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Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)
You don't need a balloon to come back to Oz
I am extremely happy that the Oz saga still lives from the L. Frank Baum books to now. Oz never ends to be appreciated and beloved by a wide audience. In this film, I think that Disney used a lot of nice elements.
I would first like to mention the things that Disney kept, such as the sepia in Kansas and color in Oz. Glinda travels by bubble and the Munchkins still break out into song. When I saw these in the movie, I felt nostalgic. I could look back and say, " I remember when I saw these as a kid."
The characterization was not top-notch, but it could have been a lot worse. The witches already have a story, it's the wizard's you don't know about. I am glad that the focus was mainly on the wizard and not so much on the witches' issues. The witches are already dealt with in the book and musical Wicked. In my opinion, the character development in Wicked is better than Oz: The Great and Powerful, but maybe that's just because the characters in Wicked meant a lot more to me.
The casting didn't bother me. James Franco looks like the Wizard even without the top hat. His facial expressions bring out the "wizard" in him. I was also relieved to have strong female actresses that didn't play wimpy and helpless witches who don't know what to do with their kingdom, especially with Glinda. In fact, I liked Glinda because she was just a plain cool person in every way throughout the film. There's no doubt: she's always good.
The costumes and visual effects are amazing too. It is worth the extra bucks seeing it in 3-D. Some of the witches' dresses and hats blew me away as well.
No Oz story is perfect, though. The wizard could have learned his lesson a little earlier. The movie is two hours, so I didn't want to wait one hour and fifty minutes for the wizard to finally get it. I would have rated the movie 9 or 10 stars if that had been touched on.
I recommend this to all Oz fans because it is not only a good, but a GREAT movie.
Citizen Kane (1941)
A great movie from finish to start to finish!
Although Citizen Kane was intended to make fun of William Randolph Hearst and his lavish ways of living, the movie nevertheless shines. It has every element a classic film has: romance, mystery, adventure, and even a little bit of thriller/horror.
Unlike many movies, I could feel the same emotions as the character. Because the acting is so well done (with maybe a few cheesy sections), Citizen Kane is very convincing.
I admire how you can never see the faces of some of the characters. That was done on purpose to convey that these characters were not very important.
The dialogue is very succinct and unique. No other movie could have such clever screenplay. Of course, "rosebud" is the most famous line out of the movie, but the way the characters respond to each other is irreplaceable.
The flashback is very gradual so that it is not confusing. I am very fortunate that I don't have to waste energy trying to follow along.
I find it interesting how Orson Welles tried some new filming techniques. He used camera angles to show dominance, deliberately put actors in danger, and made sets very detailed and elaborate. In fact, he was one of the few directors at the time to have a ceiling.
Although the first time I saw Citizen Kane was in a high school videography class, I still felt like I was in a theater, enjoying the classics that some people never notice.
Race the Sun (1996)
Boring plot, bad characters
Interesting idea for a movie: An out-of-this world science fair project being put to the test. However, there are too many events in the movie. There always has to be some kind of issue or dilemma every five-ten minutes, making the movie very tiring to watch. Solar cars are cool, but a full-length feature film about making one doesn't strike me as interesting. The main character cannot work with the rest of the team (annoying) and there is too much DRAMA. I have no doubt that other movies have been made about THE ULTIMATE COMPETITION or WHO IS GOING TO WIN THE TROPHY. Too many movies have used this kind of plot and there is nothing new. There are no interesting scientific facts either about electric cars that make the movie unique.
The ending is predictable and the acting could use some work too.