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  1. #1
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    Jack and Oz, well, just because...

    Anyone care enough to want a review beyond this--

    Decent fantasy flick though clearly aimed at a younger audience. Probably good for the 7-12 year old set to see with mom and dad. Some mildly clever twists on the classic Jack and the Beanstalk fable though there wasn't a single moment that was even mildly surprising. It held my attention and the attention of my 13 year old son, though neither of us loved it.

    As an aside, I really like Bill Nighy as an actor and would love to see him actually appear in a film as opposed to voicing all-CGI characters like he did as Davy Jones in Pirates II and II and as he does as the Giant King in this movie.



    -Jason "I actually think it might have been better than The Hobbit, thought part of that may be my overall disappointment at Hobbit's pace" Evans
    I don't know what you are doing right now, but if you aren't listening to the DBR Podcast, you're doing it wrong.

  2. #2

    Another fairy tale

    While I have no interest in this film, I find myself very drawn to the trailers for the new Sam Raimi film "The Great and Powerful Oz."

    Great cast (james Franco, Michelle Williams, Rachael Weisz, Mila Kunis and Zack Braff) and some sumptuous visuals. Plus, I've always been a fan of the Baum stuff and twists on the Baum universe -- Tin Man is a glorious re-imagining of the legend

    Just wonder if there is any kind of buzz for this?

    I don't really trust Sam Raimi -- once upon a time, he made some glorious tonge-in-cheek horror/adventure movies -- the two Evil Dead films, the glorious Army of Darkness and (while not my favorites) the first three popular Spiderman movies. But he's also made some terrible clunkers -- the two Grudge movies, Bogeyman and Ill never forgive him for "For the Love of the Game" (which was the Godfather III of Costner's baseball trilogy after the great Bull Durham and Field of Dreams).

    My hopes for this are high, based on the way Franco is presented in the trailers -- there's a real Bruce Campbell feel to his character ... and Raimi working with Campbell is like Ford working with Wayne ... it's the pinnacle.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympic Fan View Post
    While I have no interest in this film, I find myself very drawn to the trailers for the new Sam Raimi film "The Great and Powerful Oz."

    Great cast (james Franco, Michelle Williams, Rachael Weisz, Mila Kunis and Zack Braff) and some sumptuous visuals. Plus, I've always been a fan of the Baum stuff and twists on the Baum universe -- Tin Man is a glorious re-imagining of the legend

    Just wonder if there is any kind of buzz for this?

    I don't really trust Sam Raimi -- once upon a time, he made some glorious tonge-in-cheek horror/adventure movies -- the two Evil Dead films, the glorious Army of Darkness and (while not my favorites) the first three popular Spiderman movies. But he's also made some terrible clunkers -- the two Grudge movies, Bogeyman and Ill never forgive him for "For the Love of the Game" (which was the Godfather III of Costner's baseball trilogy after the great Bull Durham and Field of Dreams).

    My hopes for this are high, based on the way Franco is presented in the trailers -- there's a real Bruce Campbell feel to his character ... and Raimi working with Campbell is like Ford working with Wayne ... it's the pinnacle.
    Thank you for the rundown of the greatest of Sam Raimi, and I wholeheartedly agree with your views on all that! I'd add in the return to form Raimi had with Drag Me to Hell in his list of strong movies. Ahhh, Army of Darkness. "Good...bad...I'm the guy with the gun." I have high hopes for Oz. That mix of humor, fantasy, and horror should be right up Raimi's alley.

    Not sure if I'll see Jack or not. Depends totally on whether my older two kids (10 and 13) have any interest.
    Brian Zoubek on what was going through his mind walking to the free throw line with 3.6 seconds remaining in the 2010 National Championship game and Duke up by 1: "Fifty percent [of me is] thinking, This is what I've been dreaming of doing my entire life. Fifty percent I'm crapping my pants."

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympic Fan View Post
    While I have no interest in this film, I find myself very drawn to the trailers for the new Sam Raimi film "The Great and Powerful Oz."

    Great cast (james Franco, Michelle Williams, Rachael Weisz, Mila Kunis and Zack Braff) and some sumptuous visuals. Plus, I've always been a fan of the Baum stuff and twists on the Baum universe -- Tin Man is a glorious re-imagining of the legend

    Just wonder if there is any kind of buzz for this?
    Actually, I believe the title is "Oz The Great and Powerful," though we are splitting hairs.

