Film Capsule: Oz the Great and Powerful

The primary bone of contention surrounding the release of Disney’s Oz this week had very little to do with storylines or big-name actors. Instead, most media outlets felt compelled, if not hell-bent, to zero in on new reports that Disney’s prequel was forbidden use of any property from Warner’s original Wizard of Oz movie … a restriction that not only limited the new film’s possibility, but also led skeptics to question Disney’s motives.

And yet, Sam Raimi’s new Oz overwhelmingly succeeds because it acknowledges all that pretense from the get-go. Keep in mind, the fresh young Wizard is really nothing but a fraud who gives great strength to desperate masses, the devil is an heiress masquerading as a princess, shady hucksters make their fortunes based on murder and deception, and the whole economy is based on building the complex machinery of war. We’re experiencing a brave new Oz here, one in which the constant goal is to convince the lifelong loyalists that you’ve found their true messiah.

I mean, there are some weak points, to be sure. But they all seem very minor in comparison. And so I’ll simply recommend that you go and see this movie. For according to the Great and Powerful Oz, an audience’s only true responsibility is that it “show up, keep up, and shut up.”

Seems like a pretty decent way to spend a Friday.

Zim-zala-bim.

Merry Christmas and Good Night.

Oz