A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Lion are all, at times, handicapped by self-imposed fears and insecurities, and they all manage to overcome these burdens and discover their hidden strengths.
Positive Role Models
Dorothy, a shy teacher who's lived her entire life within a few miles of home, finds an amazing new world, Oz, and in the process is inspired to broaden her own horizons in her real life in New York City. Like the original film, this is a movie about learning how to tap into the strengths that may lurk undiscovered inside you.
Violence & Scariness
Some of the bad guys can be pretty creepy and the Wicked Witch is definitely bad news, though the fight scenes, such as they are, are more like ominous dance sequences than actual fisticuffs.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this musical retelling of the classic story, The Wizard of Oz, features an all African-American cast and songs with a contemporary (well, 1970s, anyway) flair. The big numbers are catchy, and though some of the villains seem a bit more creepy and threatening than the original film, it's still good, family fun. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Though the film sometimes feels dated, The Wiz is fun to watch with its almost steampunk-y, New York City-like take on Oz, and the songs are supremely danceable. Its takeaways still resonate after all these years, too, and the cast is unforgettable. How can one resist Michael Jackson as the scarecrow? Nipsey Russell is the Tin Man; Lena Horne is Glinda, and Richard Pryor makes a memorable wizard.
The Wiz is both familiar to anyone who's seen The Wizard of Oz (that's just about everyone) and not, with its revamped look and pop-funk-Broadway style song-and-dance numbers. It's a story that will resonate, but it also goes a bit beyond. The original story is about a girl who just wants to go home; this one's about a girl who grows up and realizes that there's more to the world beyond her front door -- both wonderful lessons.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.