4 August 2012 | SnakesOnAnAfricanPlain
"The Witches of Oz" (2011)
This is a review of the close to 3 hour miniseries and not the considerably shorter theatrical release. The Witches of Oz is written and directed by Leigh Scott, a man who cut his teeth working at The Asylum, and if you're familiar with their work then alarm bells should already be ringing. It sees an older Dorothy realising that the stories she writes of Oz are actually all true, and now the wicked witch is in our world to try and take over. AAAHHHH! This film is both ambitious and terrible for the most part. The first episode deals with painfully unfunny slapstick and cartoon caricatures. The second episode turned into an all out battle and tried to be a lot darker. The film has its ups and downs. The likes of Lloyd and Henriksen give great performances as they usually do, especially Hendrcksen who has a lot of experience in no budget territory. But we also have two Lord Of The Rings alumni trying hard not to die of embarrassment on screen. It's hard to tell with Astin and Boyd whether they are simply giving bad performances on purpose or if Jackson was just a much better director when dealing with actors. No doubt these two looked around the set and couldn't believe what their (I'm guessing by now, former) agents had gotten them into. Still, it's hard not to admire Scott's ambition and vision. He uses practical and computer effects well, and some of the designs are pretty cool, especially the Tin-Man. It obviously has designs on being a big epic fantasy, but it's impossible to take it seriously. I hear the hour shorter director's cut has better effects and is better concerning the pacing. There's certainly enough to make a child friendly kids TV special, maybe at the 70-80 minute mark, but I wouldn't sit through the whole thing again.