Gosh, any one in particular?!
Want to avoid comparisons? Then you should have called it Chad the Great and Powerful!
This movie is directed by Sam Raimi, and there are four Raimis in the cast! Who would have guessed four members of one director’s family would be the best actors for their respective roles! Holy Helena Bonham Carter, Tim Burton!
In what must be Oz author L. Frank Baum’s go-to move, former Oscar host James Franco is carried out of Kansas in a tornado only to land in the magical land of Oz, where licensing rights to Over the Rainbow are evidently unavailable and the iTunes store has yet to install an outpost.
“No buds in their ears, but plenty in their pipes,” explains a buzzed Franco, for whom every call sheet reads 4:20. I don’t know what Franco’s smoking, but he appears to be baked at 350 degrees for two hours and ten minutes.
“How can it be that I awaken in a magical place where everyone looks like Perez Hilton and yet is undiscovered by any Kardashian?” asks Franco, from just beyond the closest rainbow.
Just then, big bright flowers blossom around a bronze statue of Louis B. Mayer followed by a song-and-dance from Dick Van Dyke.
“Let’s just stop down the dialogue for about ten minutes while we worship all this expensive CG scenery,” says Franco.
And who is there to meet him? No, not munchkins – they are now a registered trademark of the Dunkin Donuts corporation and can only work on non-union pictures. “That’s what happens when your negotiations are done by the Lollipop Guild rather than CAA,” chides Franco.
It’s Mila Kunis! And she’s dressed like she took the wrong tornado on the way to F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Two minutes in Oz and already Franco’s got a girlfriend and a winged monkey man-servant dressed as a bellman. Personally, I’ve always wanted my bellmen to have wings but instead they just have hands out.
Just as in that other Oz story I’m not supposed to reference, all the folks Franco meets in this magic land are echoes of folks back in that “no place like home” called home.
“It’s cheaper to get folks to play multiple roles,” explains Raimi, “although not as cheap as getting your relatives to do it for nothing.”
By my count, Franco has three different love interests in the first thirty minutes of this movie – that’s as many as I had in my first thirty years!
It’s about this point in the movie you realize that L. Frank Baum must have discovered the peyote poppies in the emerald forest. “I know!” Baum was rumored to have said, “I’ll use a tornado as a form of rapid transit to a place where all the townsfolk work crew for RuPaul’s Drag Race.”
Of course, what would an Oz movie be without a yellow brick road – apparently the yellow cobblestone road presented insurmountable infrastructure challenges.
Franco encounters a city of porcelein teacups in shambles. Within one broken teacup sits a china girl who is so happy for Franco to fix her legs that she gives him a big hug, whereupon he proceeds to rub her ass. Franco, stop! She’s just an innocent collectible figurine! “Oh baby, just you shut your mouth,” he tells his China Girl.
So Franco falls for Glinda the Good Witch, thus making Mila the Original Witch jealous, which makes her ugly enough for a featured role on Bravo’s new Housewives of Oz County. And so goes Oz the Great and Powerful – driven by the same emotions that causes 14-year-olds to exclaim, “I don’t like him anymore because he likes another girl better.”
So now we have the Good Witch of the North, the Wicked Witch of the West, and her sister, the Witch from either East or South, depending on which way the crow flies. “At least there can be only four witches,” reasons Franco, “unless you have Witches for SE, SW, NW, and NE, too, just like Bravo does.”
Franco and Glinda jump off a cliff only to reappear in floating bubbles. Floating bubbles? “I was going to have them pop up in a horse-drawn carriage, but you really have to try this peyote!” said L. Frank Baum, who was drinking it out of some flapper’s ruby slipper.
The bubbles pass through a magic wall where only good-hearted souls may pass.
And anyone with a bong.
“We have arrived in that portion of Oz where all the townsfolk sport elaborately curled facial hair,” says Glinda.
“Ding-dong, the Philips Norelco razor is dead!” says Franco.
When Mila goes all Wicked Witch, Margaret Hamilton she ain’t. Making the “hottest woman on the planet” into an ugly crone is an insult to all the ugly crones in the Screen Actors Guild, if you ask me. And her eyebrows are so high they could photograph alleged Iranian nuclear sites.
Although evil Mila does know how to handle balls of fire. “My boyfriend Ashton Kutcher is usually battling one STD or another,” she explains.
Oz the Great and Powerful is fun enough, although it could be both greater and more powerful.