New Movie Review: “Oz: The Great and Powerful”

Entertainment Story. Art by Chris Brockman.
Entertainment Story. Art by Chris Brockman.

Disney’s Oz: The Great and Powerful, an adaptation/prequel of the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, is a fun family film that restores the idea of magic and friendship in the audience members.

Oz, a circus magician played by James Franco, strives to be the greatest magician ever and charms women into falling in love with him along the way. He has tricked many women into thinking they are special by gifting them with a music box said to be from his grandmother. This scheme winds up getting him into major trouble with other members of the circus and he suddenly finds himself drifting into a tornado while in a hot air balloon. His journey lands him in Oz, which is coincidentally his own name, and meets a witch named Theodora played by Mila Kunis. She convinces him that he is the one destined to be the savior of the people of Oz from the wicked witch.

This movie is very different from the original. It serves mostly as a prequel and sets up the backstory of the wizard for the movie we all know and adore, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. There is no scarecrow, tin man or lion; but audience members grow attached to China Girl and Finley, the flying monkey, who Oz meets on the yellow brick road. Oz is very reluctant to find friendship in this new land because his sight is focused on gaining the piles of gold that has been offered to him if he successfully gets rid of the wicked witch.

The people of Oz have taken an oath not to kill anybody, so getting rid of the wicked witch serves as a special challenge. This is a positive spin in the movie because it’s not promoting violence to the younger audience members and pushes them to find alternative measures to deal with problems other than using violence.

Audience members at the showing of the film ended the movie with applause and cheering, which left older audience members with a sense of magic becoming a reality.

Overall, the movie was quite enjoyable though it was nothing that I had expected after knowing the plot line from 1939 version. This movie was one which left audience members with a newfound appreciation for friendship, adventure and magic.