Box art for Oz The Great and Powerful

  Oz The Great and Powerful

  • Rated PG
  • HD and SD formats available

action & adventure

The never-before-told fantastical adventure with an all-star cast.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

ON for kids age 10
3 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
1 out of 5
2 out of 5
Positive messages
3 out of 5
Positive role models
3 out of 5
2 out of 5
3 out of 5

Colorful prequel is scarier, less magical than the original.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that Oz the Great and Powerful is considerably darker and more intense than The Wizard of Oz. While it pays tribute to the original film, the main character this time is an adult, rather than a girl, and the themes are accordingly more mature. For much of the movie, Oz (James Franco) is a selfish, egotistical ladies' man; he flirts to get his way and ends up kissing four different characters. (He also says "damn" a couple of times.) And if the Wicked Witch's flying monkeys in the 1939 classic frightened your kids, the flying baboons in this prequel may terrify them (particularly in 3-D), as will the general cruelty of the evil characters and the plight of the orphaned China Girl. Glinda is also briefly tortured (via magical lightning), and there's an intense twister scene and several "jump" moments that are especially startling in the 3-D version. The Wicked Witch's transformation is creepy, though ultimately she doesn't look quite as scary as the original. On the bright side, the movie offers a lasting lesson about how teamwork and friendship between unlikely allies can overcome obstacles and how a person's legacy lives on in people's hearts and minds.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about Oz the Great and Powerful's scary scenes. What makes it scarier than the original? Does the fact that it's a fantasy story make it any less scary? Why or why not?
  • Some critics have complained that the wizard isn't a very likeable character. Do you agree? Were you still rooting for him? Why?
  • How does Oz the Great and Powerful compare to the 1939 original (and, if you're familiar with it, the musical Wicked)? Do you think it's meant for the same age kids?
  • Do you think Hollywood should have revisited the story of Oz, even if it wasn't an actual remake?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Top Critic Reviews

Rotten: Oz] qualifies as a cautionary tale, not about the perils of ambition and selfishness, but about the movie industry's misguided belief that it can distract the audience from a film's narrative weaknesses with little more than flash and spectacle.

- Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, Thursday, March 7, 2013

Rotten: Oz the Great and Powerful tells the story of how the Wizard came to Oz, answering a question I suspect no one was asking, but with considerable digital wizardry.

- Bob Mondello, NPR, Thursday, March 7, 2013

Rotten: Oz the Great and Powerful somehow manages to be both slavish to its hallowed template (when convenient) and completely tone-deaf to the magic that made it a one-of-a-kind cultural milestone.

- Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News, Friday, March 8, 2013

Audience Reviews

4 stars

Who would have guessed that the iconic director of the Evil Dead -trilogy actually ends up being a director in a Disney production. While some, or maybe very many, had their doubts towards director Sam Raimi and his take on a world of Oz, it comes as a quite surprise that this is actulally Raimi's finest film to date. Oz the Great and Powerful is a fantastic mixture of CGI, live-action and other cinematic tricks. Actually Raimi has turned his take on a Oz into a big loveletter to a cinema itself. Film begins with a lovingly created black and with sequence which introduces us the Oz the wizard and his assistant. They work in a circus and earn money with their bag of magical tricks. None of these tricks are actually real but they are impressive enough to make living for both of them. Then a series of events makes the wizard an refugee and he escapes from the circus with unfortunate results. His escape with a big balloon throws him straight in the middle of the tornado and he has just enough time to make his final wish before the storm tears him apart. What happens after then can be seen as a kind of afterlife for our magician or just plain fantasy story with endless imagination. This is one of the first masterstrokes in this succesfull adaptation. Another is the brilliant production desig of the world of Oz which has to be one of the greates fantasy worlds ever created on a film. This is world full of witches, strange talking creatures and enchanting places like Emerald City or the perfectly eerie Dark Forest. It is quite awesome what Raimi has pulled off here. He has made his vision alive in a way that not many other artists could have not. While Peter Jackon's The Hobbit might still be the greatest looking 3D-film ever created, Raimi's film comes straight after that as a second best. The cast plays their roles intentionally over the top and the characters are obvious caricatures. Michelle Williams and Rachel Weisz are the film's most richest characters as opposite witches with different agendas. Mila Kunis is also delicious as Theodora the Witch, but at times it feels that she is not completely comfortable in her role. If there is a one major flaw in this film, then it is James Franco as a Oz the Magician. Franco is terribly miscast here and his performance seems too forced and too calculated most of the time. Franco cannot gain enough sympahty for his character and that is a shame. Overall Raimi has done marvelous job here. His camera, and Peter Deming cinematography, does wonders here. There are some of the trademark shots from Raimi to be found here also. Those who are familiar his stylistics with Evil Dead films will notice these elements. When it comes to fantasy films it is quite difficult to make them as more entertaining than here. While Oz the Great and Powerful is not a film wihtout it's flaws it still is a great ride and good entertainment for the whole family.

