Oz The Great and Powerful tells the story of a man named Oscar Diggs (James Franco) AKA the Wizard of Oz. The movie is based on one of L. Frank Braum’s books called The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. I loved, loved, that this was an “origins” film. There were so many nostalgic nods to the Wizard of Oz. However, the film makers didn’t try to recreate it’s 1939 predecessor. One of my favorite scenes in The Wizard of Oz is when the film changes from black and white (actually sepia) to color. The transition showed the contrast of two worlds. I remember the feeling that I had when I first watched that scene. Dorothy opens the door to her home to a bright and colorful land of Oz. I felt the same feeling when I watched Oz The Great and Powerful. The movie starts off in black and white and expands to a full colorful screen. Stunning!
The movie transports you into a traveling carnival in Kansas. Oscar Diggs is a circus magician and a con man. He has a dream of not being like his father, he had a dream of being great. Oz is egotistical, selfish and quite the “player”. He’s broken one-to-many hearts and finds himself fleeing an almost disastrous situation in a hot air ballon for the ride of his life. The hot air balloon takes him straight into a tornado (Are tornados the entrance to Oz?). He arrives unexpectedly in the land of Oz and seems to be the one who will fulfill the prophecy and save OZ from the wicked witch. Oz meets three Witches Elenora (Rachel Weisz), Theodora (Mila Kunis) and Glinda (Michelle Williams), He’s instructed to kill The Wicked Queen of the west. Who really is the Wicked Witch (I won’t say!)? His prize? Being crowned the king of OZ and acquiring all its riches.
He reluctantly agrees to take on the task and walks along the Yellow Brick Road. A funny, sincere bell hop Flying Monkey named Finley (Zack Braff) joins him as his side kick, From there they meet an orphaned porcelain China Girl doll (Joey King). Both Finley and China Girl are CGI characters. The special effects are super but China Girl is the most amazing. The three team up and embark on a fantastical adventure.
The 3D gave great depth and made settings and scenes absolutely spectacular. At some points the CGI was a little over the top but it’s a fantasy film so what more could you expect in this wonderful world of Oz. The costumes are gorgeous and I’m sure every young girl will fall in love with Glinda. Michelle Williams did a wonderful job playing the good witch.
I won’t reveal too many fun details or spoilers. But fans of the 1939 film will enjoy scenes of The Deadly Poppy Fields, Munchkins, traveling by bubbles and of course learn all about the man behind the curtain. There’s not a lot of violence but there are some scary moments and some battle scenes. The flying monkeys are way more vicious and primal in this movie. My husband actually jumped a few times when they appeared! The characters do find themselves in a lot of danger but create an interesting plan as a team to foil the wicked witches scheme of taking over Oz. This film is PG and young children who scare easily might be sensitive to some of the images.
I have seen the movie twice and I would see it again. At the end of the day Oscar Diggs pursued his dream of greatness. Once he saw past him self he realized that he was with the people who truly loved him. Oz wasn’t a “magical” wizard and couldn’t grant wishes but he was able to give gifts that came from the heart. Enjoy! I’d love to hear what you think of the film!
That’s IT Mom Tee
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