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Sam Raimi’s Oz The Great And Powerful is a prequel to the timeless classic movie The Wizard of Oz, originally released nearly 80 years ago. And in a cast that features three of the foxiest ladies working in Hollywood today, the main star is the ubiquitous James Franco.

Franco is Oscar Diggs, a magician who finds himself magically transported to the land of Oz, which is in desperate need of his assistance. He eventually becomes the titular character behind the curtain of the original film. Taking on an iconic screen role that was originally written for Robert Downey Jr and had already seen megastar Johnny Depp pass before director Sam Raimi turned to his supporting man of the Spider-Man series, this is easily Franco’s biggest challenge to date. Disney clearly believe this can be the next Alice In Wonderland ($1 billion gross, 13th biggest world movie of all time) and there’s a lot riding on the 34-year-old actor’s shoulders.

Franco can often go either way, having had some standout performances in his career, and some other performances that stand out… but for the wrong reasons. Let’s take a look back at some times Franco has shined and in case the movie sucks, we’ll look at the 5 worst performances Franco has given. So grab your copy of Howl and James Dean’s leather jacket as we take a look at James Franco’s 5 Awesome Performance And 5 That Sucked…

 

5 Awesome…

 

5. Will Rodman – Rise of the Planet of the Apes

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I remember hearing about this film as it was originally announced, and was immediately skeptical. Prequels rarely work out very well for moviegoers who have… what’s it called… oh yeah, taste. Everything from Star Wars: Episodes I-III and Hannibal Rising can sour anyone’s desire for a prequel. And with the franchise that had resulted in the God-awful Tim Burton remake, I was not particularly enthusiastic to see another attempt to reboot the franchise. Throw in a bunch of CGI and it’s a wonder I ever went to see it in the first place.

But see it I did. And like the rest of the world, I was surprised. Really surprised. Not only did Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes not entirely suck, but it was actually kinda cool. I think most of the credit goes to Andy Serkis as the main ape Caesar. But if we strip the film of its CGI, we’re left with a rather touching performance by James Franco as the driven scientist who shows compassion for the infant primate, as well as for his ailing father.

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This article was first posted on March 8, 2013