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WesternSFA
Oz, The Great and Powerful
Starring: James Franco, Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz,
Mila Kunis, Zach Braff
Director: Sam Raimi
Running Time: 130 minutes
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
Rated: PG
Opening Day: March 8, 2013

I’ve been a fan of Oz since I first found the illustrated color 1920’s era books in a small town library.  And I’ve been attracted to every Oz book or movie since.  So this was, obviously, no exception.  I’ll try not to give any real spoilers.

And while, I’m pretty sure this origin story was never part of the original books, it was Great Fun!  It tells the story of where the Great and Powerful Wizard came from, how he got to Oz and how he saved the land from the wicked witches, becoming Great and Powerful along the way.  It also tells us how the wicked witches came to be.  And it’s rather unexpected.  The one thing it didn’t tell me was where Glinda got her book; but maybe that’s in the original books and didn’t fit into this movie. I was charmed that the screenwriters lifted one particular character from the books that I remember having a fascination with as a young girl – the China Girl.  For that alone, I was happy with the movie.  I kinda wish the Hungry Tiger might’ve gotten a walk-on, but alas, no.  Can’t have everything, I guess.

It was a nice plot, all the characters were beautiful and fun to watch.  It was also fun – and completely expected – that they started the movie in black-and-white and changed to color when the would-be wizard came to Oz.  If they hadn’t used that plot device, I think everyone would have been disappointed.

I was glad I saw it on a really big screen (Cine Capri), it made it that much more glorious.  Now, granted I tended to watch the film through my own rose-colored glasses due to my lifelong love of Oz, but I really think it was a fun film.  To be honest, my companion (who does not know or love Oz) fell asleep for a few moments so it might be that it was made for us Oz-aficionados and not everyone. 

But I think it’s safe to say that if you have kids – Take ‘Em!  There were quite a few pre-teens in the audience and they started spontaneously clapping at the end.  I think they liked it…so there’s hope for the next generation… ~~ Catherine Book

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