Parents' Guide to

Oz the Great and Powerful

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Colorful prequel is scarier, less magical than the original.

Movie PG 2013 130 minutes
Oz the Great and Powerful Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 28 parent reviews

age 10+

Good movie

age 9+

Not so great

A little scary

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (28 ):
Kids say (98 ):

Considering The Wizard of Oz's ironclad status as a Hollywood classic, there's no way any movie about Oz could come close to matching the magic of that masterpiece; this one certainly doesn't. Director Sam Raimi's $200 million prequel boasts elaborate visuals, stomach-flipping action sequences, and swooping shots of the colorful landscape, not to mention a capable cast. But even with three fabulous actresses as the witches and two adorable sidekicks (the monkey and the China Girl), Franco's Oz himself lacks the emotional impact that Judy Garland's Dorothy so beautifully conveyed.

The fact that Oz is a shallow womanizer who transforms (ever so slowly) into a worthy defender of the land that bears his name isn't nearly as compelling as the story of an orphaned Kansas farm girl who desperately wants to find her way home. Oz -- quite unlikable at first -- doesn't want a home, and he doesn't want to be good; he wants to be great. Greatness in this film is courtesy of the supporting characters, but Franco, while perfectly suited for Oz' smarmy trickster, has trouble pulling off the more heroic acts necessary in the third act. Visually, Raimi offers viewers a true spectacle (like the unforgettable sequence in which a character transforms into the green-skinned Wicked Witch of the West), but the magic you felt when you heard "Over the Rainbow" for the first time or saw Dorothy skipping down the Yellow Brick Road? It's just not there this time around.

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