Guardians of Oz

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Guardians of Oz Movie Poster Image
Action-packed adventure has peril, violence, name-calling.
  • PG
  • 2017
  • 86 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Meant to entertain, not educate. Based on characters from L. Frank Baum.

Positive Messages

"With a little heart, courage, and brains, you can do anything." A bully has no power unless given power ... by victims or by willing accomplices. Facing up to a bully neutralizes his or her strength.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Ozzy and Gabby, two leading characters, exhibit courage, determination, and compassion. Wicked witch is 100 percent evil.

Violence & Scariness

Cartoon action throughout: swooping assaults by winged monkeys, a cackling witch menacing the heroes in multiple scenes, laser attacks, puffs of green smoke, battles, a raging lion, kidnapping, fires, a dungeon, falls, punching. Monsters and assorted scary creatures threaten.

Sexy Stuff
Language

Name-calling: "imbecile," "pea-brain," "stupid," "nitwit," "nincompoop," "chicken," "monkey butt," "lazy butt." Some potty references: "poopsies," "doo-doo."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Guardians of Oz is an animated adventure (a joint production from Mexico and India, re-voiced in English) told from the point of view of good guy Ozzy, one of the littlest winged monkeys. Set well after the original story with Dorothy and company, this tale restores the power of the Wicked Witch of the West, wreaking havoc in the Emerald City, and involves the familiar heroes -- the Lion, the Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion. Whereas the iconic movie had some scary moments, this new tale is all about the action. Villains cackle, roar, attack, threaten, and cast spells throughout. There are battles, falls, swooping monkey assaults, a beastly monster, and captured heroes. Familiar messages about courage, standing up to bullies, and teamwork are incorporated to balance the tumult. The witch uses insults as weapons (i.e., "imbecile," "nincompoop," "pea-brain"). The film is not appropriate for young or especially sensitive kids who struggle with discerning real-vs.-imaginary violence.

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What's the story?

When Glinda the Good Witch decides to give Eviline (Ambyr Childers), the Wicked Witch of the West, a second chance, all manner of mayhem breaks out in GUARDIANS OF OZ. Eviline wields her renewed power -- contained in a magic broom -- over everyone, casting spells upon the heroes of the Emerald City, the Lion, the Tin Woodman, and the Scarecrow, and even changing Gibraltar, the leader of her pack of winged monkeys, into a chicken. What Eviline didn't count on was Ozzy (Mikey Bolts), the small but gutsy son of Gibraltar, who steals the broom in an effort to thwart the evil villainess. It's a cat-and-mouse chase throughout the land, as Ozzy and his co-conspirator, Gabby (Jenn McAllister), Glinda's spirited niece, try to undo the spells Eviline has cast, keep the broom from her wicked grasp, and save the kingdom once again.

Is it any good?

Noisy, busy, and action-packed, this film descends from the magical world of the Emerald City into a routine tale in which a witch cackles and casts spells as some unlikely heroes try to stop her. Despite the film's good credentials -- Jorge Gutierrez, who wrote and directed the well-received, full-length animated feature The Book of Life, is the co-writer and character designer of Guardians of Oz -- the filmmakers who adapted this movie for English-speaking audiences opted for popular internet personalities to voice the main characters. They do not fare well, and in combination with other weak performances, the result is a grating, amateurish effort. The frequent cartoon action and mayhem make it inappropriate for young kids.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the continuing popularity of The Wizard of Oz and all its magical characters. Think about what makes the movie so special (i.e., music, comic performances). Does Guardians of Oz carry on the traditions of the original? Why, or why not?

  • What is meant by the notion that the Wicked Witch of the West has no power unless others give it to her? Why is it important to stand up to a bully? And why must those she believes are her "followers" do the right thing?

  • Ozzy first says that he is "not strong, not smart, not brave." How does Gabby help him find his own best self? Think of one of your friends or family members who has helped you become stronger. How did he or she accomplish that? Can you think of a time when you've been able to help another person in that way?

Movie details

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For kids who love adventure and fantasy

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