Since the announcement of Oz: The Great and Powerful two years ago I have been eagerly anticipating it’s opening. I am an avid Wizard of Oz fan! That film holds a very special place in my heart. Return to Oz was amazing too – Disney’s first step into L. Frank Baum’s masterful books – and I had high hopes for Oz: The Great and Powerful.
I was NOT disappointed!! SEE THIS MOVIE
I was one of the lucky few who got to see Oz: The Great and Powerful ahead of time. While I was star-struck and distracted by the twinkly lights of Hollywood at the premiere, I can tell you I concentrated on the film. Here’s a quick synopsis:
Oscar Diggs (James Franco) is a magician/con-man in rural Kansas, early 1900’s who has basically ticked off just about everyone he knows. He has a trust assistant – Frank – and the girl he is in love with but has wronged so many times she is marrying another man. During an altercation with the circus owner Oscar is whisked away in a balloon to Oz (by way of tornado).
In Oz he meets Theodora (Mila Kunis) who is certain he is the wizard they have been waiting for who will save the land of Oz. She introduces him to her sister Evanora (Rachel Weisz) who questions his wizardry. She tells him he an have all of the riches of The Emerald City if he defeats Glinda (Michelle Williams). Along the way Oz meets a monkey, Finley (Zach Braff), and China Girl (Joey King) and finds his way through the land of Oz to discover the truth about who the Wicked Witch is.
The film itself was magical – the colors, effects, and the 3D quality was breathtaking and I officially bow down to the greatness that is Sam Raimi. The story line was great, it flowed well. The acting was very good – although all were perfect in their roles my favorites were Evanora, Finley, and China Girl – even though Finley and China Girl are CGI they stood out to me. This isn’t to say the other characters weren’t fantastic – they were, I just thought Rachel Weisz did an exceptional job.
Is it for kids? Well, that depends on the child…
While there is no violence, no blood and guts, there are some intense scenes. I think the most intense are the witch scenes – the makeup and effects are amazing! If you look back to when you were a small child and watched the original Wizard of Oz, you may have been scared by the Wicked Witch of the West. Also a bit scary are the Flying Monkeys. BUT, these frightful bits only add to the fantasticalness of the film (is that even a word? lol). And it’s much more mild than most video games kids play nowadays. When I was little Mario Brothers wasn’t exactly scary!
There are many, many scenes that are fun and happy – Flying by Bubble, meeting China Girl in China Town, the banter between Oz and Finley. The beautiful flora and fauna of the land. There’s so many good parts that the scary ones balance. There’s a lot of great comical timing between Oz, Finley, and China Girl as well – these three characters really have a great chemistry and play off each other well. Sam Raimi made a great decision when allowing Franco, King, and Braff to adlib their scenes, he captured some fantastic moments.
I would say if your child is begging to see this but you are afraid it is too scary then try a non-3D showing. 3D is absolutely brilliant though, so if you feel like your child can take a couple of scary scenes then DO IT! The 3D in my opinion adds to the story. It’s not gimmicky and obvious like most 3D films, it really enhances the story of Oz.
Be on the lookout for several nods to the original Wizard of Oz as well as the books by L. Frank Baum!
- The circus in Kansas is name “Baum’s”
- There are different colored horses grazing in the background in a scene
- Oscar’s assistant is named Frank
- … and more, but I will leave that fun to you!
Oz: The Great and Powerful opens nationwide March 8th! Follow #Disneyozevent on Twitter for up to the minute news on all things Oz!
Disney provided me with an all expenses paid trip to Los Angeles to attend the red carpet premiere of Oz: the Great and Powerful and to attend a Wreck-It Ralph press day at Disney Animation studios. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.