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Follow the Yellow Brick Road

(The Verge) – Disney’s latest installment, Oz the Great and Powerful, did not disappoint.  From the extravagant costumes to the incredible visual effects, it feels as if you are actually in the Land of Oz.  Lasting about two hours and ten minutes, director Sam Raimi has created a beautiful PG rated film that can be enjoyed by the whole family.  Enter this magical land and see that you don’t have to be a child to be afraid of witches.
James Franco stars as Oscar Diggs, but feel free to call him Oz.  Franco is a marvelous leading man as he connects to the audience throughout this amazing journey.  He is a selfish and narcissist con-man who uses the same line in order to get women.  Sounds like a great guy, right?  Well after performing his usual magic act, Oscar flirts with the wrong woman and has to run for his life to escape her husband.  Oscar jumps on a hot air balloon and takes off thinking that he’s out of trouble.  Little does Oscar know that he’s headed right towards a tornado and he’s about to say goodbye to the familiarity of 1905 Kansas.  Although Oscar is not the poster boy for a gentleman, he is quite funny and charming.  When he learns that he could be the new king of Emerald City, Oscar explains, “Good thing green is my favorite color.”  The future of the people of Oz is resting on this deceitful magician.  Oscar just needs to find the goodness that is deep down inside of him and rid the land of the Wicked Witch.

“Oz'” is an excellent movie experience, with each minute of the two hours being quite captivating. Image taken from: cdn.breitbart.com

Mila Kunis as Theodora, Rachel Weisz as Evanora, and Michelle Williams as Glinda dazzle as three witches.  They work together as the leading ladies of the Land of Oz.  Each of them will try to convince the audience that they are the good witch while the others are bad, but who’s telling the truth?  While all three of them shine on screen, they don’t overpower one another.  Glinda must cope with the death of her father, the most recent king.  However, even during her coping she explains, “She only killed a man, not what he believed.”  The courage to overcome any obstacle is a main point throughout this film.  Theodora, Evanora, and Glinda guide the audience through twists and turns as they confront the struggles of living Oz.
Oz the Great and Powerful is a prequel to The Wizard of Oz.  There are some recognizable elements throughout the entire film that can be traced back to the original 1939 film.  From the horses of a different color in the background to the famous Yellow Brick Road, many people will notice these familiar pieces.  Even Oscar’s sidekick, Finley the monkey (voiced by Zach Braff), acts as the Cowardly Lion when he yells, “Somebody pulled my tail!”  The frail China doll, played by Joey King, is reminiscent of the Scarecrow found in the first film.  She may be fragile, but she has a will to conquer that is as fierce as the Wicked Witch.  The connections throughout this film can unite the audience to The Wizard of Oz.
The elaborate costumes and set pieces did not go unnoticed.  Gary Jones, the costume designer, dressed the cast in show stopping attire.  From Theodora’s cherry red jacket with matching hat to Evanora’s crystalized gown, the costumes were ones to envy.  The cinematography, credited to Peter Deming, exuded bright colors that can only be found in a bag of Skittles.  The whimsical overgrown flowers viewed against the bright blue sky is nothing shy of amazing.  Between the costumes and set, the audience gets taken away to Oz and you will not want to come back.
With powerful cinematography and underlying themes, “Oz the Great and Powerful” is worth a watch. Image taken from powerfulmovie.com

The grand music is original by Danny Elfman; and one of the best things about Oz the Great and Powerful is this enchanting music.  The beat it so powerful and sends chills down the spine.  As the evil flying baboons take flight through the sky, the tempo speeds up and only adds to the anticipation.  As Oz ventures to save the China doll who had her legs smashed, the terror of the Wicked Witch being near increases.  During those moments of fear, the music increases to leave an overwhelming scare as you travel through Oz the Great and Powerful.
Oz the Great and Powerful surpasses the average movie because it has multiple themes that are relatable.  As conflict with the Wicked Witch escalades, Oz knows that he has minimal time to save the people of Oz.  He realizes, “I might not be the wizard that you were expecting, but I may be the wizard that you need.”  This film teaches that everyone has some sort of talent that makes them special.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be super strength or magic that makes a person important.  Use the powers that you already have, no matter how small, and anyone can be a hero.
Oz the Great and Powerful was an endearing and charming film with an all-star cast.  The fantastic cinematography can draw the audience in so that they wish that this magical land actually existed.  The only question left is, just how hard is it to kill a Wicked Witch?
An intriguing movie poster for the film. Image taken from: collider.com

One Reply to “Follow the Yellow Brick Road

  1. Makes one want to go see it. Makes ME want to go anyway. Again, well written. A new name on the writing scene I see, and one to watch for in the future I suspect. Nice job!

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