Oz The Great and Powerful Parent Guide
It is Oz's transformation from indifferent to actively engaged that becomes the essence of this visually stunning story.
Parent Movie Review
Creating a prequel for a movie as legendary as the classic 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz takes a fair amount of ego, but then ego is what Oz The Great and Powerful is all about.
Oscar Diggs (James Franco), known on the traveling circus circuit as Oz, is a minor-league magician and con artist with a mediocre show. He aspires for greatness but only the kind that comes with adulation and not ethics. At each stop, he woos women with a slight-of-hand trick, a cheap trinket and a story about his dead grandmother. Knowing he’ll be moving on soon, he doesn’t worry about any kind of long-term commitment.
Then, while trying to escape the angry boyfriend of one of his conquests, Oz is swept away in a tornado and roughly deposited in an enchanted land that shares his moniker. He’s surprised to discover his arrival has been foretold and that the good people of Oz believe he will restore peace in the land by disposing of the evil witch. The helping part of the prophecy doesn’t interest him but the room full of gold that comes with the role does. Trying to find the easiest way to rid Oz of the witch and snag the prize, he sets off down the yellow brick road with a flying monkey (voice by Zach Braff) as a companion and baggage carrier.
Although there aren’t any talking lions, scarecrows or tin men in this adventure, Oz encounters a broken china doll (voice by Joey King) and three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams) who all see possibilities in the illusionist but aren’t sure if he can live up to the reality of what he can be.
It is Oz’s transformation from indifferent to actively engaged that becomes the essence of this visually stunning story. Yet like the original movie, Oz The Great and Powerful isn’t aimed at young children. Huge, screeching, flying baboons, along with soldiers armed with spears and fireballs that fly from the sky create plenty of moments of peril. So do the evil actions of the witch. At 130 minutes, the film also feels unnecessarily drawn-out, although the length of the story gives Oz time to make positive personal changes in a more believable way.
Paying homage to the 1939 production, this film begins in sepia tone then bursts into color once the magician reaches Oz. But because Warner Brothers own the rights to the images in the original MGM film, Director Sam Raimi was limited in what he could include in this prequel. Luckily fans of The Wizard of Oz will still find plenty of allusions to the production that starred Judy Garland as Dorothy, the girl with the ruby red slippers.
However just as Dorothy was disheartened to discover the truth about the great wizard behind the curtain in the Emerald City, some viewers may be disappointed to find that showmanship and deception are still at the core of what this prestidigitator depends on. He is admittedly a much-improved man thanks to his time in Oz, but his propensity for monkey business still raises moral questions worth discussing.Directed by Sam Raimi . Starring James Franco, Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz, Mila Kunis. Running time: 131 minutes. Theatrical release March 7, 2013. Updated May 27, 2016
Oz The Great and Powerful
Rating & Content Info
Why is Oz The Great and Powerful rated PG? Oz The Great and Powerful is rated PG by the MPAA for sequences of action and scary images, and brief mild language.
Violence: A man attempts to beat up another character. A character is swept away in a tornado, then later crashes and is washed over a waterfall. He is attacked and bitten by small creatures. One character spits in the face of another. Characters experience numerous moments of peril involving large fantasy creatures, monsters and witches. Characters discuss a man who was poisoned. A community is destroyed and invaders kill many people - only aftermath of event is shown. Soldiers with spears attack. A woman predicts a road will be “red with blood” after a battle. Characters are thrown against walls and down stairs. Fireballs and fireworks are used as weapons. A woman is captured and chained in front of a public gathering. A hot air balloon catches fire and crashes to the ground. A character is repeatedly shocked with an electrical-like current. A woman falls out of a window.
Sexual Content: A character lures a woman into his room and kisses her with the promise of a job. It is implied he has done this with others and he frequently attempts to woo many women (without a commitment). Couples kiss. Veiled sexual jokes are included.
Language: The script contains a couple of brief curse words and several uses of name-calling.
Alcohol / Drug Use: A character drinks while on the job. A character eats a magical apple that turns her into a witch. Characters fall asleep after walking through a field of poppies with sleep inducing properties.
Page last updated May 27, 2016
Oz The Great and Powerful Parents' Guide
During his magic show, Oz’s assistant Frank (Zach Braff) uses a variety of sound effects. How do these add to the performance? What objects are used to make different noises? Check out this short film on old time radio sound effects.
Oz doesn’t want to be good, he wants to be great. How does he define the difference between goodness and greatness? How do you define greatness? How does Oz’s treatment of his assistant Frank and later Finely the monkey show what kind of man he really is?
Oz considers lies to be steppingstones to greatness. How does Finley feel about the untruths? How can a person discern when someone is lying? Besides trying to fool others, how is Oz dishonest with himself? How do others help him discover the goodness within?
The three rules for a showman are to, “Show up, Keep up, and Shut up.” What does Oz learn about “showing up”?
What gifts does Oz give to his friends? What is the significance of each one of these presents?
The most recent home video release of Oz The Great and Powerful movie is June 11, 2013. Here are some details…
Home Video Notes: Oz the Great and Powerful
Release Date: 11 June 2013
Oz the Great and Powerful releases to home video (Blu-ray/Digital Copy, Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy or Blu-ray 3D/Digital Copy) with the following extras:
- Walt Disney and the Road to Oz
- The Magic of ‘Oz The Great and Powerful’ (Second Screen Experience)
- My Journey in Oz by James Franco
- Mr. Elfman’s Musical Concoctions
- China Girl and the Suspension of Disbelief
- Before Your Very Eyes: From Kansas to Oz
- Mila’s Metamorphosis
Related home video titles:
This movie is a prequel to The Wizard of Oz. This classic story was the inspiration behind The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz. Other characters find themselves in strange lands where they are greeted with great expectations in Alice in Wonderland, Gulliver’s Travels and The Chronicles of Narnia.