    Industry insiders expect Oz to be a much more popular film with the public than Jack will be. HSX has Jack trading at a price of about $80/share (whivh means about $80 mil of boxoffice over its first 3 weekends of release) while Oz is trading at $180. Jack is skewing much younger/family oriented while Oz is probably going for a teen/young adult as well as fantasy/sci-fi audience. My bet is that Oz hopes to capture a good portion of the Hobbit crowd.

    There is not much buzz yet. I am not aware of any critics who have seen the film yet to start posting reviews. I have a screening early next week, but I will be unable to attend that. While you may not trust him, Rami has a good reputation and a pretty solid track record -- especially when you consider that he has mostly done low-brow horror kind of films that typically do not make for high-quality filmmaking.

    That said, the screenwriters are a pair of guys who are experienced but haven't done much really great stuff (one of them wrote The Whole Nine Yards, the other wrote Rise of the Guardians). I am quite concerned that this will be another "re-imagining" similar to what Disney did with Alice in Wonderland a couple years ago, where the focus is largely on spectacle and 3D effects as opposed to great storytelling. I have head that this film is full of expensive CGI sets and characters, which either means lots of fun eye candy or lots of junk distracting us from the story. The film carries a production budget of around $200 million.

    My bet is that it will be good, but not nearly great. I bet it follows a very predictable character arc for Oz (shady but lovable at first, unsure of himself in the middle, then rise to being the hero at the end). I am not sure how you do much of a character arc for the witches, who will (by definition) either be "Good" or "Evil." Any hope for nuance in the witches is probably a fool's errand.

    But, I am just guessing. I would be delighted if it surprised me and was better than Alice in Wonderland was.

    -Jason "so much for a conversation about Jack " Evans
    I don't know what you are doing right now, but if you aren't listening to the DBR Podcast, you're doing it wrong.

  5. #5

    Oz

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonEvans View Post
    Actually, I believe the title is "Oz The Great and Powerful," though we are splitting hairs.

    Industry insiders expect Oz to be a much more popular film with the public than Jack will be. HSX has Jack trading at a price of about $80/share (whivh means about $80 mil of boxoffice over its first 3 weekends of release) while Oz is trading at $180. Jack is skewing much younger/family oriented while Oz is probably going for a teen/young adult as well as fantasy/sci-fi audience. My bet is that Oz hopes to capture a good portion of the Hobbit crowd.

    There is not much buzz yet. I am not aware of any critics who have seen the film yet to start posting reviews. I have a screening early next week, but I will be unable to attend that. While you may not trust him, Rami has a good reputation and a pretty solid track record -- especially when you consider that he has mostly done low-brow horror kind of films that typically do not make for high-quality filmmaking.

    That said, the screenwriters are a pair of guys who are experienced but haven't done much really great stuff (one of them wrote The Whole Nine Yards, the other wrote Rise of the Guardians). I am quite concerned that this will be another "re-imagining" similar to what Disney did with Alice in Wonderland a couple years ago, where the focus is largely on spectacle and 3D effects as opposed to great storytelling. I have head that this film is full of expensive CGI sets and characters, which either means lots of fun eye candy or lots of junk distracting us from the story. The film carries a production budget of around $200 million.

    My bet is that it will be good, but not nearly great. I bet it follows a very predictable character arc for Oz (shady but lovable at first, unsure of himself in the middle, then rise to being the hero at the end). I am not sure how you do much of a character arc for the witches, who will (by definition) either be "Good" or "Evil." Any hope for nuance in the witches is probably a fool's errand.

    But, I am just guessing. I would be delighted if it surprised me and was better than Alice in Wonderland was.

    -Jason "so much for a conversation about Jack " Evans
    Thanks for the correction on the title -- I wouldn't want to go to the wrong film!

    Agree with your comments about Alice -- a great cast and a great opportunity squandered by a CGI-driven production with little attention to story-telling.

    I'm also intrigued by the three witches. In the previews -- all three look like good witches. But we know from the original film that two of the three in that one were bad -- the Wicked Witch of the East, that Dorothy kills by dropping a house on; the Wicked Witch of the West (the superb Margaret Hamilton) and Glinda the Good. Well, Michaelle Williams plays Glinda in this one ... does that mean that Mila Kunas and Rachel Weicz turn evil?

    I hope they surprise me.

    I think you have nailed the character arc of the Wizard -- but that won't bother me if it's well done.

