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Oz the Great and Powerful and Jack the Giant Slayer (Flick’s Double Review)

Posted on | March 15, 2013 | 1 Comment

On March 1st, Jack the Giant Slayer, a Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, X-Men, X2, Superman Returns) directed fantasy, hit theaters. On March 8th, Oz the Great and Powerful, a Sam Raimi (The Evil Dead, Evil Dead II, The Spider-Man Trilogy) film, hit theaters. Instead of reviewing one at a time, I’ve decided to do a double review because both of the films have a few things in common. The question? Who succeeded: Singer or Raimi? Which film is the m0re enjoyable March blockbuster? Read on to find out which film is this month’s better film. First? Up the beanstalk we go!

Jack the Giant Slayer

3 1/2 stars

Jack, “a simple farm boy”, receives some magic beans from a monk and after getting them wet, beanstalks are grown…And giants are reborn. He embarks on a journey to save a princess, show his courage, and battle some massive meanies.

I was expecting little. I got more than I bargained for. To tell you the truth, I bargained for almost nothing. But, what I got was an entertaining film, flawed, yes, but still enjoyable enough to last most of it’s 115 minute running time. I’ll begin with the actors.

Many critics disliked Nicholas Hoult who has the lead role as Jack. Personally, I didn’t adore him, but I found he was…Let’s just say he’s better than James Franco. Eleanor Tomlinson is just okay, so is Stanley Tucci as buck-toothed villain, Roderick. But the best work comes from Ewan McGregor as the dashing Elmont. He displays what the film could have used a little more of: cleverness.

The effects? The giants are superbly animated and they look as disgusting and gruesome as intended on the big screen. Plus, the beanstalk’s writhing madness is a joy to watch. There are also some grand-scale action scenes that, if long, are fun.

The 3-D is not worth wasting your money on. There are under five pop-out moments that catch your attention. The best being when a giant barrels through a stone floor and when beanstalks grow into your face.

I’ve discussed the pleasures, but it’s not all great. Too many jokes fall flat. Too many battles drag. Too many characters die without any heartfelt emotions. (It does become a “Let’s pluck ’em off one by one!” type thing after a while, so couldn’t they have done it in a meaningful way?) One moment there’s a booger joke, the next a gross-out eyeball squishing. Who is this for? That’s what Singer should’ve decided before tackling the giants. Maybe next time.

My favorite character is Elmont because of his ’30s type action heroes qualities. His charisma and humor drags the film along when it starts to lag from an overlong fight.

My favorite scene is when Jack and Isabelle are hiding from the giant, General Fallon, because if the rest of the film’s action was as uniquely staged, this would have been all of the more worthwhile. This is the kind of scene the film needed!

Jack the Giant Slayer is rated PG-13 and I agree. There are some scary moments that could give little kiddies nightmares. But, there are also the rude humor gags that’ll keep the giggles flowing.

A good bit of amusement, yet lacking real substance. Not enough to last generations of enduring fans.

Oz the Great and Powerful

4 stars

How did the Wonderful Wizard of Oz become, well, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz? After being wiped into the cyclone, Oz finds himself in a land named Oz. He encounters three witches and learns that before he can become the wizard, he must kill the wicked witch.

Wow. Similar to Jack the Giant Slayer, I wasn’t expecting much, but I got quite a bit. Sam Raimi did a fine job with Spider-Man and a great job with Spider-Man 2. But after Spider-Man 3, I wasn’t so pumped for his next venture, let alone a stab at re-imagining the world before the classic The Wizard of Oz. Yet here is an adventure that is fun, yet filled with thrills and an abundance of chills.

After a very enjoyable title credit sequence, I was excited. After the twenty minute B&W beginning, I was ready for it. After a fantastical first meeting in Oz, I was thrilled. The film continues to throw dazzling CG wonder after dazzling CG wonder. There is also real emotion; one scene that introduces China Girl, a young doll, who has been, as not not to give it away I’ll paraphrase, hurt. Raimi doesn’t throw in an action scene right away, to rush the scene off and keep the kids satisfied, he slowly paces a heartfelt moment.

The acting is very good from all three witches. Of course, we know which two will die, but there’s still fun to be had with their delightful acting. Michelle Williams is Glinda and she includes all of the likable qualities that are required for the part. Mila Kunis is Theodora. (I have to be careful now because I’m treading on spoiler water.) The character is much more interesting than first meets the eye: she starts off dancing with Oz and then…GO WATCH THE MOVIE!!! Rachel Weisz is Eveanora, another witch that is sooo very much more fascinating than you might first suspect. It’s not just the characters though, it’s the actresses. Even Mila Kunis who had been in a bunch of raunchy blockbusters before this, is great. Zach Braff is also funny as the voice of Finley, a nice flying monkey. (Don’t panic: there are plenty of vicious baboons!) But guess who’s not so memorable?

Franco. After the Oscars, there wasn’t much hope for him. But, in the back of my mind I kept hoping that maybe because he was working with his Spider Man Trilogy director, some magic would be conjured. Alas, no. He falls short in many emotional scenes when the heavy burden of the entire film is on him. Joey King is fine as China Girl, the animated doll, but whenever her sassiness was supposed to be funny, she fell flat.

The movie, amazingly still worked for me. And trust me, you won’t mind swirling into the cyclone one more time with a talented director like Raimi at the helm.

My favorite character is Eveanora because I think Weisz was the best actor in the film. She captured the many sides of her witch.

My favorite scene is when Oz crashes into Oz because the visuals are so amazing. It’s a great way to be reintroduced, after being away from the land for seventy-four years.

Oz the Great and Powerful is rated PG and I agree. There are some scary endings to a few characters, but if you can watch the original, this isn’t too much worse.

Action, emotion, wonderful witches. It’s all there and it’s all so good. If you get past Franco, you’re in for a good ride.

The Winner: Oz the Great and Powerful

Comments

One Response to “Oz the Great and Powerful and Jack the Giant Slayer (Flick’s Double Review)”

  1. Abid
    March 20th, 2013 @ 9:25 pm

    I did like the movie and it is well done.the scenery and the music were good. youe comments are well observed.

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