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March 8, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

It’s as if many critics want to be the first to pull the curtain hiding the wizard and reveal him as a fake. More than half the major reviewers are suggesting that Oz the Great and Powerful is neither. “This is really a Blunder-full Blizzard of Blahs,” cracks Liam Lacey in the Toronto Globe and Mail. It’s a “letdown that The Wizard of Oz — a film that’s been celebrated for its campy charms for decades — is followed by a film woefully lacking in spirited humor,” he concludes. Rex Reed writes in the New York Observer: “Nothing in it comes close to the magic, the originality or the everlasting entertainment value of the original, which only cost $2.777 million and didn’t use a single computer-generated graphic.” Manohla Dargis in the New York Times damns it as “a dispiriting, infuriating jumble of big money, small ideas and ugly visuals.” And Elizabeth Weitzman in the New York Daily News bemoans the fact that the cast, which include James Franco, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams and Rachel Weisz “is unable to lift this lead balloon of a movie.” She adds: “Worst of all, there’s nothing here that even feels like Oz.” Actually it does, writes Peter Howell in the Toronto Star. “You could easily see this playing as part of a double bill with The Wizard of Oz, even if the effects in Raimi’s film often look cheesier than the ones in its 74-year-old predecessor.” Rafer Guzmán in Newsday argues that it would have been too much to expect the studio to produce another classic like the original Wizard of Oz. “In reality, the best we could hope for is exactly what we got: a reasonably smart, imaginative spin on the 1939 MGM classic.” And, with a hint of resignation, Michael Phillips concludes in the Chicago Tribune: “This is an uneven but agreeably managed blockbuster.” But Mick LaSalle in the San Francisco Chronicle maintains that director Sam Raimi and the writes of Oz the Great and Powerful must have “kept the 1939 classic in mind, thought about what might have happened years before and let their imaginations rip. That’s why the more you like the Judy Garland film, the more you might appreciate Oz the Great and Powerful. Appreciate. Enjoy. Admire. Be glad to see. Have fun with … But as for love – well, love will be harder to come by.”