Oz the Great and Powerful: Movie Review

Gabriela Sanchez, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Disney’s lighthearted comedy Oz the Great and Powerful was released Friday, March 8, as the prequel to the classic film The Wizard of Oz. Sam Raimi, the director, creates a magical world full of good and evil from the ground up and shows Oz’s rise to power. The fun-loving, hyped-up film starring James Franco, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams, and Rachel Weisz raked in a total of $150.2 million during its opening weekend, successfully reaching the top of the box office and managing to keep Disney’s classic moral ending, making it a family friendly movie.


The opening scene portrays an old fashioned traveling carnival where attractions range from classic freak shows to amusing clown acts. As the audience heads deeper into the heart of the circus, a crowd begins to form near a trailer tagged “Oz the Great and Powerful” where Oscar, a magician played by James Franco, performs his tricks and supposed “real” magic. The young and attractive con-man, nicknamed Oz, is seen as a sleazy magician only interested in the profits he can quickly squeeze out. Oscar was not an honest hard-working man, but that was what he least wanted to be. The con-man famously said “I don’t want to be a good man, I want to be a great one.”


As the travelling circus prepares to pack up and head to the next destination, Oz floats away in a hot air balloon further into the sky when suddenly, a tornado bashes into Oscar, and the balloon is caught in a terrifying natural disaster. Screaming and begging for his life, Oz is transported into a mystifying world full of beauty and magical creatures, the Land of Oz. He first meets Theodora the Good played my Mila Kunis, one of the three witches of Oz, the other two including Michelle Williams as Glinda and Rachel Weisz as Evanora.  Theodora believes that Oscar is the prophet that is supposed to come and save the people of her land by killing the wicked witch and becoming king.


The film with a modern twist, aimed for a younger generation, attracted both praise and criticism from the viewing audience. It received comments such as  “enchanting” and “endearing” as well as hit with words like  “disappointing”. Some said that Franco was an unexpectedly good wizard while Kunis lacked the anger that Theodora the witch truly embodies.  While the prequel was an enthralling film with great effects and visuals, some felt the film felt short in comparison to the classic Wizard of Oz.


As Oscar heads out onto an expedition where he must decide between good and evil, Oz must also travel through a journey of self discovery, realizing whether he is capable of greatness, but more importantly, if his heart is full of goodness. Oz the Great and Powerful provided for a visually pleasing movie, with hints of sentimentality and moments of humor, calling to be an overall successful film.