Film Score Friday: Oz the Great and Powerful

It is now past Labor Day, and I feel good about moving on toward more autumn-like activities: bonfires, wearing sweater-weather sweaters, and Halloween! Autumn is my favorite season. And the movies I watch with my girls have a different feel. So, I’m easing into things by watching Oz the Great and Powerful!

Director: Sam Raimi
Music: Danny Elfman

If you know Danny Elfman’s music, you know what to expect. If you know Sam Raimi’s films, you know what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised with this combination. I am used to hearing Danny Elfman’s compositions in Tim Burton’s movies. However, while this score is very “typical” Danny Elfman, I couldn’t quite imagine any of it in a Tim Burton film! This Raimi/Elfman pairing is one of many, and it reminds me of their collaborations Spider-Man (2002) and Spider-Man 2 (2004).

The score in its entirety is full of wonder and adventure. It has moments of sadness and heartbreak, and you can feel it. It is all very dream-like with a touch of vintage, just as the story of the Land of Oz should be! My favorite piece is “Fireside Dance”

“Fireside Dance” was the first piece Elfman wrote for the film, and it was used to set the mood. The track follows Mila Kunis’ character, Theodora. I find this song both lovely and mysterious: it starts out as a music box sound that creeps into an orchestral sound. Later in the film, the piece is altered to mirror Theodora’s “wicked” transformation!

While the film’s score is, in my opinion, wonderful…I feel like the film itself falls a little flat. Visually, it’s beautiful! But you get a sense that the actors are kinda phoning it in. After seeing all of them in other amazing roles, you take notice when they don’t follow through with their abilities. Which is sad, because Oz the Great and Powerful is a great story and had the potential to be a great movie.

Nevertheless, my girls and I enjoy it for what it is!

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