This weekend was a big one for those many fans of the fantastic novel adaptation The Wizard of Oz, generally considered one of the most classic films of all time. You would think it’d be something that the studios would leave alone. The only advantage to anything touching on the musical masterpiece would be improving its dated effects.

Okay, fair enough. Fantasy is a genre often hugely improved by stunning CGI, such as the original Clash of the Titans, Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings. Very often, remakes are created today as the result of the mental attitude that certain films from our past would be drastically improved through the use of visual effects.

Unfortunately for the studios, none of us are that stupid. Sam Raimi may have moved on, but he didn’t go very far, and Bryan Singer should be thankful he’ll be getting back to the X-Men series he never should have left. The two directors battled their fantastic stories of Oz and Jack’s tick (killing Giants) this weekend, and both were mostly letdowns.

In fact, the only truly incredible thing about them is the many, many hours of hard work those poor people sitting at computers had to contribute. Millions and millions of dollars went to waste with these movies that could have gone to curing something. It’s ridiculous. A story is the foundation of cinema, and its absence is distinct and crippling.

I suspect that there are so many fans of the world of Oz and its wonder, its awe, that people are most intrigued to see what visual effects could add to its magic. The trouble is, that this assumes Oz the Great and Powerful will be everything The Wizard of Oz was PLUS visual effects. This is sadly not so, and I’m quite the Franco fan after 127 Hours.

Meanwhile, fans of Noomi Rapace fuel Dead Man Down, which is unusually casual and…well, normal, for screenwriter J.H. Wyman—scribe of 28 episodes from the hit series Fringe. But the plot also feels rather familiar, and here Colin Farrell’s mug is out of place and unwanted. He doesn’t belong in these movies.

Noomi? I’ll watch her in anything.

Coming up next week is The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, which promises a Jim Carrey return to form. Which everyone who’s a fan of Jim Carrey wants. The film will either crash or burn, but initial reviews are coming in warm! Incredible indeed for Steve Carell, who’s a hit-and-miss actor.

And then there’s The Call, starring Halle Berry, who can’t seem to get a break. Or makes very bad screenplay decisions. This movie is just begging to flop with a plot that dull and trodden. Likewise, Upside Down is unnaturally swiss-cheesed with clichés. I’m truly disappointed. If the sci-fi story about two worlds was meaning to intentionally polarize audiences with the goal of reaching irony, it’s done its job.

Weekend Results

1.) Oz the Great and Powerful (BV): Opening weekend, $80.27 million.

2.) Jack the Giant Slayer (Warner Bros.): Second weekend, with $10 million.

3.) Identity Thief (Universal): Fifth weekend, with $6.3 million.

4.) Dead Man Down (FD): Opening weekend, with $5.35 million.


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