Even though it should be considered a box office success, it only achieved a 59% on Rotten Tomatoes, which per definition is not very good. Even with my strong dislike of all things James Franco, here is my short review of a really entertaining movie. (I am writing this piece out of my own shock as to how much I liked the movie.)
1. It restored my faith in Sam Raimi. After the disaster that was Spiderman 3, I really thought that the success of the previous two has gone to his head and he lost the plot completely. With three villains, an Emo Peter Parker and the sacrilegious representation of Venom, I considered it only a matter of time for old Sam, to check into some looney bin. (Or more probably some rehab centre). Then I saw this movie over the weekend, and realised Sam Raimi directed, my hope in humanity was once again restored.
2. This movie is one of the few life action movies out there I can actually watch with my 11 year old daughter. I suppose there are many more, but I really enjoyed the fact that we could watch this, without crinching at unexpected profanity, sexual innuendo and below-the-belt jokes. What is it with age restrictions these days? When did 13 turn into 16? I don’t want to watch animation ALL THE TIME. Kudos to the film makers for taking the whole family on a trip to Oz, allowing everyone to join in and letting us visit by leaving the awkward discussions for when we return home.
3. The. Visuals. Are. Stunningly. Beautiful. Need I say more? It blew me away, and as a dad who doesn’t necessarily pay for the gimmick of 3D, I am really annoyed that we missed this one. The last time I was so impressed with visuals, other than the obvious Lord of the Rings trilogy, was when Robin Williams played around in an oil painting in What dreams may come.
4. The movie showcased one of the ultimate lessons I would want my kids to remember for the rest of their lives: It’s better being GOOD than being GREAT. Whoa! Thanks Glinda, that’s why they call you the Good Witch.
5. Showcasing amazing characters, human and not. Can you forget the desolate scene of China Town, and the gem that followed through the rest of the movie, that little China doll? Or the flying monkey? The three witches? Even James Franco impressed me slightly, if not for that stupid grin he puts on showing both rows of teeth… Who does that? I mean this dimwit was basically dead in the water during the Oscars two years ago. Fortunately his reputed 7 million dollar pay check gave the audience a better performance this time.
I also loved the references to the original movie, like the cowardly lion and the maker of the tinman, and all the scarecrows fighting in the poppy field. There is even a good explanation to the original wizard having a big, foggy head scenario.
Please note, this is definitely not the best movie I have ever seen, but it has to be my biggest surprise in recent months.
Thanks to Sam and his team for enabling us to visit Oz, as a family, and even without the eyes of Dorothy, we had a lot of fun and were saddened to leave the magical place you created. Hopefully we can return for another visit some day.
Now if I can only stop hearing “Somewhere over the Rainbow….”