Oz The Great and Powerful opens this weekend, and having just seen an advanced screening, you’ll want set aside some time for your family to see it— what a treat it was! This magical fairytale of a movie features James Franco, Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz (just to name a few players from the powerhouse cast,) and is unlike any movie you’ve seen — at least recently. The only movie I can compare it to, and peripherally at that, is Lord of Rings, in the sense that the Oz The Great and Powerful is an action-packed and drama-filled fantasy adventure, but is perhaps more child-friendly and certainly more feminine-friendly. James Franco does a helluva job charming the pants off the audience, and Michelle Williams is just so ethereal, likeable and gosh-darn pretty, that I can imagine that she will have some serious young-girl worship to deal with as the movie gains popularity.
Boys (and girls) are sure to love the movie’s battle scenes, explosions, fights and fires, and for your littlest inventor, there’s even a great historical shout-out to Thomas Edison. The movie’s authenticity comes across almost immediately, and does a wonderful job paying homage to the original Wizard Of Oz, even going so far as to start off in black-and-white and turning to color once in the Land of Oz. It has light-hearted moments, genuinely funny banter, interesting characters (good and evil), all while being peppered by some seriously scary witches and flying monkeys.
The scenery and costumes were bold and vibrant, especially in 3D, and though there was little in the way of music, the animation, especially of Zach Braff’s monkey character, Finley, makes up for any potential void left in merchandising and commercializing by not having a “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” climbing the charts – Finley and China Doll pajamas and plush stuffed animals are sure to be coming to a Disney store near you.
Oz The Great and Powerful is better suited to older children (8 and up,) but if your younger child has expressed an interest in the original Wizard of Oz, can sit and follow a story for longer periods of time, and/or you can prepare them for some of the scarier witch cackles, flying monkey soldiers, and fire-throwing, I wouldn’t hesitate to take an even younger child. One thing is certain though, the movie is definitely worth seeing in a theater, as opposed to your family theater (a.k.a. living room,) as it was a full-fledged cinematic experience that can only truly be appreciated on the big screen.
Here’s a clip from Oz The Great and Powerful.