‘Oz’ is detailed, but lacks fulfillment

Grade: C

“Oz the Great and Powerful,” Sam Raimi’s spiritual prequel to “The Wizard of Oz” (1939), is excellent eye candy.

The environments are detailed, the colors are over-saturated and pop off the screen and fantastical creatures and plant-life make this Land of Oz appealing to the eyes. This splendor is good and bad for Oz; the lush digital landscapes, though beautiful, tend to outshine the action happening within the scene.

The plot involves Oscar Diggs (James Franco), or Oz for short, a magician with questionable ethics who stumbles into Oz during a tornado and is mistaken for a wizard of prophecy.

Franco plays Oz as smarmy as he can, seducing women with one-liners and endlessly pursuing profit, not giving second thought to the lies he spins to get it. If lying about being a wizard is all it takes to gain unprecedented riches, you don’t have to tell Oz twice.

It’s refreshing to see a male protagonist in a fantasy film with shaky morals; the film isn’t shy about how selfish and materialistic its protagonist is.

Mila Kunis plays Theodora, a witch seduced by Oz, and the character’s turn reveals Kunis’ limited range; like all the human characters in this CGI wonderland, she feels unnatural.

Rachel Weisz plays her sister Evanora, as an evil witch. Glinda is played by the always-wonderful Michelle Williams, though the flat and uninteresting nature of the character limits her abilities.

Surprisingly, Zach Braff shines the brightest as a flying monkey with wit and charm, and his jokes land most laughs, next to Franco’s constant shrimp-eating grins.

The actors could be acting their pants off, but the way the actors blindly gaze at the lush environments around them, there’s no way it couldn’t feel unnatural.

The plot really picks up steam in an exciting final act that isn’t just a typical boring action set piece. The actors and the action are as shallow as the environments are luscious.

“Oz the Great and Powerful” is entertaining and colorful to be worth the price of admission, but viewers looking for a more fulfilling experience might want to look elsewhere.