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Ever since the nose dive that was WorthAWatch.net I haven't written a review of any film because if you're good at something, don't do it for free right? Well fuck it, this movie is just that frustrating.
I'll say this right now, the biggest reason why this movie sucks is because all the characters are fucking idiots. Wanna know why? I'll tell you.
When Oscar is initially brought into the world of Oz he's met by the then kindly Witch of the West Theodora and he's brought to the Emerald city under the pretense that he is, in fact, a wizard capable of destroying a witch because being an entity of magic herself, Theodora assumes that whenever Oscar whips up a couple parlor tricks that he must be a genuine wizard, which isn't particularly dumb considering how fake magic is virtually unheard of in Oz for obvious reasons but by God it felt so contrived because it took very little to convince Theodora that he was a wizard. She then tells him that he's needed to defeat the Wicked Witch who had slain her own father King Pastoria and as an award he would become the new ruler of Oz. This is, in fact, not what happened in the original book series at all; Oscar arrived in the kingdom without a ruler and became ruler because his initials spelled out "Oz" so everyone in the Emerald City adopted him as ruler by sheer coincidence; he didn't earn the throne by killing off Mombi, in fact, in the second book Lyman Frank Baum described Oz as usurping the throne himself by handing Ozma and her family over to Mombi.
Alas, since this continuity is fucked up the ass, just because the guy's first name rhymes with the word "Oz" and he whipped out a bouquet of prop flowers doesn't make him the fucking chosen one. You could argue that she and her sister were watching him from a crystal ball and spent lots of time watching other people with crystal balls to search out the chosen one but why would Oscar's ability pull shit from his sleeves matter? You'd think it'd be his ability to magically come from fucking nowhere that would matter which you could argue is the entire reason why Theodora was even there but that's never depicted as being the reason why; it's implied that they just happened to be at the same place simultaneously so that's what I'm going with.
Along their way to the Emerald City they meet a flying monkey named Finley trapped underneath the tendrils of the tentacle hentai tree from the first Evil Dead movie and Oscar's put to the challenge to save him which considering the fact that he has a home brewed Swiss army knife isn't too hard. Turns out that Finley wasn't panicking over the vines at all but rather a lion that was just... staring at him for no apparent reason. It's not like Finley had just been captured by the vines in front of Oscar and Theodora and Oscar ran immediately to his rescue, Finley had obviously been there a while and Oscar was more than just reluctant to save Finley, that is to say he nervously crept up to save Finley from the vines.
I would assume that the lion left Finley where he laid for the sake of drawing the attention of bigger prey but what exactly there is to attract I have no idea, the movie is virtually devoid of any kind of atmosphere so we get little to no idea what kind of world Oz even is just through observation so it's not like we get an idea of what other creatures exist here other than water fairies. Maybe he was waiting for a tiger or bear to come along but that'd be just stupid.
In any case, Finley is freed and Oscar manages to scare off the lion with a magic trick. Finley then pledges his life to serving Oscar which of course warrants treating the little creature like total shit right? Of course it does. Not only that but Oscar, for reasons I can't conceive, confesses to Finley that he's not a real wizard. Why would you tell him that? I dunno, seems pretty stupid to me but I digress.
They arrive at the Emerald city and meet Evanora the Wicked Witch of the East whom of which reiterates that if Oscar kills Glinda the Witch of the South he'll be made king of the Emerald City which is where the movie officially becomes motherfucking stupid. Well, at least Oscar does.
Let me ask you, you've just been offered an opportunity to become ruler of a massive kingdom filled with gold and treasure under the condition that you slay this witch who's been built up as so insurmountable that even two other witches can't just stroll up to her and kill her themselves. What questions do you ask? You'd ask logical questions like, "Who the fuck is this bitch and what's her name?", "Why'd she kill her father and betray the kingdom?", "How powerful is she on her own?", "What kind of powers does she have?", "Does she have an army and how big is it?", "How big is your army?", "Why can't you two slay her?", "Where is she located?", "Does she have a base and if so do you know how it was built and what about its structure can we exploit?", "How many of your men can I take with me on this witch hunt?", "What kind of weapons does your armory have?", "Do you have any books on witch craft that I haven't read yet?", "Do you have any maps I can read so I can plot a route and battle strategy?", "How did you become witches?", "How capable are the men in your army and how many can I take with me on my witch hunt?", "What are the weaknesses of the Wicked Witch's flying baboon army?", you know, general shit like that.
By now you've probably guessed that Oscar didn't ask a single one of the questions I listed above but instead left the Emerald City to go on the witch hunt without telling or even bringing Theodora along with him but instead brings along the half useless flying monkey with no idea of who he's looking for, where she is, what Glinda's army is like, what kind of powers she has or even how to defeat her. Fucking genius, this guy.
