Reviewed by: Patty Moliterno
|Featuring:||James Franco … Oz
Mila Kunis … Theodora/The Wicked Witch of the West
Rachel Weisz … Evanora
Michelle Williams … Annie/Glinda
Zach Braff … Frank/Finley
Bill Cobbs … Master Tinker
Joey King … Girl in Wheelchair/China Girl
Tony Cox … Knuck
Stephen R. Hart … Winkie General
Abigail Spencer … May
Bruce Campbell … Winkie Gate Keeper
|Director:||Sam Raimi—“Spider-Man 3,” “The Evil Dead,” “30 Days of Night”|
|Producer:||Walt Disney Pictures
|Distributor:||Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures|
“The land you know. The story you don’t.”
Oz, The Great and Powerful hails from the land of Nebraska. He is a simple circus magician named Oscar Diggs (James Franco). Oscar’s main trick includes conning girls in every town that they are special enough for him to give his grandmother’s music box, which he has in bulk. Frank (Zach Braff) is his assistant and also plays Finley, the monkey in Oz who pledges to stay by Oscar’s side through thick and thin. While in Kansas, Oscar is visited by Annie (Michelle Williams) who is obviously in love with him. She tells him that John Gale has proposed to her. Oscar tells her she should marry John, because he is a good man, and Oscar can never be what she needs. Their conversation is cut short by the circus strong man who is holding a music box and threatening to kill Oscar. Oscar manages to escape the strong man in a hot air balloon, but finds himself in the middle of a tornado.
When Oscar touches down in a beautiful, colorful land, he is met by three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz), and Glinda (Michelle Williams). Everyone is waiting for the Wizard to come from the sky to fulfill the prophecy of a Great and Powerful Oz who is going to save the people. Can Oscar become the person Glinda sees in him and perform his best magic trick by saving the people of Oz, or will he head out of town after stealing the gold?
OBJECTIONABLE CONTENT: “Oz…” has very little objectionable language. There were 2 noted instances of the word “d-mn.” While Oscar is constantly trying to seduce women, and he kisses quite a few, that is the extent that you see onscreen. There are a few implied situations: Oscar puts a sock on the door when he is “practicing” with an assistant. He dances with Theodora, and the scene cuts away. Later, when they are talking, she assumes that what has happened means they are going to get married. Some people may be offended by the amount of cleavage shown by some of the costumes.
This is a fantasy movie filled with witches. There are good witches and bad witches. There is a good witch who is turned bad by deceit, trickery and misunderstanding. Her transformation is completed after eating an apple and can be scary for some younger children. The witches all use their “powers.” If you are offended by this type of movie, there is plenty to stay away from. At the end, Evanora makes a transition to an ugly old hag, and I caught my son hiding behind his hand. In Kansas, while performing a magic show, Oscar is asked to heal a lame girl, which he obviously cannot do. There is mention of “ghosts, evil spirits and the undead.”
There is plenty of violence and tense scenes. Many younger children may be afraid. This isn’t the fight scene violence. This is an imagination gone wild scary. My husband said, “These are not your grandfather’s flying monkeys.” They are much scarier than those in the original movie. The witches and the fear they inflict happen more often in this movie than in the original. One witch threatens to make the yellow brick road red with blood. The twister scene is very intense; there are scary glowing eyes in a dark forest.
Oscar comes across China Town, which is a town made of teapots and porcelain. He hears crying and finds a china doll, played by Joey King. Both her legs are broken off, and Oscar manages to “heal” her with his magic glue.
Glinda/Annie sees more in Oscar and believes the best of him. She believes he can be better than a great man; he can be a good man. We all need someone to believe in us like that. The spiritual content is what most viewers may have the hardest time dealing with, but I think this could be a time for great discussion. When Theodora eats the apple, her eyes are open to evil. There are many instances in the film that can be used to point to good versus evil and what the Bible says. Romans 5:12 says,
“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Although, I did not see this movie in 3D, much of it is made with 3D in mind. A charging lion, flying butterflies, flying debris in the twister, flying fairies—all seem forced and without purpose with the intent of making your 3D price worth it. I personally hate 3D and prefer to see movies without it. Otherwise, this movie is very visually appealing. There are many Oz books on the market, but none really explain how the Wizard came to be. This movie does a very nice job of filling in the blanks and yet staying true to the feel of the original movie and books.
I do recommend this movie, however, I would not recommend it for children under the age of 10-12. I am sure that there are people who will say “my child can handle it” and many children will be able to, but it is a very intense movie. I took my 10 year old son, who loves “Star Wars” movies, but this was a little scary for him. He was visibly upset by several scenes. Overall, we enjoyed this movie very much, and I personally want to see it again.
Violence: Moderate to heavy / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.