Oz the Great and Powerful (***)
A cheeky monkey
Wonderland-like Land of Oz
Could have been better
POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD. Going into this movie, I didn't have much in the way of expectations. The trailers and ads made it look pretty and exciting, and I'm always up for a fun adventure. Plus, Wizard of Oz is a classic, and there's so much in the Oz canon left unfilmed. The actual movie experience, however ... was pretty meh. The plot was predictable (and somewhat rightly so, I suppose), but I've seen many a prequel that still had room for surprises. And as usual, I found the 3D elements distracting. We saw the movie in 2D, but there were obvious moments throughout in which things were thrust toward the audience in a obviously gimmicky manner. The CG at other times was also surprisingly bad.
I didn't really care for the acting, either. It seemed to me that it was either really poor—which was surprising considering some of the actors—or too much an emulation of the acting in the original Wizard of Oz. (Not to say that that was poor acting, mind you, but it was a different style for a different time.)
The saving graces of the movie were Finley the monkey (voiced by Zach Braff) and the little China Girl, who were both adorable and amusing, and the Tinkers, who I would love to know. I've got a lot of ideas in my head that I'd love to see built into reality.
I have hope that the sequel will be more interesting, but I'm not going to rush to theaters to see it when/if it's eventually released.