Review: Oz the Great and Powerful | Resident Entertainment
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Review: Oz the Great and Powerful

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The trailers to Oz the Great and Powerful were disappointing. As a fan of The Wizard of Oz, I want to like a prequel to the movie but the trailers just didn’t do it for me. That’s why I’m actually happy to say that Oz the Great and Powerful is much better than the trailers made it look but the movie still has its issues which stops Oz from being all that great.

Plot

Like I said, Oz the Great and Powerful is a prequel to The Wizard of Oz. The movie starts off in Kansas in the early 1900’s where we are introduced to Oscar. He is a magician in a traveling circus who cares more about the money and the women involved than he really is about being a great person (although he does want to be more of a good person). When Oscar flirts with a co-worker’s wife he escapes in a Hot Air Balloon. Unfortunately, he didn’t realize the giant tornado behind him and he is whisked away to the land of Oz where he is believed to be this wizard prophecy who kills the Wicked Witch who has killed the king of Oz. Oscar finds out that if he kills the Wicked Witch then he will become the king of Oz and inherit all the money and power in the land of Oz. He agrees to kill the witch but along the way he learns a thing or two about being a good person.

Story

As for the story itself, it’s great and just what I wanted from a prequel to The Wizard of Oz. There are a bunch of little nods to the original film (including the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion) which made the movie all the more awesome for Oz fans. The main problem I have with Oz though is the ending. No spoilers here but nothing really gets resolved. I understand that there needs to be unresolved issues as The Wizard of Oz comes next and the land of Oz is in trouble at the beginning of that movie, but closing off a couple of the character’s stories (especially the ones that aren’t in The Wizard of Oz) would’ve been preferable and would’ve given this movie more of a conclusion. I do feel that they did the best they could so I can’t knock them too much for that. I still liked the story though and found the movie pretty entertaining because of it.

Characters and Performances

This movie works almost entirely because of the Oscar character. It’s very rare that a selfish conman is the one who we are rooting for in these types of family movies. There is really nothing to like about Oscar but he grows on you when he starts to become a better person and you end up really caring for the guy. That was really surprising as it’s very rare that I end up liking a character of this type even when he’s still being his old selfish self. Props to this movie and James Franco for successfully pulling that off.

There are three witches in this movie with only Michelle William’s Glinda being the real standout. Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz did good but those characters came off kind of weak during scenes when they really shouldn’t be (because of both the writing and the performances). The reason why Glinda stands out is because I felt not only because Michelle Williams seemed to care and take the role a little more seriously than the other two, but the character itself was exactly what she needed to be. She’s kind, sweet, and a really likable character, something that Glinda needed to be.

The two sidekicks in this movie were both great but never reached their full potentials. The monkey actually made me laugh quite a few times but more of those laughs would’ve drastically improved the movie and provided a good comic relief. The little china doll was adorable but if her character had more of a payoff at the end of the movie then that would’ve been great. Every other character never reached their potentials either with some of them actually coming off as annoying instead of likable.

 

Visual Effects

One of the best parts of Oz is the visual effects. The trailers didn’t make the visual effects standout but they really do in this movie. The environments are breathtaking at times and they rival some of the best I’ve seen in the past few years. You really get a feel for the land of Oz and the movie felt more atmospheric because of it. The CGI characters like the monkey (which was actually motion capture), the china doll, and the flying monkeys all looked great and made it feel that the actors were really working with them in their scenes.

Overall

Oz the Great and Powerful proved to be a very good movie. I had issues with some of the characters and the ending but for the most part I really enjoyed Oz. Oscar was a great character, the visual effects were awesome, and the nods to the original film were greatly appreciated. Some of the characters were weak and never made it to their full potential and I wish the movie was a little more climactic but I still really enjoyed Oz and if you’re looking for a fun family movie then go see Jack the Giant Slayer. But if you’ve already seen that then Oz is a good pick

8 out of 10

For reviews and more from Petey Oneto, you can check out his blog or check back with Resident Entertainment for more of his posts in the future.

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0 Comments

  1. Rachel Townsand

    March 26, 2013 at 11:10 am

    i’m seeing it this week with my friends

  2. Jennymy90

    March 25, 2013 at 8:32 am

    but in the original one weren’t the monkey’s part of the wicked witch weren’t they bad? what’s the monkey doing with james franco lol?

