Top 5 Oz-tacular Moments in Disney’s Oz the Great and Powerful

I was recently treated to two screenings of the highly anticipated Oz the Great and Powerful (one through the Disney Parks Blog’s Oz Meet-Up and a media screening). When deciding how I would put my thoughts about the movie into words, some things kept popping out at me. Eye Candy.

Oz the Great and Powerful
Rainbow Sparkle Clouds!

Here are the 5 pieces of eye-candy I enjoyed while watching Oz the Great and Powerful: {there will be spoilers in the review below, proceed at your own risk!}

  1. Rainbows
  2. Sparkly Rainbow Cloud Fog
  3. Rainbow Horses
  4. Giant Shimmery Bubbles
  5. Sparkly Giant Emeralds

Did I mention rainbows? I’m only sort of joking with the above list; after seeing Oz the Great and Powerful twice, I realized that what I enjoyed most about the film was how pretty it was in parts. The way the opening scenes are handled, in black and white and in a smaller screen, are of course a nod to the original Wizard of Oz, and a nice contrast to the vibrant colors of the land of Oz. That’s not to say there isn’t more to the movie than its pretty looks (although I couldn’t stop staring at Theodora and Glinda’s eye make-up and wondering if they used Urban Decay) but overall I think the visuals are what carry the film.

We know the story of the Wizard of Oz; now with Oz the Great and Powerful we are sort of deconstructing exactly what made The Wizard who he is, and how the Wicked Witch came to be. While the first quarter of the movie is necessary to establish just the kind of selfish, greedy, self-serving cad Oscar Diggs is, it does drag a bit. Even when he first arrives in Oz and is exposed to the wondrous sites and sounds of such an unusual universe, the whole scene really serves no purpose other than to show off some cool effects.

When we pass the reeds in the river and they bend to make a sound, I instantly thought of the sound of the carnival organ that had flown past Oscar in the balloon, which would go along with the whole “it’s just a dream…” theme that the Wizard of Oz used. Combined with Finley the monkey being Oscar’s assistant from the carnival, the China Doll being the girl in the wheelchair, and of course Glinda, it would make sense that this fantastical world was all in Oscar’s head as he was knocked out from the effects of the twister. But it is never established or confirmed that Oz is just a dream. Perhaps because of the possibility of future sequels…either way, it was odd to have those elements and then not to explain them or develop them further. The river fairies were another example of this. Cute, somewhat funny, but they really have no point in the film as we see them for 30 seconds. It just felt a little forced, as if we were supposed to view Oz as a Wonderland sort of place, but nothing was ever really delved into more than a very cursory visual. Another thing that was never really established or explained in the film was where these witches came from and why Evanora is evil, as well as what makes Theodora evil, even before she changes, though she doesn’t realize it. Perhaps these are questions which will be answered in future films…

Oz the Great and Powerful
I loved this homage to the Wizard of Oz with the iconic first viewing of the Emerald City.

Once Oz gets his quest, and repairs China Doll (why doesn’t she get a name?!) and Finley joins them as they find Glinda, then the story really gets moving and I enjoyed the film a lot more. Up until that point, Oscar Diggs is not a very likeable guy, which is the point. Once he finds his passion, he leaves his selfish ways behind and finally does the right thing.

Of course it’s too late by then and he has incurred the wrath of the true Wicked Witch and her sister. The final battle scenes against the wicked sisters are really fun and well-played. Plus we get to see more rainbow cloud fog! It was a relief to see Oscar become The Wizard and do right by the citizens of Oz, though we have to wonder, did he really learn his lesson with women? He seems to have been humbled elsewhere and learned important lessons about friendship and family, and true magic, and that was lovely.

The 3-D effects within the film were really wonderful. Usually I leave a 3-D film not even realizing what I just watched was in 3-D, because it’s just sort of there. But in Oz, you definitely experience the 3-D and it makes it all the more exciting and adventurous when those scenes happen.

Oz the Great and Powerful
Some of the beautiful visuals in the land of Oz

Another star of the movie was the soundtrack. When the film opens, the very detailed, animated title sequence has a beautiful song behind it, which is then interwoven throughout the film. Danny Elfman really does a great job of giving Oz the Great and Powerful
a unique soundtrack, while instilling his signature sound too. I would definitely purchase the soundtrack to listen to. {For those visiting Epcot any time during the Flower and Garden Festival, you can hear the soundtrack playing in the Oz garden on the walkway from World Showcase to the East side of Future World. It’s worth a listen!}

Overall, I enjoyed the movie, despite its slow or underdeveloped parts. We were definitely left with an open enough ending to allow for a sequel or two, so I do hope it is successful enough to warrant that, so we can see the growth of all the characters. Oz the Great and Powerful opens today in theatres everywhere. I’d love to hear what you think when you see the film!

Disclosure: I attended a media screening of Oz the Great and Powerful. My opinions are my own.