In theatres: Oz the Great and Powerful

The latest 3D fantasy from Disney explores the backstory of the wizard, offering audiences a uniquely entertaining moviegoing experience.

Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Canada.

Can you believe it’s been 74 years since we first heard those famous words, “There’s no place like home.”

As for many people, The Wizard of Oz is a childhood favourite of mine. I still watch it every time I catch it playing on TV. I must admit, I was highly anticipating this journey back to Oz — and from the minute the opening credits started to roll, I knew there was something special about this film.

The premise
Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz. There, Oscar thinks he’s hit the jackpot as 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). They each remain unconvinced that 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, along with some ingenuity — and even a bit of wizardry — Oscar transforms himself not only into the great wizard but into a better man as well.

What we loved
Let’s start with the fantastic 3D. Sometimes I find 3D can be useless and other times it gives me a headache. But the 3D in Oz the Great and Powerful was fun and really did add to the experience of this visually captivating film. As the witches, the ladies looked amazing (check out their various outfits throughout the movie). Kunis, Weisz and Williams were memorizing as the three very different and unique sisters. But what really made this movie special to me is the feel and authenticity that director Sam Raimi retained from the original. If you look closely, people that Oz knew and encountered in Kansas reappear (in different forms of course) in the Land of Oz.

Parental advisory
Even though this new version of the The Wizard of Oz does follow the same formula as the original, there was one noticeable difference. The silly, light-hearted, comedic relief provided by the Tin Man, the Lion and the Scarecrow. Warning: Those flying monkeys are even scarier this time around, not to mention that famous hurricane/twister that sent Dorothy into the Land of Oz is even more terrifying in 3D. Keep in mind, it may be a little too dark for those under seven years old.

Canadian rating: PG — Some Material May Not Be Suitable for Children. Parental Guidance Advised.

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