Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Episode Six-Point-Five: James Franco Edition (127 Hours / Oz the Great and Powerful)

Today, we've got a Blu-Ray that got added to the collection after we were already past its location as well as a new(ish) theater release. But hey, they star the same actor so we can totally lump them in together. Cool? Cool.

127 Hours (2010)

Director: Danny Boyle
Writers: Danny Boyle (screenplay), Simon Beaufoy (screenplay), and Aron Ralston (book)
Stars: James Franco, Amber Tamblyn, Kate Mara

A lot of criticism has been directed at Boyle's hyperactive direction and editing, but I feel that it is fairly effective here. While a slower pace and a more somber atmosphere could have made for a more intense experience throughout, I feel that the higher tempo kept things from dragging (which could have easily happened in a story that focuses primarily on a single man in a single location). The first two thirds of the film still might not engage everyone, but when the story turns to "do or die" desperation in the final act it really shines - taking you from cringing horror to watery-eyed triumph. Franco is great in this and the journey is totally worth the climactic conclusion.

Score: 6 / 10

Director: Sam Raimi
Writers: Mitchell Kapner (screenplay), David Lindsay-Abaire (screenplay), and L. Frank Baum (novel)
Stars: James Franco, Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz, Mila Kunis

Despite the beautiful scenery and fantastic creatures, Oz is a land devoid of much magic or charm. Finley, China Girl and Knuck are charmless, weak substitutes for the original trio of sidekicks. This leaves the success or failure of the film squarely on the shoulders of the Wizard and the Witches - and while Franco is tolerable as Oscar and Williams and Weisz play their weakly-written roles well, Kunis is woefully miscast. Given Raimi's prior films, I was looking forward to his Wicked Witch, but it fell way, way short for a variety of reasons. The film seems stuck somewhere between taking itself seriously and going into full "camp" mode - either of which would have been better than the limbo we ended up with. Major letdown.

Score: 3 / 10

No comments:

Post a Comment