By Veronica Shipway, SCS eighth grader
One of the first movies to come out in 2013, “Oz, the Great and Powerful,” is a great movie for all ages. Directed By Sam Raimi and starring James Franco as Oz; Mila Kunis as Theodora, The Wicked Witch; and Rachel Weisz as Evanora , also a wicked witch, this two and a half hour movie adds a whole new layer to the mythology of the land of Oz.
A shifty magician in a traveling circus, Oz is a conman, tricking people into believing the impossible by using the sleight of hand. Oz is a master of manipulation and lying, that is, until the world’s strongest man and a crazy clown figure out his schemes and begin to chase after him. Oz climbs into a hot air balloon and makes a narrow escape, cutting himself loose and floating away from the traveling circus he has learned to call home. He is only relieved for a minute before he realizes that he is on a direct path towards a raging tornado. If you have ever seen “The Wizard of Oz,” you know what that means.
Oz is sent into a new and extravagant land, full of new sights that were before unimaginable. As he lands, he is greeted by a witch named Theodora, who quickly tells him that he is a prophet, and that if he defeats the wicked witch, he will become king. Excited by the possibility of riches and power, Oz goes along with the idea, lying at every possible moment. Theodora explains that he is the wizard from another land, and insists that he meet her sister, who has been waiting for the prophecy to become true. Along the way, they meet a flying monkey by the name of Finley, who quickly joins the gang. As they finally make their way into the Emerald City and into the throne room, they meet Evanora, who is Theodora’s older sister. The only way to kill the wicked witch, she explains, is to steal her wand and break it in half. Oz quickly agrees, only thinking about the gold and the wealth that he will have afterwards.
Oz begins traveling once again, in search of the wicked witch, who, when he finds her, turns out not to be so wicked at all. Oz runs into Glinda, the good witch, who explains that she had been framed and sent away from the Emerald city, and that Evanora is the true wicked witch. Things quickly begin to escalate out of control, from Evanora tricking her sister into becoming another wicked witch, to Oz suddenly having to run an entire army of Munchkins, farmers, and tinkers. All believe him to be a magical and powerful wizard, when in reality he is simply a circus magician with only a few tricks up his sleeve. With the right mix of compassion, wit, and humor, this movie adds yet another layer of history to the extravagant land of Oz.
From the bright and decorated mountain tops as Oz flies over the new land, to the mysterious and foggy cemetery where he finds Glinda, the color themes find ways to keep your eyes wandering and seeing something new every time you watch. The movie uses a lot of bright colors and interesting camera angles, which are used in many different ways, and only add to the quirky and out of place feeling. Even though this movie has been rated as PG, it might be scary for some of its youngest viewers (especially during the haunted forest scene), but it can still be considered a great movie for the entire family. With strong characters with crazy personalities, this movie relates to everyday scenarios, and has a powerful underlying message to be yourself and not who others believe you to be.