Family Movie Night


By Karyn Bowman


Have you ever been anticipating a new movie but then the critics rip it apart, making you doubt if that movie is worth your time?


I was feeling that way about Oz: The Great and Powerful. This prequel to The Wizard of Oz received some incredibly bad reviews. It took a while for positive reviews to trickle out.


Poster image from

Poster image from

In the case of this movie, I was not finding anyone who liked it before hand. Only after the movie opened did friends start telling me what they thought. This was combined with the incredible box office numbers the movie was pulling in. It made me wonder if the critics knew what they were talking about or if families were hungry for a good movie.


Now that our family has seen the movie, I want to say it is a little of both.


The story is about how the Wizard comes to the Land of Oz, how his arrival was foretold by the late king and that his arrival would mean freedom for the people of Oz. But the man who arrives is perhaps not the one who was expected.


This was a beautifully photographed movie. The colors are rich, deep, enthralling. I was drawn in to the movie and did not realize time had passed.


Yet, it takes something more than rich backgrounds and incredible sets. It takes more than groups of people similar to the movie we remember that this one is connected.


After all, there are many details that foreshadow the movie we remember. The yellow brick road is there along with flying monkeys and munchkins. The poppy fields and straw men and a lion all make their appearance.


That is when James Franco must step up to make this story his and not a remembrance piece. He must play this con man with truth and conviction along with something up the sleeve that will trick even those he is working to save.


Then there are the three witches: Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis, and Rachel Weisz. These women are at odds with each other in regards to the king’s death – who was poisoned. When this mysterious person comes to their land, he has to figure out who is evil and who is good. And he has to figure out which of these women know the truth about him.


As for the critics, I realize some of what they said was true, that some of the performances were bland. However, one should never mistake bland with simple because there are some deep thoughts in this movie. Some also stated that Franco was terribly miscast but I thought he was perfect as the con man looking for something more.


I know that I want to see this movie again. I want to watch for the things I missed. I know my kids loved the movie and barely made a peep because they were so enthralled. If there was a moment that might have been too scary, it was when the evil flying monkeys made their appearance. That said, I thought it was one of those few good family movies that all ages could enjoy with tidbits for the adults and bits for the kids.



Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.