‘Oz the Great and Powerful’: 3 out of 5 stars

There are two things we can learn from director Sam Raimi’s latest film “Oz the Great and Powerful.”

First, James Franco should probably never play a wizard ever again, and second, humor should always be worked into the plot subtly and not forcefully.

“Oz the Great and Powerful," the much-hyped prequel to “The Wizard of Oz,” follows Oscar Diggs (Franco), an everyday circus magician and con man. Swept away from Kansas in a massive tornado, Oz finds himself in a land of flying monkeys, witches and bad CGI. Befriending Theodora the good witch (Mila Kunis), Finley the monkey (an apparently still-relevant Zach Braff) and a tiny china doll, Oz makes his way along the yellow brick road to the Emerald City. Along the way, Oz must prove himself worthy of the kingship bestowed upon him by defeating the evil witch.

In principle, this movie made a lot of sense to make. However, as the prequel to one of the most successful movies of all time, it seemed to have had more potential than it knew what to do with. Franco is a terrific actor in his own right but failed miserably at being any sort of convincing Wizard of Oz. The humor seemed extremely forced as if Raimi tried too hard at keeping it light for children. The writing, while at times creative, was also corny and full of predictability.

Honestly, it was a decent movie, but it was nothing special, either. Don’t feel obliged to see it just because it relates to “The Wizard of Oz.”

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