Also, no, he's not running away in fear of the sudden responsibility he's been burdened with, he left with the expressed intent of killing the Wicked Witch so yes, he is very, very stupid. Albeit you could argue that he believes in the prophecy so much in fact that he doesn't believe he needs any kind of forethought or planning to do this with but if that were the case, why would he claim that he wasn't the wizard to the flying fucking monkey? Because he doesn't believe; there, argument concluded. Oscar is just fucking retarded and don't tell me that he knows where Glinda is because everything is bridged up to the Yellow Brick road because he was never told that on screen, for all we as the audience know he's just following that path out of assumption. I don't know about you but if I was a wanted fugitive I wouldn't bridge my home base up to the one and only fucking road anyone traverses.
Along the way they meet another worse-than-useless companion, the China Girl, an animate and sentient porcelain doll who had just had her village ransacked and the majority of it's inhabitants killed by the baboon army because... chicken I guess. No, the real reason why was because they were celebrating the arrival of the foretold wizard of legend. I've got a question, who wasn't celebrating? Was everyone outside the Emerald City attacked and why would they attack such a defenseless and devoid of resource society? It's not like they could arm themselves to assist the supposed wizard in an attack, they're made of fucking porcelain and reach up to be one foot tall; they're worthless combatants. You could argue that they could infiltrate the Emerald City, because there's absolutely no fucking ambiguity of who the real villain is, through sewer systems or some shit to lay down a bunch of bombs or traps but I'd argue that one of the witches would or at least should be monitoring the Emerald City with the crystal ball at all times and that's if the porcelain dolls are even employed for such a purpose. That's not to say they could be anyway, in the original books it was noted that they can't leave their town without becoming permanently inanimate so yeah, for all intents and purposes, they're totally worthless combatants. At least they should be.
Naturally the Porcelain doll wants revenge against the wicked witch and forces Oscar to let her join his party despite the fact that she had her entire village slaughtered by mere baboons and would more likely act as a hindrance to the group rather than serve as an advantage. In fact, her fragility causes them to pay special attention to her to make sure she doesn't break and die or lose one of her limbs. Fuck this character.
They enter the dark forest through the alternate route of the yellow brick road to find themselves surrounded by man-eating plants. You know, if I were Oscar and I were stupid enough to have done all the shit he has, that is ask nothing about how many soldiers he can bring with him, leaving behind one of the four powerful witches who just so happens to be a love interest and a far superior combatant to the flying fucking monkey, I would at least bring some weapons or prep some bombs before going to the dark forest.
Think about it, you're after a witch whose name you don't know, her location you're completely oblivious to and the most you do know is that she's somewhere in the half dead forest. Just set it on fucking fire, if nothing else you could at least smoke the witch out of the forest and it's not like anyone is gonna care about dead trees and carnivorous plants. If it were me I'd be half expecting the forest to be full of traps built with the intended purpose of killing me so why the fuck not? In fact, you might even breath new life into the forest by doing exactly that, it's called swailing, it's used to enrich soil and destroy ecologically harmful bugs and it's been around since the Neolithic Revolution. It's not like wild life lives in there and if you're really concerned about it, ask one of your companions if there is any before burning up the forest. This movie is so dumb.
They barely bypass the man-eating plants before arriving at a grave yard where they find a woman carrying a wand dressed in black robes. Naturally they think that she is the Wicked Witch they've all heard about and formulate a plan to distract her while Oscar steals her wand after she placed it down on a wrecked wagon. I'm genuinely shocked, I'm surprised Oscar didn't just run up to her and attempt to kick her in the balls, mainly because I would expect Oscar to be dumb enough to believe that men and women share the same genitalia.
The plan succeeds, albeit in a very contrived fashion; what they do is they split up so that Finley can cause a distraction by mooing like a cow on a cliff visible from Glinda's position while Oscar grabs the wand while Glinda has her back turned to him. Naturally if you saw a flying monkey, the leading combatant to your enemy's army, you would rush to grab your wand and prepare for a fight to ensue and to those of you about to suggest that she knows that the monkey isn't part of the army because she knew that Oscar wasn't a real wizard despite not prying any information about wizardry from him, fuck you; Glinda infers that he isn't a real wizard from the fact that when they do get ambushed by flying baboons, he couldn't do a thing about it and resorted to running away, she doesn't read minds or auras or any of that other bullshit that would've made the plot even more contrived than it already is.
Just before they break her wand, Glinda discovers them and tells them that she isn't the wicked witch of legend but that Evanora is and they believe her instantly... mostly just because... chicken. My hypothesis is that they believe her on the grounds that she looks pretty and doesn't have any of the stereotypical facial properties that you'd expect an evil witch to have. Yeah, uh, guys, if I were an evil spell casting asshole suspected of being evil, I'd shape up my appearance too for more than obvious reasons. Goddamn this movie is so dumb.