    • Petey Oneto

      March 26, 2013 at 3:00 am

      Monkeys can be good too!

      • Jennymy90

        March 26, 2013 at 3:28 am

        that’s what I thought when i watched james franco in planet of the apes, then look what happened to that pet haha

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Crawl Review

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Crawl Review

Crawl is a film which comes directed by Alexendre Aja who some may know as the director of The Hills Have Eyes (2006). The film stars Kaya Scodelario and Barry Pepper.

Crawl is a film about a young woman named Haley (Kaya Scodelario) who attempts to save her father (Barry Pepper) who is trapped in his house during a category 5 hurricane. Tremendous damage has occurred to the home and the surrounding area during the storm, with the streets slowly flooding But that’s not the only danger to be wary of, the flood waters have paved the way for dozens of alligators to come into town and they’re ready to feast on anyone still around. Will poor Haley and her father survive though?

Going into this film. I was actually quite excited. I do enjoy these action films where there’s some creature out there and it’s preying on whatever character the film is about. This film is a little similar to The Meg, but it most reminded me of Anacondas (2004). All of these films and Crawl included wouldn’t be ones I’d say were legendary films, but gosh, I definitely have fun watching them!

Crawl as a story is about survival. There are themes all throughout it related to man vs nature and also the idea of the apex predator is scattered all throughout it. Both characters in the film are constantly challenged and struggle to survive in the a town getting torn apart by the storm.

The main reason most people would go to see Crawl at the cinema would be for the action and that’s the same reason I wanted to go along and see this one. I wanted to see what the alligators could do and I wanted to see some people get eaten up. Did I get that? I certainly did! Did I need much more out of this? Probably not.

As for Crawl being scary. I’m not too sure, I find it all quite fun. But there are people who this would probably frighten a little. Much of the film is cgi and for what it is and for the type of movie this is I think it was just the right quality. They didn’t try to go too big like in The Meg where the cgi seemed to struggle in certain areas. Although the limitations of the cgi are visible in Crawl, it’s not too bad in the end.

The acting in Crawl isn’t too bad. Kaya Scodelario is who you’ll be watching for basically the entire film and she delivers a pleasant performance. Some may recognise this actress from her appearance in The Maze Runner (2014) where she played Teresa. Hopefully there is more to come from her in future films.

The tone of the film, while at times can be a little intense with all the danger out there did actually feel a little light. Alexandre Aja seemed to keep the tone not too serious and embraced the silliness of it all in certain areas to keep it light and fun. But it was also tense and scary when it needed to be.

Overall I had a good time with Crawl at the cinema last week. This isn’t a film that is going to blow anyone away with how good it is, but it’s something to see for a bit of fun over the weekend. You get to watch two characters try to survive a massive hurricane and not get eaten by alligators. Crawl was 1 hour and 27 minutes of fun!

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Sea Of Solitude Review

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Sea Of Solitude Review

Sea Of Solitude is a game which was developed by Jo-Mei Games and was published by Electronic Arts. It is available on PS4, Xbox One and PC via Origin. It is a single player third person adventure game. The game has the player control a character named Kay who explores an abandoned and flooded city.

This was a game which caught my eye only very recently when I first heard about its release. After watching the trailer, I thought the art style, strong colours and animations looked very interesting. Also as a person who went mad one day and subscribed to EA’s Origin Premiere late last year so that I could play some games I had missed out on over the years, I was pleased to see something new added to the store that wasn’t a typical Electronic Arts style major franchise game. Knowing I could get this one for free was enough to give it a go. But if you’re not part of that program to get it for free, I’d say that the $26.95 asking price for this digital title is certainly worth it.

The game isn’t too long, most hardened gamers will probably be able to finish this one in a single session, which I actually managed to do yesterday morning. I didn’t time myself, but I’d say to expect about 3 or so hours out of it, a bit more if you look around for collectables.

Sea Of Solitude Review

Sea Of Solitude Review

On the surface, Sea Of Solitude is about a young girl named Kay, who is searching through a city, which is for some reason flooded. You start the game all alone on a tiny boat, way out at sea on the water. You make your way to the city, where you find a monster clad in darkness is blocking your path. Through exploration and activating certain things, Kay brings light to an otherwise dark city.

