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‘Oz the Great and Powerful’ – Entertaining for the Whole Family [REVIEW]

Oz The Great and Powerful - Scene
(Disney YouTube)

If you’re looking for a film the whole family can enjoy, then be off — off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of Oz The Great and Powerful.

Personally, I try not to read reviews or opinions about movies before I see them because I don’t want to give myself a preconceived notion of the film based on the way someone else saw it. Here’s the issue I have with critic reviews, they nitpick everything to death. Like if a movie isn’t Citizen Kane, then its crap. They’re critics, that’s what they get paid to do, I get it. What I’d like to see is an Average Joe (or in this case, perhaps Ryan Keeps it Reel (get it?)) kind of review, meaning that I don’t care about the director trying to branch out and get away from his previous history of over-the-top, computer generated action flicks. I just want to know if it’s entertaining.

So is Oz The Great and Powerful entertaining? Yes. Is it Citizen Kane? No, and it’s not trying to be.

James Franco plays Oscar, a.k.a. “Oz”, a conniving, womanizing, magician in a travelling circus from where else, but Kansas, who only has his own best interests in mind. While escaping from the Strong Man during a stop on the circus’ tour, Oz hops into a hot air balloon and is caught up in what else, a tornado, that whisks him away to the colorful world of Oz where, long story short, it is believed he is the wizard; the man foretold of in prophecy as the one who will pull the Land of Oz from the grip of the wicked witch, and out of it’s current period of darkness.

My family and I unintentionally caught the 3D version because somebody (this guy), mistakenly read the wrong start time on his Flixster App. Personally, the 3D thing doesn’t do much for me, and I’m not sure why Hollywood has made it such a big thing over the last few years. While It did provide some depth to the scenes, and there were a few instances where it appeared that objects were coming right toward me, I don’t think it added much to the movie. You’ll enjoy Oz just as much in 2D, and you’ll save a few bucks on tickets.

The main draw of the movie is the scenery. While most, if not all of it is computer generated, it’s bright and colorful, and frankly, just impressive to look at. I found myself in awe of whoever’s imagination dreamed it up.

Produced by Disney and rated PG, Oz is clearly geared toward kids. A fact made evident by it’s nearly constant promotion on the Disney Channel and Disney XD. Advertising so effective, my 8 and 6 year old knew the day it was scheduled for release and were hounding my wife and I to take them to see it the weekend it came out. Clearly they won.

With that said, there are a few scenes that could be a bit intense for young kids, particularly anything involving the infamous flying monkeys employed by the wicked witch. These are not the guys-dressed-up-in-monkey-costumes of the original 1939 classic. No, they’ve been updated with the help of computers and are now more baboon in appearance with large fangs and deep, guttural roars. My 6 year old daughter, who’s scared of everything handled it just fine, and has already said she wants to buy the movie when it comes out on Blu-Ray, so I’ll leave it up to you as to whether or not you think your child can handle it.

All in all, if you’re looking for some sort of thought-provoking film on the state of society and humanity’s role in it, stay away from Oz The Great and Powerful. If you’re looking for an enjoyable film the whole family can get into, I recommend giving Oz a shot.

Watch the trailer for Oz The Great and Powerful


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