Meanwhile back at the Emerald City, Evanora convinces Theodora that Oscar is trying to court all three of them by using her magic to whip up an exact replica of the music box that Oscar had given Theodora tricking her into believing that Oscar is a manipulative piece of shit. I won't question how she even knows about the music box because the all-seeing crystal ball is in the same room and I have common sense but I must ask, how is it that Theodora didn't see Evanora do it right in front of her? She turns her back, pours red sand into her hand and then pulls the music box out of nowhere, how did Theodora not pick up on that instantly?
In any case, Evanora whips up a magical green sour apple and tells Theodora that it'll obliterate the feeling of betrayal she feels. Like the overly trusting dumbass that she is, Theodora swipes it from her hand and takes a bite out of it. It doesn't take long for her to realize that she just put pure evil in her mouth, that her sister is the real assassin responsible for the king's demise and she's been manipulated the whole time. The apple's effects not only turn Theodora green but also sociopathic which, of course, means that after her revelation she still believes what Evanora had to tell her about Oscar being the manipulative one. Considering how she became sociopathic you'd figure she'd see through all of the bullshit and annihilate her sister on the spot for manipulating her, changing her brain chemistry and fucking with her physical appearance. If anything this should make her side with Oscar even more than before.
This is of course followed by the gang being assaulted by the Emerald City's infantry and flying baboons. Oscar flails around for a bit trying to come up with some bullshit, reactionary magic trick like before saying "Fuck it." and the party runs away up to a cliff where they all jump off and are carried away in bubbles. You'd think the flying baboons would've continued their pursuit but apparently not as they disappear completely into the background and no, the bubbles are not "just faster" than the baboons, Oscar was reluctant to jump off for a long enough time that by the time he did eventually jump off and reascended in the bubble the baboons should have been right on top of him. I give this movie one middle finger up.
They make their way to Munchkin land where Oscar is introduced to the villagers who were enlisted to fight the war against Evanora but all took an oath to never commit murder. Worst military ever. It's also here that Glinda makes of note of saying that she knows that Oscar is a fraud but that she still believes he could save the fucking world without powers. Um, here's an idea; teach him some fucking magic. Matter of fact, why can't she teach the Munchkins magic? It can't be because spell casters are just born with it, they all have trinkets that their magical abilities are completely dependent on, it's how Glinda managed to usurp the throne from Evanora at the end of the movie. In fact she actually taught Oscar how to use magic after Ozma regained the throne to Oz in the fourth book, so there's no real reason why she wouldn't teach at least a few of the residents how to cast some magic.
Since they're saying fuck all to the actual continuity of the books, why isn't Locasta the Good Witch of the North here? Don't tell me it's because Mombi is currently the Witch of the North, she's not even mentioned in the movie and it would have been interesting to see them interact, it would have at least been logical to do since despite only being the fourth strongest witch there is, Locasta would have been greatly beneficial to the war effort.
Since continuity is getting all different kinds of fucked anyway, they prepare for war when Oscar is reminded of his hero Thomas Edison and gets the idea to use Edison's inventions to fight the war rather than weapons. It's an intriguing idea but I can't say it's a viable one or one that should even work given the circumstances. For example, you know how the Emerald City is surround by poppies? Well, obviously they were planted intentionally by the Ozites to create a bottleneck so no one can infiltrate the city in any way other than through the front gate. "Why's that" you may ask? Because in the context of the Oz books, being in the presence of a poppy will make you fall asleep, so neither an infantry or cavalry can traverse through the poppy fields.
Now here's another stupid part of the movie, when Oscar puts his moronic plan into action he actually does something semi-intelligent by rigging up a bunch of scarecrows to be wheeled out into the field while Glinda fills the field with smoke to make the scarecrows look like an infantry. Here's why I called his plan semi-intelligent; Oscar knows that the poppy field is pathogenic thanks to Glinda and wants to use it his advantage by drawing out the Emerald City's infantry into the poppy field. Here's the problem; Theodora and Evanora lived there their entire lives as daughters to King Pastoria, they should know it's not possible for a person to traverse those grounds without passing out, therefore something must be fishy about these soldiers and it would be unwise to send out the flying baboons to challenge them to a fight. Of course since this movie was written by an eight year old in the body of a forty three year old, they don't wise up until after they send in their most dynamic combatants to attack nothing and pass out. If anything Theodora should've bombed the field with her fireballs seeing as how she is a pyrokinetic after all but we can't have that because that's a smart thing to do and we very well can't have that now can we?