Underneath the main plot though, is a game with strong messages and themes related to loneliness and relationships. Kay as a character is someone who has become lonely, isolated and quite depressed after issues with her family and her boyfriend. The game sends the player on a journey to free Kay and other characters from suffering from the effects of loneliness and related themes. What I didn’t expect this weekend, was to play a game which seemed to have the objective of tackling these mental health issues in this way and I never expected to play something this weekend from the gaming genre with such deep meaning to it.

In many ways, Sea Of Solitude reminded me of my experience with Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice which was also a game that focused on mental health issues and is still a game I hold in very high regard. Both of these games were experiences that I could not put down once I started playing as I just had to find out what was going to happen with my character. Games tackling these mental health themes and the issues involved are quite rare in this medium, so when an experience like this does come along, it’s very unique and interesting. The difference between Sea Of Solitude and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is that Sea of Solitude is a little lighter in tone and not the intense gruelling experience that Senua’s was. This makes a player’s time with Sea Of Solitude one that is peaceful to experience.

Sea Of Solitude Review

Sea Of Solitude Review

The art style in Sea Of Solitude is something I enjoyed looking at. The animations are very rounded, colours stand out on the screen and the use of blacks in contrast with visibly bright blues, whites and orange was what I loved the most. The music and also the voice acting, was soft and did fit in well with the tone of the game’s themes and art style. All together, visuals and audios seemed to be just right.

The gameplay in Sea Of Solitude is something I’d say is probably a little simple. It’s essentially a platforming game where you will jump, swim, drive a boat and shoot flares onto enemies. There aren’t any button combinations to learn or any level up systems. The game is accessible to people of most ages and even to people new to gaming could easily pick this one up and get through it.

Overall coming out of playing Sea Of Solitude, I was filled with positivity and happiness. The story is quite heavy when playing through it, but very warm in the end. The art style and animations are nice to see and the sound and voice acting was just right. I do like to see that the games industry can use the medium to tackle such heavy topics and release games like this which show how well this medium can tell a story and provide its audience with something of great meaning. I’m happy to recommend Sea Of Solitude for your gaming collection.

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Stuber Review

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Stuber Review

Stuber is a film which comes directed by Michael Dowse and stars Dave Bautista, Kumail Nanjiani and Betty Gilpin. The film is an action comedy adventure about an Uber driver and a policeman who go on a wild ride together.

Going in to see Stuber I didn’t really know where to set my expectations. Knowing only that the film was a comedy, meant I went in for the lols and didn’t expect all that much from the story. But coming out of the film, I’m sorry to say, but it’s not really that great.

The film starts off okay and the opening scene features both Vic (Dave Bautista) and Sara (Karen Gillan) engaged in a dangerous shootout with some bad guys. Both are seriously injured and Vic loses his eyesight, which means he gets some urgent surgery. His eyes need time go recover, but as soon he’s able to walk he calls for an Uber and continues on with his police business, which is catching the bad guys who got away in the opening scene. This is where Stu (Kumail Nanjiani) comes in and the journey between this awkward duo begins.

I wish I could say that it was all good once the Uber ride began but it wasn’t. The film is only really mildly funny. Dave Bautista who I do really like in action films really isn’t great at comedy. Kumail Nanjiani basically was just screaming and yelling the whole time and talking about his Uber rating and reviews. I admit I did find some of the bad reviews he got from his previous customers in the film funny when they were shown, but that’s about it. Some of the jokes were also drawn out way too long. Dave Bautista’s character being blind was kind of funny in the first minute when you saw him trying to walk around without being able to see. But it’s only funny once and they did this joke over and over again almost all the way until the end!

In addition to this, for quite a bit of the film, I wondered if this was some sort of product placement or advertisement for Uber. There were so many mentions of Uber, Uber reviews and the difference between Uber products and services. What are we paying to watch here? Who cares about Uber!?

In the end I would suggest avoiding Stuber at the cinema this week and choosing literally any other film currently showing. After leaving this I instantly thought that Stuber needs to be on my list of worst movies of 2019 which I created just after seeing this and that says a lot because I was not compelled to make one after seeing X:Men Dark Phoenix.

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