Before I say anything, I need to say that this is not going to be an unbiased review on Oz the Great and Powerful. That would be impossible since I am already a huge Wizard of Oz fan.
I will never forget the first time I laid eyes on that spectacular movie.The music, the imagination, the black-and-white turned color. I can only imagine the awe and wonderment of the original viewers, having never seen anything other than Black and White, all of a sudden awaken to a rainbow-filled world of color! The bright green terror of the Wicked Witch of the West, and her flying monkeys. And the fire engine red sparkles of the Ruby Slippers- Dorothy was blinging it before bling was cool! When I was a kid, this movie was broadcast annually, so my family always made a deal out of sitting and watching it together.
So, from the moment I found out that Disney was going to be releasing a prequel… I have had my sights set on Oz. I guess I am not the only one. Opening weekend it grossed an enormous $80.3 million. the largest opening since The Hobbit in December of 2012.
I am bursting to spill about all the really clever elements that Disney included in this film. But, I don’t want this to be a *spoiler. It is full of “throwbacks”, so look for ’em.
So, I will give you 5 things you should know before you go so that you have the best experience possible.
Know Before You Go – 5 things
1. Watch The Wizard of Oz first.
This film incorporates several really clever details that, in order to appreciate them, you need to have the other film fresh in your mind. It may be good to watch it again before going to see Oz. The two stories run seamlessly together. And Oz even explains some of the things (The Wizard) never did.
2. Splurge for the 3-D, and Imax, if available.
I know some films are a stretch. Watching them in 3-d is really just a way to get you to pay more for the ticket. But this is not the case in this movie.
There were so many awesome elements in this movie that were created just for 3-d! It takes this film to a whole other level- almost to the point of feeling like you are on a theme park ride! Disney really knows how to immerse you into a film so it’s more than just a third-party observation, but rather you become part of the experience. I loved that I lost my stomach a couple of times during this movie. And jumped back as things hurled and jumped out at me.
3. It takes a little while for the story to unfold in the beginning.
Without giving too much away (there is a really neat surprise element in the beginning of this movie that is a direct throwback to the original) WHICH I LOVED, I’m wondering if, because of this element, it may have contributed to the slower pace, like an old movie. Have patience. Sit back. Relax, and enjoy the balloon in a tornado ride… It’s like a good dance. Slow, slow, quick quick slow…
4. They want you to keep guessing which witch, is which.
That’s part of the fun- you don’t know which witch turns green in the end. Which one is the nastiest? How did she get that way? Why is she so. darn. angry? See if you can figure it out, as you watch.
5. This movie is eyecandy to the extreme.
This film is breathtakingly beautiful. If you enjoy nothing else about it, one must be impressed by the movie magic that is felt and created in this film. With the technology that is utilized, the land of Oz is really created as the authors intended. A vast, epic land full of color and interesting shapes, creatures, and landscapes.
1. Does this film live up to the original? It doesn’t try to. It’s so unique and modern and different that there really can be no comparison.
2. How do the actors do? I hate to admit this, but… I was a bit underwhelmed by them, at times. Especially Theodora’s too-many-cigarettes scratchy cackle. Glinda’s sugary sweet whisper, and Oz’s crow’s-feet goofy smile.
Who I did fall in love with, was the little China Doll played by Joey King, (Ramona Quimby in Ramona and Beezus). She was fantastic, and I enjoyed seeing a new character introduced.
3. Is it too scary for kids? I can only tell you that I would probably wait to take my 4 year old (too scary for him) and my 7 year old would be fine, and love it!
4. Would you recommend it? YES. I would, and I do- to those who can suspend their disbelief for 2 glorious hours of fun and fantasy, and a dose of childhood.
- Author of the Wizard of Oz, Frank Baum was asked how he came up with the name OZ. He pointed at his filing cabinet. One drawer was labeled “O-Z”
- There is a sequel in the works. Screenwriter Mitchell Kapner, is already on it.
- The reason there was no mention of the Ruby Slippers in this film, (or in Broadway show Wicked), is because the rights to those famous slippers is held by Warner Brothers. Who knew? There are a pair of the original slippers on display in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC.
Do you agree? Disagree? Discuss…