Here's yet another stupid part of the movie, while the Quadlings carried out the fake infantry coup, a carriage being maned by a group of Munchkins sitting on top of one another while wearing a fake Winkie uniform and Knuck the city herald who defected toward Glinda's side manage to successfully infiltrate the Emerald City just because. The fake Winkie uniform doesn't even look like a real uniform, it's just a blue trench coat and they're admitted in strictly because Knuck beat the shit out of the gate keeper whom of which should have noticed how off looking the supposed Winkie manning the carriage was, especially considering how he had both a smaller head and smaller arms than the average Winkie. Never mind the potential threat of a traitor letting in opposing soldiers, I'm tired of being hit Goddamn it! Did I mention that this movie was all different kinds of dumb?
Glinda gets captured by two flying baboons and all the while the Quadlings stand by and watch, one of which was so close that he could have leaped up and dragged Glinda and the baboons down to the ground but no one even attempts to help her. This is why you don't want idiot pacifists fighting your war, they won't look out for you and let you get killed all to sustain their oath to never kill. Of course like the cowards they are the Quadlings run in terror while the China Girl stays behind to retrieve the wand Glinda dropped. The one foot tall porcelain doll was more brave than a bunch of grown human men. This war is pathetic.
Oscar ditches his men to go and initiate another coup where he had one of the Tinkers, men from another faction of Oz, build a new hot air balloon for him so he could dump gold into the basket and send it out to make it look like he's leaving so that when he supposedly gets shot down by Theodora he'll reappear as a disembodied spirit who possess a legitimate amount of power. This plan hinges on so many assumptions that it isn't even worth trying.
Assumption #1: the assumption that Theodora would even see him do it to start off with.
Assumption #2: the assumption that Theodora would actually see Oscar tossing the gold in with the feigned intention of leaving Oz to fight its own war but not stick around long enough to watch Oscar send the hot air balloon out on its own and walk away from it.
Assumption #3: the assumption that Theodora would bother shooting down the hot air balloon, letting it go with everyone leaping to the assumption that Oscar was on board would have killed the morale of the opposing army and almost did.
However, since the plot demands it, the plan goes off without a hitch because fuck you and fuck logic! This is my movie and if I say logic is for losers then that means it's true!
Where was I? Oh right, the plot. While Oscar was setting up his half baked trick the witches wet up Glinda to be executed in the court yard where the inhabitants of the Emerald City will watch in horror and rebel in the fact that they somehow came to find out about Evanora assassinating King Pastoria and not Glinda... or are they the Quadlings? They look like the Quadlings and if so it would make better sense for them to know that but if so then how did they get through the front gate and why are they being treated as residences by the Winkies and not getting slaughtered?
Whatever, after the balloon gets shot down the group set up a projector, a fog machine and a fireworks display right in the middle of the court yard . Oh this movie kills me. It wants to kill me at least.
So Oscar throws his big fat head onto the hologram projection he concocted and starts making endless amounts of empty threats to both witches, Evanora flees to escape inside the palace leaving Theodora behind to confront Oscar.
I have no idea how but the China Girl made her way into the the Emerald City, released Glinda from her handcuffs and gave her back her wand allowing her to confront Evanora inside the palace. As you already know by now, Glinda wins by ripping the magical pendant from Evanora's neck and somehow crushes it. This is followed by Evanora fleeing the Emerald City via flying bamboos. Yay?
Outside Theodora gives up on attacking Oscar and flees for... some reason. In all honesty, if I were her and I couldn't damage Oscar in any way and I was too rock stupid to suspect the carriage directly to the left of the fog machine might somehow be responsible for that, I'd just resort to attacking the civilians and demanding Oscar to leave on the grounds that if he doesn't, innocent bystanders are gonna die. It'd probably work and honestly, there were too great a myriad of things that could have gone wrong, that should have gone wrong but because it's convenient for the plot, nothing went wrong at all except for maybe Glinda's capture which turned out to actually be a good thing.
Everybody lives happily ever after, the fucking end. I give this movie two middle fingers up.
In all honesty, the core problem with this movie is that it's attempting to revolve around the status quo of the 1939 Wizard of Oz film, only instead of adapting the events that took place prior to Dorothy's arrival to Munchkin land by showcasing the war between Mombi, Theodora, Evanora and the Ozites, Locasta usurping the title of Witch of the North from Mombi, Mombi raising Ozma, it had to revolve strictly around Oscar as the protagonist because the film's title is "Oz the Great and Powerful" even though Oz isn't his name and could easily reference any given ruler of Oz, it's just the name people commonly associate him by so of course it has to be fucking Oscar.
That's not to say his story can't be interesting, it's just that doing it the right way wouldn't be as engaging to the general public because you'd have to be introducing the concept of a character study where a person lands the sudden role of leader by happenstance in a kingdom he's unfamiliar with but fuck that, that's boring, we need constant action to hold our interest because Hollywood thinks everyone outside their circle is dumb enough to let stupid shit slide because it accommodates the lowest common denominator in the process.
This piece of shit ranks up there with Tim Burton's take on Alice in Wonderland in terms of being a bad, bad, supremely bad reinterpretation of the original series of books. Save your money.