November 25, 2017

“Oz the Great and Powerful” Alternates Between Scary, Boring

oz the great and powerfulBy Julie Samrick

In “Oz the Great and Powerful” Professor Oz (James Franco) is a shady, traveling magician, scraping by while performing his con-man show across the “dusty podunks” of the Midwest.  When he returns to Kansas, an ex-girlfriend, Annie (Michelle Williams) tells him John Gale has proposed to her, reminding the viewer of Dorothy Gale, and that this could very well be a clever prequel to The Wizard of Oz.
Not so. Nothing more is mentioned of the Gales and this interaction is just the first of Oz’s romantic entanglements throughout the rest of the movie, not based on, but compiled from the works of novelist L. Frank Baum. 


Oz flees Kansas and the people he has duped via hot air balloon just as a tornado approaches, carrying him to the faraway land of Oz. There, he must convince three witches, as well as the people, that he is their rightful ruler.  The land, after all, does carry his name.


The best part of the film is the Oz setting.  The movie begins in black and white- just like The Wizard of Oz
does in the beginning while still in Kansas.  Once Professor Oz lands in the faraway land of the Emerald City, the colors and detail won’t disappoint.


Yet this story is nowhere near as good as the original. No wonder it’s taken 75 years to make another movie about Oz. It would’ve been better left alone.


The movie is rated PG for scary parts and there are sexually charged scenes Oz shares with multiple women. The tornado scene is loud, scary for viewers under 9, and lasts several minutes.  There are several scenes where witches and minions howl or jump into the camera, startling viewers. I saw Jack the Giant Slayer last week and thought if that film was rated PG-13, this one should be too.  I actually thought Oz the Great and Powerful is a scarier movie.


If it’s not scary, there are long, drawn out scenes.  Oz travels on the yellow brick road, but away from the Emerald City on a witch-hunt.  He picks up several friends along the way, but none of them are as endearing as the yellow brick road friends we know and love.


There are some allusions to the original, beloved Wizard of Oz, but not enough to make the trip to the theater.  For diehard fans, I recommend waiting for the movie to come out on DVD.



Kid Focused Grades for “Oz the Great and Powerful”

Compelling story line- C (viewers will enjoy looking for connections to the classic tale, but that’s it)

Strong message- C- (being a con man has its rewards?)

Leading character is a role model- C-

Sexual content – B- (Oz passionately kisses several women and strings them along- this is a major part of the plot)

Violence- C (Loud, violent action throughout)

Suited for the whole family- C (not for children under 9) 

Overall Grade: C


Oz the Great and Powerful, Rated PG

Running Time: 2 hours 10 minutes



A credentialed teacher, Julie Samrick is now a stay-at-home mother of four kids and the founder of Kid Focused.




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