at stake until more than half way through the film when the main character finally earns the wrath of a wicked witch who vows to destroy him.  Remember writers: concrete goals.

The visual effects were beautiful.  I loved the imagery of Oz, the epic fantastical landscapes, the cozy palaces.  The world had a wonderful whimsical magical warm and welcoming feel to it, and it looked great in 3D.  It was a shame to see such beauty wasted on such a weak story.

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