Director: Sam Raimi
Year Released: 2013
Magician/charlatan Oz (James Franco, miscast and half-assing it) escapes his black and white world-of-carnies and gets whisked - via tornado! - to an enchanted kingdom where he sides with the Good Witch (Michelle Williams) and her meek, weak minions against the hordes of evil, commandeered by two Bad Witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis) and Evanora (Rachel Weisz). Here's another instance of Hollywood throwing a ton of money at the screen and hiring accomplished actors to act in front of green screens and still not having a lot of magic and wonder to show for it - it doesn't help, either, that it brings up memories of the colorful, simplistic child-like world of the classic Wizard of Oz, with its unforgettable characters and musical numbers (plus, the Wizard in the 1939 movie is shown to be a sham; here the 'sham' is to be celebrated as a liberator). Finley the flying monkey (voiced by Zach Braff) and the adorable China Girl (voiced by Joey King) are fine CGI companions, but Franco, again, smirks his way through another big-screen performance (a la Brando) and the sound of 'heart-broken' Theodora shrieking (oh, Mila) is cringe-inducing (as opposed to frightening). The stage version of Wicked on Broadway is an unforgettable pop experience - even for someone as apathetic towards musical theatre as I am - but this is quite literally smoke and mirrors.