STARS/**** Image A Sound A+ Extras B+
starring James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams
screenplay by Mitchell Kapner and David Lindsay-Abaire
directed by Sam Raimi
by Walter Chaw Based on L. Frank Baum's little-known Pussyhound of Oz, Sam Raimi's career nadir Oz the Great and Powerful (hereafter O-Gap) answers the question of who you would ask to anchor your $300M+ tentpole extravaganza: yes, James Franco, who's now claimed the mantle of the worst actor in the United States from the quiescent Paul Walker. Franco is an avatar of the picture's bad decisions, from the Zach Braff-voiced CGI monkey sidekick to the sassy CGI Hummel figurine to the tragic miscasting of Mila Kunis as Theodora, a.k.a. the Wicked Witch of the West. Yes indeedy, fans of the MGM original, of Baum's wondrous series of books, and of the shit-show "Wicked" will all hate it equally--almost as much as neophytes to the whole damned mess who will come for what Raimi's proudly proclaimed "the ultimate Disney movie" and leave with a mouthful of exactly as promised. It's blindingly obnoxious, tasteless in a meaningless way, and occasionally makes reference to Army of Darkness just because, I suspect, Raimi's last-resort defensive posture is to fall back on what he knows. But it's not nearly enough to save him here. The argument with weight is that the more expensive a movie becomes, the less likely it's going to be good; the first clue that Raimi is creatively bankrupt is that while his buddy Bruce Campbell appears in this film, Campbell isn't the star.