Movie Review – Oz, The Great and Powerful

Oz poster It has been a while since I’ve been to the movies. It isn’t as convenient, here, to pop in and see a movie whenever I want to. Unlike Sanford, Albion doesn’t have a movie theater and neither does Medina. There are theaters in Brockport, Batavia, Greece, and a few other places that are about as far to drive as it was to go to Southern Pines or Cary, but just not as convenient as having one just up the street from my house! In fact, since I moved here in Nov, 2011, I have only been to see one movie – definitely not like me! I went to see Lincoln about Christmas time (sorry, I completely forgot to do a review for it – suffice it to say that I LOVED it and would highly recommend it). And, now, I’ve been to my second movie in almost a year and a half…….but, I had to go to Arizona to see it! HA!!! Actually, I was on vacation in Arizona last week and went to see Oz, The Great and Powerful with some friends while I was there.

I’m going to categorize going to this movie as an “adventure”! We saw it at an IMAX theater in 3D at a matinée showing on the day it was released to open, so I think it is appropriate to call it an adventure. If you are planning to go see this movie and you have an IMAX theater near you, I really do recommend you see it there and in 3D – I imagine it would be just as good on any big screen, but seeing it “bigger than life” and “in your face” absolutely enhances the experience – this is one of those movies that just screams to be seen that way!

The story focuses on the Wizard of Oz character, who is actually Oscar Diggs, a small-time circus magician with rather shady ethics when it comes to women. The story explores how he got to the Land of Oz and reluctantly evolved into the great and powerful wizard that the people of Oz had been waiting for. It is NOT a remake of the original movie, The Wizard of Oz, so don’t go expecting to see Dorothy and Toto and the Tin Man and the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion – that version was only one of many stories associated with Oz written by L. Frank Baum. What you will find, however, is another adaptation taken from Baum’s novel, along with some other really cool and memorable characters that help and hinder Oscar along his journey through Oz – including three beautiful witches, a sassy china girl, and a likeable flying monkey in a bell hop uniform named Finley.

James Franco is perfectly cast as Oscar Diggs/Oz with his dashing good looks, flirty expressions, and devilish grin. He starts out as a small-time circus act doing magic tricks and conning people out of their money……and women out of their hearts! He finds himself having to flee the Kansas circus he was working to get away from the jealous husband of a woman he was toying with. The hot air balloon he uses for his escape gets caught up in a tornado and he lands in the very strange and mystical Land of Oz.

Mila Kunis is the beautiful witch, Theodora, who falls in love with Oscar and takes him to the Emerald City. I won’t give away too much for those of you who have not seen the movie, yet, but I will say that the character of Theodora is absolutely the inspiration for the old saying “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”! Watch out for her rath when her heart is broken by the fickle Oscar!

Theodora’s sister, Evanora, is an evil witch played by Rachel Weisz. She has everyone convinced that Glinda, played by the lovely Michelle Williams, is the evil one and sets Oscar out on a mission to destroy the evil witch and free the people of Oz, which she tells him will prove he is the true Wizard of Oz and earn him a room full of gold.

The other characters that make the story line so memorable are the China Girl – voiced by Joey King – and Finley – voiced by Zach Braff (of Scrubs fame). The China Girl is sassy and fun – she’ll tug at your heart-strings and you’ll instantly fall in love with her! Finley is the flying monkey in a bell hop uniform I mentioned earlier – Oscar saves Finley’s life, so he becomes his loyal servant to repay the debt. Finley is funny and ever so likeable. And, there are munchkins and tinkers and others who play a big role in Oscar’s adventures and successful mission. The Land of Oz and the Emerald City are just as spectacular as they were in the other Oz stories, with the magnificent castle and poppy fields and yellow brick road and brilliant colors and flowers and on and on and on!

Oh — and for those of you adults who admit that the flying monkeys in the original Wizard of Oz film scared the crap out of you……..well, let’s just say, you’re not going to be happy with the flying baboons in this film!!!!!

Oz, The Great and Powerful is an incredible Disney film – full of action, adventure, wonderful special effects, and endearing characters. I really did enjoy it a lot and highly recommend it – and, again, if you can see it at an IMAX theater in 3D, you’ll find it even more awesome!!! I give this one TWO HUGE thumbs up and rate it a solid A+!!!

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