‘Oz’ offers more than Wizards and Witches: 4/5

If you were a fan of the original Wizard of Oz movie, you’ll definitely want to see its prequel: Oz: The Great and Powerful. But as much as it answers questions audiences had about the original, this is also a terrific stand-alone movie.


 

Oz the Great and Powerful


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Overall Rating:
Opens: March 8, 2013
Running time: 131 minutes
Genre: Fantasy

This movie takes many elements from the original, such as starting off in black and white but changing to brilliant colour once we reach the wonderful world of Oz. The acting is solid, although you may want to take your kids to this one and not your date. Adults can enjoy Oz as well, but the movie itself is definitely directed at a younger crowd. Other than a few scares, your kids have nothing to worry about.

Oz (James Franco) is a travelling magician and con artist, obsessed with becoming a great man. Through a series of mishaps he ends up in Oz, a magical land that seems candy-coated and magical at first, but soon ends up showing its darker side. With three different witches (Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams), each telling him that he needs to kill the others, how will he be able to tell the good witch from the bad?

I personally thought that this was one of Franco’s finer films. He acts the scallywag perfectly, but is also able to show a more vulnerable side of his character. With some other great films behind him (127 Hours, Tristan and Isolde, Annapolis), it was pleasant to see him in a more junior but still equally challenging role. Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, Zach Braff and Michelle Williams round out the cast in supporting roles. All of the actors do well in their parts, especially Braff in the dual role of Frank/Finley, and Williams as both Annie/Glinda.

However, the story is about more than Oz defeating a wicked witch and becoming the wizard we know from the original Wizard of Oz movie. It’s also a story of self-discovery, with Oz learning what it takes to become a truly great man. As the good witch says to Oz at the end,

“For the record, I knew you had it in you all along.”

“Greatness?”

“Goodness.”

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