Despite trying to re-ignite the magic past generations had with timeless classic The Wizard of Oz – this prequel lacks the heart of the original.
For a family movie it does have its merits – including beautiful computer-generated backdrops that bring the world of Oz to life – but it ends up as a muddling traipse down the infamous yellow brick road.
Despite his Oscar-nominated turn in 127 Hours and lead in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, James Franco isn’t yet a strong enough leading man for a film of this magnitude and struggles to convince as a small-time circus magician.
The three witches who take him under his wing played by Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams, battle hard with the generic script that does nothing for their talents but only Williams and Zach Braff (winged-monkey Finley), really come away unscathed.
Its pay-off isn’t bad, it does have a throwback black-and-white opening like the original, and some of the scenery is simply luscious – but it somehow plays out in such a disjointed fashion that it ends up as a pretty joyless experience.
Even though this will ignite a new franchise – after it’s $80 million opening weekend in the States – it isn’t great or powerful enough to linger in the memory for too long.
If you want a magical journey down the yellow brick road – buy the Garland original.