    PS You note the screenwriters are a couple of guys with so-so credits. But the production credits list THREE screenwriters ... L. Frank Baum gets a credit. I think that's interesting.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympic Fan View Post
    .. PS You note the screenwriters are a couple of guys with so-so credits. But the production credits list THREE screenwriters ... L. Frank Baum gets a credit. I think that's interesting.
    Instead of writing whizzes, they got guys writing the wiz. Baum, he is a Whiz of Wiz if ever a Wiz there was, writing a screenplay 90+ years after his death! Or is this a screenplay that's been laying around for a while?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by BD80 View Post
    Instead of writing whizzes, they got guys writing the wiz. Baum, he is a Whiz of Wiz if ever a Wiz there was, writing a screenplay 90+ years after his death! Or is this a screenplay that's been laying around for a while?
    Quote Originally Posted by Olympic Fan View Post
    PS You note the screenwriters are a couple of guys with so-so credits. But the production credits list THREE screenwriters ... L. Frank Baum gets a credit. I think that's interesting.
    Baum gets a "story by" credit or something like that because he penned the book upon which the screenplay is based. But, he had zero role in writing the actual screenplay. It is worth noting that Baum is not exactly known as one of the great storytellers of his generation. He had a wild, runaway success with the first Oz book and he built on that success in the Oz sequels, but none of the sequels are considered especially great books.

    I may be mistaken, but I think much of this new movie is a new invention, not taken from any of Baum's initial stories. The general theme of a common man who takes a balloon to the land of Oz and tricks everyone into thinking he is some great wizard is from the books, but the rest of the plot is from the new screenwriters, not from Baum.

    -Jason "I feel like I am putting this movie down a lot, considering I have not seen it " Evans
    I don't know what you are doing right now, but if you aren't listening to the DBR Podcast, you're doing it wrong.

  8. #8
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    Baum actually did write some scripts based on his Oz novels. Of course they were not for the silver screen (no talkies), but were for plays, most of which were never produced and some of which were lost. I suspect the film producers have access to at least some of those scripts and they could well have been incorporated into the screenplay--hence the credit. To know for sure, we'd have to ask the screenwriters.

  9. #9

    Baum the scriptwriter

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim3k View Post
    Baum actually did write some scripts based on his Oz novels. Of course they were not for the silver screen (no talkies), but were for plays, most of which were never produced and some of which were lost. I suspect the film producers have access to at least some of those scripts and they could well have been incorporated into the screenplay--hence the credit. To know for sure, we'd have to ask the screenwriters.
    Actually, the first filmed version of the Wizard of Oz in 1925 -- which starred a young Oliver Hardy (of Laurel and Hardy fame) as the Tin Woodsman -- was writted by L. Frank Baum Jr. -- Baum's son. At least that was the first full length version ... there were some earlier short versions.

    Look, Jason, I know that Baum didn't write this script, but I was going on the credit listed at Rotten Tomatoes, which does list Baum as one of the three scriptwriters. In fact, he's the first one listed. No "Story by" or "Based On":

    http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/oz_t..._and_powerful/

    It does remind me a bit of Baz Luhrmann's 1996 film with Leo DiCaprio and Claire Danes that was officially titled, "William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet" -- I guess to keep us from confusing it with Tom Clancy's Romeo and Juliet (where the Capulets run a secret ops on the Montegues) or Stephen King's Romeo and Juliet (where the two dead lovers continue their romance from beyond the grave) or Jackie Collins' Romeo and Julie (pretty much the same plot, just a lot more explicit).

    I guess in this case, they want to give Frank Baum writing credit so we won't get this movie confused with the HBO series of the same name.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympic Fan View Post
    ... or Stephen King's Romeo and Juliet (where the two dead lovers continue their romance from beyond the grave)...
    Have you seen the recently released movie Warm Bodies? You just came perilously close to summing up the plot.

    -Jason "as an added bonus, Warm Bodies stars James Franco's brother, Dave, as the guy who's love gets to live on beyond the grave... sorta" Evans
    I don't know what you are doing right now, but if you aren't listening to the DBR Podcast, you're doing it wrong.

  11. #11
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympic Fan View Post
    I'm also intrigued by the three witches. In the previews -- all three look like good witches. But we know from the original film that two of the three in that one were bad -- the Wicked Witch of the East, that Dorothy kills by dropping a house on; the Wicked Witch of the West (the superb Margaret Hamilton) and Glinda the Good. Well, Michaelle Williams plays Glinda in this one ... does that mean that Mila Kunas and Rachel Weicz turn evil?
    It was my (limited) understanding that we're not supposed to know at this point. But then Entertainment Weekly starts promoting next week's issue, which has the Wicked Witch of the West on the cover. Try to avoid it and their website if you don't want to be spoiled.

  13. #13
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    Variety just posted their review of Oz.

    As I predicted, they say it is gorgeous and full of arresting imagery, but the story is lacking any real depth.

