35. Oz the Great and Powerful

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April 4, 2013 by bdetienne

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Earlier this week I took my wife to see Oz the Great and Powerful. We had seen a couple of trailers for the Sam Raimi-helmed film and were intrigued by the premise it presented: the story of how the Wizard from The Wizard of Oz came to be. I was a little skeptical going in, though. Yes, the movie had a stellar headlining cast including James Franco, Rachel Weisz, Mila Kunis, and Michelle Williams. But they are tying in a prequel to one of the classics in movie film history. Could Raimi & Co. tie-in a prequel to The Wizard of Oz, and do it successfully? Would this be Godfather, Part II or Dumb and Dumberer?

The movie turned out to be pretty good. I am not sure how closely it aligns with L. Frank Baum’s books, but the writers penned a script that told a unique story yet stuck to the guidelines set forth in The Wizard of Oz. The story even helped to explain how certain things in The Wizard of Oz came to be. Interestingly, but not unsurprisingly, the conclusion of the film is a little open-ended, leaving the possibility of a sequel in the “probable” category. (The $415 million the movie has brought in so far would affirm that status.) Franco did a fantastic job as the Wizard and Weisz, Kunis, and Williams were great as the witches of Oz. The visual effects and costumes were brilliant.

Whether you see it in the theaters or wait to Redbox it, I would recommend that you add this film to your queue. It is PG and most of the movie seems suitable for kids; the only objection I have is that as part of his persona of being a con man, two references are made to Franco’s Wizard bedding two of the witches. Otherwise, there are no issues with language or nudity and only a little violence.

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