Movie Review: Oz The Great and Powerful – it's not a Wicked musical

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Oz The Great and Powerful - Disney

My oldest daughter and I saw an early screening of Oz The Great and Powerful last Monday. As you can probably guess, the movie is a prequel to the classic Wizard of Oz. In a way, Oz The Great and Powerful is an origin story. The film reveals how a Kansas magician became the Wizard of Oz, and how a good witch turned into a wicked witch. The story is a little predictable (especially if you’ve seen the Wizard of Oz), but there are some unexpected twists in the movie. Oz The Great and Powerful (Disney) opens in theaters on Friday.

The 411 for Oz The Great and Powerful

The story A magician from Kansas ends up in the land of Oz
Appropriateness for children There are a few mildly scary scenes, and the main character is a womanizer (nothing sexual). Otherwise, the film is fine for children.
Positives
  • Interesting back story on the characters from the Wizard of Oz
  • Beautiful cinematography and dazzling sceneries
  • Love the new Finley and China Girl characters
  • Wonderful special effects
Negatives
  • The Wizard is a womanizer and is not very likeable
  • There’s only one song
Release date March 8, 2013
Rating Rated PG for sequences of action and scary images, and brief mild language
Runtime 130 minutes
Genre Adventure, fantasy

Two good witches and one wicked witch
Oz The Great and Powerful features three witches. Two are good and one is wicked. If you’ve seen the Wizard of Oz, then you know there are actually two wicked witches. The trick is figuring out which ones are the wicked witches. Tieing in elements in the two Oz movies is one of the fun aspects of this prequel. My daughter and I also had an interesting conversation afterwards about how the characters in the prequel related to the classic.

The Wizard is a womanizer
For me, the biggest disappointment of the film is the Wizard. He was not very likeable and was a big-time womanizer. Considering the movie also targets children, I think the film could have and should have made the Wizard a heart breaker instead of a womanizer. And what’s the deal with the Wizard smiling all the time?

Where’s the Tinman and ruby slippers
Remember the Scarecrow and Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz? Well, a scarecrow and cowardly lion does make an appearance in Oz The Great and Powerful. But I didn’t see a Tinman. There were also Munchkins, flying monkeys, yellow brick roads, a magical poppy field, hot air balloon, tornado, and various other elements and characters related to the Wizard of Oz. But no Tinman. What’s the deal with that? I also don’t recall see any ruby slippers either. The ruby slippers were a major part of the Wizard of Oz. I thought the prequel would explain why those slippers were so important. But there was no mention about the magical slippers in the new Oz movie.

It’s not a Wicked musical
One of the things I loved about the Wizard of Oz was all those fun songs in the movie. I wasn’t expecting Oz The Great and Powerful to be a musical, but I thought there would be more than one song. Sadly, there is only one song during the film. And if you’re read the book or seen the musical, Wicked, forget about the book or broadway play. Wicked is also a prequel to the Wizard of Oz, but Oz The Great and Powerful has a different storyline and is not related to Wicked in any way.

New characters
Two characters I loved in Oz The Great and Powerful are Finley and China Girl. Finley, voiced by Zach Braff is a talking monkey that will appeal to many kids. He’s funny, cute and a little annoying at times. China Girl, voiced by Joey King, is a living porcelain doll that acts just like a little girl. The film also featured James Franco (Oz), Mila Kunis (Theodora), Rachel Weisz (Evanora), Michelle Williams (Annie / Glinda), Bill Cobbs (Master Tinker), Tony Cox (Knuck), Stephen R. Hart (Winkie General), Abigail Spencer (May), and Bruce Campbell (Winkie Gate Keeper). Oz The Great and Powerful was directed by Sam Raimi.

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2 thoughts on “Movie Review: Oz The Great and Powerful – it's not a Wicked musical

  1. Hmm gotta agree with that review…all in all pretty disappointing movie..loved the costumes though..Rachel Weiz looked fantastic as the evil witch and so did all the other actors..good costumes that gelled well with the fantastical theme of the movie..

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