Movie Review ~ Oz the Great and Powerful

The Strider had an unexpected evening off from work this week (actually, he had several off but that’s a long story I may get to in another post) and so we took the opportunity of going on a date. We’d both been interested in the Oz movie from trailers and so it seemed like a good choice. I thought chances were good that some of our readers might be curious about it too, so here’s a quick review, both from a parental standpoint and a story standpoint.

Overall, I’d give the movie a B. They tried very hard to make it clean and family friendly, which I appreciate. There were two or three swear words at the beginning of the movie, although it was clear that the person who was using them was being a complete jerk and that his behavior in that scene wasn’t something desirable at all.  There was one line that was a mild double entendre, but it will *definitely* go considerably over several heads and, again, is said in a context less that is less than positive.

Perhaps the most frustrating part, as an unabashedly conservative Christian viewer, was some of the costuming choices. As my husband said, it was like they couldn’t quite decide what they wanted to do with the three queens’ costumes: make them extremely low cut, cleavage revealing, and seductive, or simply have them be elegant and a bit low. There would occasionally be sudden revealing shots that seemed to come out of the blue, and then things would be back to semi-normal. If you’re like us, you’ll be a bit frustrated by this too. In this area, if you’ve seen Ever After or any of the Jane Austen movies, I’d say it’s semi-comparable (Oz is a bit better).

The message of the movie is *very* sweet and positive. The main character starts out as an egotistical selfish con man who says he doesn’t want to be a “good man,” the world is full of “good, church-going men” like his father who worked every day in the soil ’til he died in it. He doesn’t want that… he wants to be a “great man.” And then at the end of the movie, it is made quite clear that being good for the small things and the less powerful people in life is much, much better than being “great.”

What brought the movie down to a B, though, was some of the editing and story development choices. It definitely draaaggged in several places; they were clearly making it with the hopes of heavy sales of the 3-D version, and so we got way too many long meanders through the countryside of Oz. Yes, Disney, you’re very talented; yawwwwn, yes, I’m impressed by your digital animation skills; yaaaawwwn, another field of flowers, really?! The movie could have been shorter *or* they could have spent more time focusing on character development, as they had several excellent concepts that I would have loved to see developed further.

Scariness wise: I’m not going to put an age on it, as it varies wildly for children, but I think there are several parts that are potentially too sad and/or scary for a small child to see in the theater. I’m an almost 30 year old woman and I jumped with at least two scenes (greatly amusing my husband), and this doesn’t even count some of the darker scenes without any startling effects (surveying the broken village of china town, for instance). If you have a strongly empathetic or emotional youngster, you might want to wait to show them this ’til it’s on the small screen. If your children have been comfortable with Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, or the Hobbit, they’ll probably be okay with this one.

One thing I am curious about is how much of the story was taken from L. Frank Baum’s writings. I read The Wizard of Oz when I was nine, so it’s been a while and I remember very little from it. I haven’t read any of the others yet, although you can get the complete collection for Kindle for .95, so maybe I’ll do that and catch up soon. 🙂

Have any of you seen it? What would you add to my review? 


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  1. Posted March 8, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Not that it adds to the movie recommendation, but I learned that three of the Winkie guards are young men that my family knows. I met their mother when she was expecting one of those Winkie guards and her husband is the person who baptized me. She introduced me to the idea of large families, homeschooling, and the idea that there is another worldview than what I learned at school – without ever once making me feel guilty about any of the not-so-hot choices I had made. I hear her voice when reading the DHM talk about money management. 🙂 All well over six feet tall, they barely made the costume height limit. Perhaps not a great reason for us to see the movie but good enough…though will be at redbox when we do.

  2. TheHeadGirl
    Posted March 8, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Stephanie, that is so cool! That is a wonderful reason to see the movie (and I do think you’ll enjoy many other parts of it too :).

  3. jules
    Posted March 8, 2013 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Nothing to do with the movie, which I may wait until it comes on television to see, but I have all those books!!! They are the 1960’s printing, but I loved reading them when I was a child!

  4. Frances
    Posted March 8, 2013 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    “There would occasionally be sudden revealing shots that seemed to come out of the blue, and then things would be back to semi-normal. If you’re like us, you’ll be a bit frustrated by this too.”

    Umm …

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