“Oz the Great and Powerful” surged on Saturday and rose to a lofty $80.3 million debut weekend at the North American box office. It was a strong start for Disney’s $200 million, 3D special-effects extravaganza, which also rolled out in 46 foreign markets to $69.9 million, giving it a $150.2 million opening weekend globally, according to IMDB.
The movie raked in millions despite garnering horrible reviews. Top critics gave Oz a 30% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Here is what the top reviewers are saying about Oz:
- Sometimes sweet, sometimes scary, sometimes sour, “Oz the Great and Powerful” is a film that doesn’t know its own mind. A partially effective jumble whose elements clash rather than cohere, this solid but not spectacular effort stubbornly refuses to catch fire until it’s almost too late. (LA Times)
- Unfortunately, unlike in the far better Broadway spin-off Wicked, the female leads remain fairly one-note. As does Franco, who is as prolific as ever. Setting off on the yellow brick road to steal the mysterious Wicked Witch’s wand (and become a better man in the process), the actor lacks the humor, charm, and gee-whiz wonder we’re meant to feel as he trades wisecracks with a flying monkey (Zach Braff, channeling Nathan Lane), rescues a porcelain China Girl (Joey King), and soars above a field of poppies in a giant soap bubble. If he’s not enchanted, how are wesupposed to be? Robert Downey Jr. was originally attached to play Oz, and when you watch the miscast Franco, it’s hard not to fantasize about the unpredictable fizz RDJ would have goosed the film with. (Entertainment Weekly)
- And without wizardly flair, this deliberately retro movie feels a lot more old-fashioned, at least in one respect, than was probably intended. You know how in most children’s fare, boys get to have adventures, and girls just get to get rescued? Well, I hate to think what it says about progress on that front when, unlike the 1939 Wizard of Oz, in which everybody turned to Dorothy to fix things, in Oz the Great and Powerful, three strong women — witches with magical powers, no less — get overcome by this entirely unimpressive guy. Maybe what it says is that chivalry (or perhaps feminism) of the sort that Judy Garland could count on is not only merely dead, it’s really most sincerely dead. (NPR)
- Zach Braff, who plays Frank, Oscar’s underappreciated right-hand man in the Kansas scenes, also voices Finley, Oscar’s loyal monkey sidekick in Oz. Finley’s not Jar-Jar Binks appalling, but he’s pretty annoying, mostly because he seems like he fell out of a “Shrek” movie. (Chicago Sun-Times)
- The Wizard of Oz is a certified classic, a generation-spanning favorite. Mess with it at your peril. And Franco’s Oz vehicle, pimped out in 3D and every computer trick in New Hollywood’s digital playbook, is a mess indeed. There’s no Judy Garland songs, no Scarecrow, no Tin Man, no Cowardly Lion. There’s also no simplicity, no magic, no truth. (Rolling Stone)
- Yet there’s something road show, something very Kansas, about the enterprise. Some blame has to fall on the versatile Franco, who can convincingly inhabit almost any character (catch his drug-lord dude in Spring Breakers, also opening in March) but who lacks the con-man star quality of his sleaze turned superhero. His gummy smile is the rictus of a poseur second class; his musk is of flop sweat. When one hears that Robert Downey Jr. and Johnny Depp were in talks to play the lead role, one imagines the giddy, crafty showmanship Oscar could have embodied. Downey or Depp might have infused Oz the Great and Powerful with the charis-magic that eludes a movie that is not Great and, only toward the end, barely grazes Good. (Time Magazine)
- With its tin ear—and, so to speak, tin eye—for everything people cherish about The Wizard of Oz, this thing is also the worst insult to a beloved classic since Ron Howard’s live-action version of How The Grinch Stole Christmas a dozen years ago. Unlike Tim Burton’s 2010 Alice in Wonderland, its all but explicit template,Oz The Great and Powerful doesn’t even work on its own terms, quite aside from what it’s trashing. But aside from a handful of pop-culture Luddites, nobody complained about either Alice or The Grinch for crapping all over our attachment to the originals,and I doubt many people will get worked up about Oz‘s sins either. More likely, years from now, they’ll be reminiscing about how great Helena Bonham Carter was in it. (GQ)
Why would anyone want to see this movie?