One of the things that sucks about being a grown up is that most of the magic is gone. Kids get to believe in magic, fairy tales and mystical worlds while as grown ups we know that they don’t really exist and it kind of takes the fun out of things. That is until a movie comes along that has just enough magic that makes you forget that you are a grown up – at least for a little while.
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity of a lifetime to attend the world movie premiere of Oz the Great and Powerful in Hollywood. I not only walked the red carpet with the star studded cast (not to mention some rockin’ mommy bloggers!) but also got to interview the cast of the film and provide all of you with some great inside scoop on the film.
This weekend Oz the Great and Powerful finally debuts in theaters and I know many of you will be hitting the box office to see it. Here’s a synopis on the film just in case you’ve missed the enormous amount of coverage on this film:
Disney’s fantastical adventure “Oz The Great and Powerful,” directed by Sam Raimi, imagines the origins of L. Frank Baum’s beloved wizard character. When Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he’s hit the jackpot—fame and fortune are his for the taking—that is until he meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone’s been expecting. Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity—and even a bit of wizardry—Oscar transforms himself not only into the great wizard but into a better man as well.
When I sat in my seat nervously that night, I truthfully wasn’t sure what to expect. Movies based on classics always have enormous shoes to fill. However this film does Dorothy’s ruby slippers justice even though they couldn’t mention them (the rights actually belong to another studio). Oz the Great and Powerful is an amazing tribute to both the books and the film and remains loyal to the characters and the story and is beautifully portrayed. I know from some of the reviews I’ve read online not everyone agreed with all of the casting choices but from this movie fan’s perspective they all did an amazing job. I was particularly surprised by the performances by Joey King and Zach Braff as China Girl and Finley who I absolutely loved and they were unexpected companions and even comedic sidekicks for James Franco on his Journey. There’s also some great one-liners in the film that cracked me up with unexpected laughs.
Much like the original Wizard of Oz the story opens in a dusty black and white world where there’s not a lot of opportunity and as Oz is swept away in a storm his world transforms to the amazing colorful dreamlike world of Oz. Every minute detail was paid attention to as far as sets, characters and backgrounds to create the fantastic world and true Oz fans will love the subtle links to the original film like the gingham dress, the poppy fields, horses of a different color, the winding yellow brick road and more. You even see connections on where the lion, the scarecrow and the tin man come into being.
The art direction and effects are amazing and you can definitely see director Sam Raimi’s dark touches. This is one I would highly recommend seeing in 3D if at all possible since it adds so much depth to the film. Many 3D films use the effect as a gimmick, but Raimi uses it here to give Oz a whole new level of dimension you won’t want to miss.
Since I’ve begun my coverage of Oz, I’ve had several readers who are parents ask about whether this movie is suitable for children. Oz the Great and Powerful is rated PG. There is no language, sexuality and the closest thing to drugs is when the wicked witch takes a poised apple. Like the original Oz, there are a few intense and dark moments around the witches and the flying monkeys. As a mom of 2 myself and an aunt to a whole posse more, it’s my opinion that this film is definitely kid friendly, but it’s one that each parent will need to use their own knowledge of their own child on. If your child is particularly young, easily startled or particularly sensitive, they might not quite be ready for this movie. However kids who aren’t phased by that kind of thing will probably do great.
As far as my own children (who I take to movies regularly), we will be taking our 8 year old. She loved the original Oz and was never frightened by the witches. She’ll love Glenda and everything about the movie. As far as my little man age 3, he’s at a stage where everything that’s not an animated film seems to scare him in movies, so we’ll probably keep him at home for this one and let him enjoy it on Blu-ray when he’s a little bit older.
Over all this is an amazing adventure and yes, if you look hard enough you’ll probably find a few flaws but it’s a fun fairy tale for grown ups and kids a like and one you’ll definitely want to see in theaters.
OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL lands in theaters on March 8th!
Disclosure: I attended a blogger event for purposes of covering this movie and event. However all opinions expressed are my own and I’m REALLY excited about this upcoming film!