    Disney’s “Oz the Great and Powerful” can be enjoyed, up to a point, on its own colorful, diverting but finally rather futile terms. Offering an eye-tickling but gaudily depersonalized Land of Oz populated by younger, sexier versions of well-known characters (most incongruously the Wicked Witch of the West), this elaborate exercise in visual Baum-bast nonetheless gets some mileage out of its game performances, luscious production design and the unfettered enthusiasm director Sam Raimi brings to a thin, simplistic origin story.
    -Jason "not a bad review, but certainly not a great one either" Evans
    I don't know what you are doing right now, but if you aren't listening to the DBR Podcast, you're doing it wrong.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by brevity View Post
    It was my (limited) understanding that we're not supposed to know at this point. But then Entertainment Weekly starts promoting next week's issue, which has the Wicked Witch of the West on the cover. Try to avoid it and their website if you don't want to be spoiled.
    Trailer Spoiler:



















    Michelle Williams just uttered the line on a trailer that she was "Glinda of the South" Is there a 4th witch?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasonEvans View Post
    Anyone care enough to want a review beyond this--

    Decent fantasy flick though clearly aimed at a younger audience. Probably good for the 7-12 year old set to see with mom and dad. Some mildly clever twists on the classic Jack and the Beanstalk fable though there wasn't a single moment that was even mildly surprising. It held my attention and the attention of my 13 year old son, though neither of us loved it.

    As an aside, I really like Bill Nighy as an actor and would love to see him actually appear in a film as opposed to voicing all-CGI characters like he did as Davy Jones in Pirates II and II and as he does as the Giant King in this movie.

    -Jason "I actually think it might have been better than The Hobbit, thought part of that may be my overall disappointment at Hobbit's pace" Evans
    My 10 year old and I enjoyed the movie, but I missed the first 2 minutes grabbing snacks. I didn't quite understand the last scene of the movie with the boy taking notes on the royal crown. Without giving anything away, I understand what the royal crown was, but I didn't understand the boy's smurk as he put his pad in his carrying case. Wasn't sure if it had something to do with the first few minutes that I missed.
    Rich
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by cf-62 View Post
    Trailer Spoiler:
























    Michelle Williams just uttered the line on a trailer that she was "Glinda of the South" Is there a 4th witch?
    It's been ages since I read any of the books, but there were four witches. The southern one was deleted from the 1939 movie for time reasons (I assume.)

  17. #17
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    So, no one really wanted to talk about Jack, huh?

    Oz is on its way to a huge, huge opening weekend for a March release. It is going to do $80 million this weekend, which will be the third best March opening ever (behind hunger Games $152 mil and Alice in Wonderland's $116 mil). This despite reviews that have mostly been so-so; love the visuals but not so much love for the story.

    -Jason "I did not get a chance to see Oz yet, anyone want to chime in with their thoughts?" Evans
    I don't know what you are doing right now, but if you aren't listening to the DBR Podcast, you're doing it wrong.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    My 10 year old and I enjoyed the movie, but I missed the first 2 minutes grabbing snacks. I didn't quite understand the last scene of the movie with the boy taking notes on the royal crown. Without giving anything away, I understand what the royal crown was, but I didn't understand the boy's smurk as he put his pad in his carrying case. Wasn't sure if it had something to do with the first few minutes that I missed.
    It had nothing to do with the opening scene. The little boy was intended to look like a descendant of the evil character played by Stanley Tucci (thanks to some clever makeup, the kid looked exactly like Tucci's son probably would). He was taking notes because he had inherited his great, great, great, great grandfather's desire to possess the crown and control the giants. It was a set-up for a sequel, though the movie is not doing enough business to merit a sequel so I suspect it will not matter.

    -Jason "beanstalks and giants in modern London would be fun though!" Evans
    I don't know what you are doing right now, but if you aren't listening to the DBR Podcast, you're doing it wrong.

  19. #19

    Oz

    Oz is getting decent/lukewarm reviews -- 60 percent on the Tomatometer, which is the lower edge of fresh.

    Still haven't seen it ... but from reading reviews, I've pretty much learned all the spoilers with the three witches.

  20. #20
    It was decent. I enjoyed it for the most part. I went in with pretty low expectations due to reading the early reviews and thought it was better than they gave it credit for. It certainly wasn't great or anything. It was a bit campy I guess. I didn't particularly like Mila Kunis or James Franco. I thought Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams were pretty good though. The beginning to middle was a bit meandering if you ask me but I thought the ending tied things up somewhat nicely which saved the movie for me.

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