Written by Phil Cerroni
By Matt Mungle
Title: Oz the Great and Powerful
No doubt that The Wizard of Oz is one of the most watched and timeless classics ever. But did you ever stop and wonder how the Wizard got there in the first place or why the Wicked Witch was so wicked? Even if the answer is no you will have a blast watching the new family adventure film, Oz the Great and Powerful. Full of wonderment, action, humor, and well written wit, this has everything you would expect to see in a revisit to the merry old Land of Oz
The story starts with a struggling carnival magician named Oz (James Franco) who is a self-proclaimed con man and entertaining illusionist. He is used to slight-of- hand gimmicks to make a buck and has no problem sleeping at night. When a hot air balloon he is in runs into a Kansas twister he, like Dorothy years later, is swept away and lands in Oz. He soon discovers that the people think he is the fulfillment of an age old prophecy and that he will save them and their homeland from the wicked witch. Oz must now decide whether to help them or continue his life of selfishness.
In the original movie, you love to hate The Wicked Witch of the West. Her cackling laugh, green skin, and menacing stare make her a top ten villain. Here she is played quite wonderfully by Mila Kunis. We find her character early on as a sweet young witch who is waiting along with everyone else for the foretold wizard. But as the story progresses we find out what exactly makes her so evil and transforms her into Dorothy’s enemy many years later. Kunis seems to be having fun with the role and gets into the wickedness with fervor.
The humor comes mainly from a winged monkey named Finley (voiced by Zach Braff). Soon after Oz lands in Oz he befriends this little guy who swears a loyal service to the wizard. Their relationship is give and take and the monkey is always getting a laugh. The film also adds a jolly bit of fun characters including The Munchkins, The Tinkers and Quadling citizens. They are watched over by Glinda (Michelle Williams) who wants Oz to step up and do the right thing. Like always she sees the good in his heart and desires to help him discover it.
Oz the Great and Powerful is rated PG for sequences of action and scary images, and brief mild language. There is nothing at all offensive in this one, but parents do need to be aware of the scary images. The flying monkeys and the wicked witch are as scary in this one as the original. They become even more alive in 3D, so I would be careful with your tiniest moviegoers and maybe stick with the 10 and up crowd. I give this 4 out of 5 Winkie Guard spears. It is funny, action packed, and delightful for the entire family.