Movie Review #344: Oz – The Great and Powerful

Nothing but a deceptive, big-budget magic trick to swindle your money

The CGI in Oz is beautiful. To be honest it’s almost up to par with James Cameron’s Avatar, except the latter was able to sustain the wonder through the end while ‘The Great and Powerful’ only managed to retain it for about 30 minutes until you begin to realize the crap that is underneath the expensive visuals.

Imagine a $215M budget. Despite their greatest efforts to create a CGI masterpiece and get a good director (Sam Raimi), they somehow forgot to shell out money for good writers. To be frank, the dialogue is garbage. It may be impervious to the eyes of children, but it really bothered me. I don’t know if it was miscasting, bad acting, or just a terrible script, but watching James Franco, Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz utter their lines was enough to make me cringe. And I don’t think any of them stood out either. The biggest problem of the film is that aside from the great visual effects, the movie just isn’t fun. And as a result audiences are left with corny punch-lines and half-baked in-between jokes, while the seemingly serious scenes incite ridicule and sarcastic laughter. And (SPOILER ALERT), if you get bored in between, you might want to take note of the dozens of sexual innuendos visible in various scenes.

Overall, it’s just NOT a well-acted, well-written and well-directed film. And sometimes the visuals even without 3D can be overwhelming at times. As time passes by the magic and splendor of CGI weakens, and all you can see is a confused fantasy tale with zero plot cohesion and character development.

GRADE: C-

Movie Review #341: Jack the Giant Slayer

Getting the hard things right and the simple things wrong

The giants look more real than all the real objects found in the film. If they were able to make CGI that good, how in the world could they forget about the actual props? It took away the realism and ruined some of the fun for me. Nevertheless, there are still a few things to enjoy in Jack the Giant Slayer. For one, this retelling did what it could to twist the children’s tale and make it a slightly entertaining film. Although predictable because of its age-old story, the visual effects fused with good performances by its lead actor Nicolas Hoult kept me interested. Hoult has a potential to be an A-list actor, but the script didn’t do him any favor. The dialogue of the movie had full of one-liners that didn’t give the characters too much room to shine. The faults are a pity since this could’ve been an epic adventure that kickstarted the 2013 blockbusters leading into the summer. Instead the bad set design and the writing turned it into a rather generic fantasy children’s film that’s passable. I’d be happy with that though, because the opening was so bad I didn’t think they’d be able to turn it around.

This isn’t Bryan Singer’s best directorial work, not should anyone expect it to be. Kids will love this film, others should be fine regardless. Though I suggest that you lower your expectations if you’re planning to give this one a try.

GRADE: C