Story

Oz the Great and Powerful is a prequel to the Wizard of Oz and tells the fantasy adventure of Oscar Diggs (James Franco). Oscar is a small-time magician whose life has been based on trickery, lies and manipulation. After being hurled from his home world into the vibrant land of Oz, he believes he has stumbled on a goldmine. The villagers tell him about a prophecy that says he will be king and entitled to claim countless riches. But his life gets complicated when he meets three beautiful witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams).

Oscar and Theodora are initially attracted to each other. But the beautiful witch changes into an old hag after her sister, the evil Evanora, manipulates her into believing that Oscar has fallen for another woman. The result is a dangerous battle of good versus evil. Evanora and Theodora go on a tyrannical rampage to murder both Oscar and Glinda because each wants to claim the throne for herself. Although Oscar has no real magical powers, in the final battle he uses his old tricks and illusions to change himself into not only the great and powerful Wizard of Oz, but also a man of decency and integrity.

Themes

The supernatural; self-acceptance and self-belief; good versus evil

Violence

This movie has limited and mostly fantasy violence. For example:

  • A large, muscular man bursts into Oscar’s dressing room after his circus performance, breaking the entire wall down. He appears furious with Oscar and says, ‘I’m gonna rip your head off, you’re a dead man!’
  • Evanora tells Theodora, ‘Deep down, you are wicked’. Theodora gets so angry she can’t control herself and accidentally shoots bolts of fire across the room. She shouts, ‘I’m not wicked!’ The magical bolts destroy part of the room and leave Theodora shaken.
  • Evanora sends her servants out to kill Oscar and Theodora. She stands on top of a tower at night, with loud thunder echoing through the sky, yelling, ‘I want them torn to shreds. Do not fail me a second time!’
  • Evanora and Theodora join forces to break through the wall of magic that protects Glinda and the good people of Oz. After they do this, they begin throwing magic balls of fire at the villagers, destroying the town.
  • During the final battle, Evanora holds Glinda captive. Evanora says to Glinda, ‘I’m going to wipe out your light until there is nothing left but darkness’. She then proceeds to torture Glinda, using bright green strobes of magic to electrocute her. This causes Glinda intense pain.

Content that may disturb children

Under 8

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:

  • In Oscar’s circus show, his female assistant seems to be possessed by magic. She floats above the ground and makes frightening noises. Members of the audience believe she is truly possessed by spirits, but we see Oscar’s assistant creating the fake noises and pulling wires in the background, faking the entire scene.
  • Oscar is in his hot air balloon and accidentally flies right into the centre of a hurricane. Bits of broken furniture start piercing his balloon. Oscar begs, ‘Please, I don’t want to die. I promise I can change. Give me a chance’. There is a brief moment of calm, then a giant flying object smashes the balloon with incredible force. It isn’t clear whether Oscar gets out alive.
  • After Oscar lands in Oz, Theodora tells him he should quickly get out of the river he is standing in, because of the dangerous ‘river fairies’. The fairies start biting Oscar. They have very sharp teeth and monstrous faces.
  • As Oscar and Theodora get to know each other, the ‘wicked witch’ Evanora sends her servant to kill them. In this scene, the creature is a shadowy figure that makes loud growling noises. Later, its large claws come into frame, and it flies off with large bat-like wings.
  • Oscar and his assistant Finley come across a town in Oz that has been totally destroyed by the wicked witch and her servants. They come across a crying girl, whose legs – which are made entirely of china – have been shattered. She is in tears and says, ‘I’ll never get back together’. Oscar is really upset and glues her legs back on for her.
  • As Oscar walks towards the entrance of a scary forest with his friend, China Girl, two crows caw and scarily say, ‘You’ll die! You’ll die!’ The scene turns from day into night, and many pairs of glowing yellow eyes suddenly appear behind them. Eventually, the monsters hiding in the trees start attacking them, trying to bite them with their large teeth. Oscar and China Girl begin running for their lives.
  • Theodora cries when Evanora tells her that Oscar has fallen for another woman. Evanora’s tears burn scars down her face and into her cheeks.
  • Evanora offers Theodora an apple to help get rid of her pain and says, ‘One bite and your heart will become impenetrable’. After Theodora takes a bite, her heart begins physically withering away. Evanora says, ‘Soon, you will feel nothing at all except beautiful wickedness’. Theodora stumbles and falls over, until her hand comes back into shot. It’s now green and scaly, with hideous black claws. She stands up fully and we see her in silhouette. Her nose and chin are pointed. She puts on a witch’s hat and laughs in a crazy way.
  • During the final battle, Glinda breaks Evanora’s emerald necklace. This makes Evanora change back into her true, hideous and monstrous form. 

From 8-13

Younger children in this age group might be scared by some of the scenes mentioned above. 

Over 13

Nothing of concern 

Sexual references

This movie has a few sexual references. For example:

  • During the rehearsal for his stage show, Oscar practises kissing the woman he plans to use in his performance. He nearly kisses her but is interrupted by his assistant.
  • To make Theodora jealous, Evanora tells Theodora that she can still feel Oscar’s body pressed against hers. She says how he went to her chambers in the middle of the night and danced with her. 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

None of concern 

Nudity and sexual activity

This movie has some sexual activity. For example, there is an immediate attraction between Oscar and Theodora when they meet for the first time. Oscar asks her to dance and kisses her while they dance. 

Product placement

None of concern 

Coarse language

None of concern 

Ideas to discuss with your children

Oz the Great and Powerful is the story of how a small-time magician becomes the Wizard of Oz. It’s a story of friendship, love and personal growth.

The movie is a fantasy adventure about Oscar and his friends as they struggle against the odds to defeat two evil witches. But the movie also follows Oscar’s development as a man. Learning the meaning of responsibility and integrity, Oscar becomes what he has always thought of as impossible – not a great man, but a good one.

The movie features supernatural themes and evil witches, and its fantasy violence and scary characters make it unsuitable for children under eight years. We also recommend parental guidance for children under 13 years. At 130 minutes, it’s a very long movie for children to sit through.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include the following:

  • Always believe in yourself, and don’t doubt your ability to achieve things that seem difficult or impossible.
  • Being a ‘good’ person is far better than trying to be a ‘great’ or famous person.
  • Relying on friends is important – you don’t need to tackle every challenge on your own.