James Franco and a Couple of Flying Monkeys: A Review of Oz

Oz: The Great and Powerful, is two hours of James Franco being James Franco in technicolor.
I did not enjoy it.
Because of Franco’s dominating presence, a number of characters are woefully underdeveloped. Take Zach Braff’s character, a flying monkey. He uttered a few campy, rim shot lines. That’s the biggest waste of comedic opportunity since… well, ever. Just Zach Braff as an adorable monkey, making jokes about whatever he wants to for two hours, is a movie I’d pay to see.
What we got though, was James Franco as a pathological liar/magician from Kansas. Because Franco needed to be likeable, the theme of the movie ended up being “lying is okay because it’s all going to work out.” That idea got two hundred million dollars in funding.
Mila Kunis was also wasted in Oz. In a nutshell, her character Theodora was an idiot who was fooled by every main character in the movie during her half hour of screen time.
The premise of Oz also showed a ton of potential. It’s the story of how Oz came to be Oz. It’s a chance to provide an interesting take on a world that became iconic the second audiences saw the yellow brick road become yellow in 1939. Instead, Oz had an almost identical plot arc as The Wizard of Oz. Both movies are linear journeys that show a protagonist’s change as he/she travels though a strange land.
If you like James Franco, then you’ll enjoy Oz. If you’re like me though, you saw a movie with an outstanding cast, enough money to sink the Titanic through sheer mass, and a great premise all get wasted.
Also, it didn’t have Toto and that’s a deal-breaker.