- emilkakko, Sunday, May 12, 2013

4 stars

Sam Raimi and James Franco are back together again! and at no loss. Returning to the land of Oz to tell the wizards story, they spare no expense in making this their own, yes some of its familiar; Munchkins, the Emerald City, Flying Monkeys. But the unique design lets Raimi roam free in the land of Oz, and make a spectacular family friendly journey. The cast is well rounded, with a leading man out of James Franco creating a very new visage, one he rarely dives in to. Though the acting can at times feel overly cheesy, this movie is in no way near bad, and I'd definitely suggest it on your own or with family

- fb674646753, Friday, April 5, 2013

2 stars

I presume this film must be made up of various bits n bobs from Baum's sequel books as I don't believe there was a prequel story/book written. All his stories were set after the original 'Wizard of Oz' so I'm guessing this must be a lot of artistic license?. Back to Oz we go, for the third time, question is, is this adventure as good as the previous two?. The first is a silver screen classic, the second was a dark but highly imaginative twist with superb characters. This time we re-enter Oz guided by horror maestro Sam Raimi...and boy can you see it. First impressions were simply, they're copying the original, starting off in black n white then bursting into colour once we reach Oz, cute, but its been done. The main thing you notice is obviously the visuals, upon touchdown in Oz we are greeted with (as expected) huge splashes of colour and shiny things, a glistening Emerald City, colourful animals, clear blue skies and perfect fairytale costumes. I must admit they have recreated the look of the classic original nicely. The yellow brick road looks great, the familiar scenery of fields and wooden fences hark back nicely to when we saw 'Dorothy' walk past them and we have all the chirpy quirkiness of the 'Munchkins'. I won't deny there are some lovely landscape's on display, rainbow skylines and the weird and wonderful flowers n fauna of Oz dazzling your optical senses. It just a damn shame the CGI is so utterly average throughout with awful bluescreen/artificially superimposed actors against it. What's so stupid is the fact 'Oz' lands in the land of Oz and within five minutes he's been brought to the Emerald City, hailed as the new King and sent off on this mission. Everyone thinks he's this wizard sent to save Oz and without a doubt the King. So 'The wizard' (played poorly by Franco) goes off on his mission to destroy the evil witch and picks up a few odd friends along the way to help him. An annoying, flying, bad CGI monkey and a sweet yet gradually annoying little girl doll made of china...nice idea, nicely envisioned, but her lippy personality isn't funny. Kinda sounds familiar no? regular dude dumped in a strange fantasy world, now he's gotta save that world. 'Army of Dar'...naah couldn't be. The other thing that got me was the fact Kunis' character falls for 'Oz' the minute she sees him. Then when he goes off to find the evil witch she gets all upset, so much so that when she finds out he's flirting with the other witch he's suppose to destroy, she turns to evil!. So she's a bit delicate then! falls in love, gets heart broken and turns to the dark side all within a few hours of meeting some guy!. To be honest I really don't think Raimi was the right choice to direct this film. It swings from being quite sweet in places as it should be, to some outright soft horror moments! Raimi clearly not being able to resist his 'Evil Dead' days. The flying baboons are pretty darn scary for kids if you ask me, since when did the evil witches flying hordes get some monstrous?!!. Then there's Weisz's ending...whoa! oh and graveyards? really?. The acting is also dreadful, yes I realise its a sweet fable but come on, Franco is terrible and totally miscast (still at least its a change from seeing Depp who I'm sure was gonna pop up at any moment). The guy has no charm no wonder and he's not funny, he plays it too snively for this character, he's unlikeable. Kunis is made up waaaay too much for the green skinned evil witch, she's sexy for pete's sake! the evil witch ain't suppose to give the adult male audience a bonner. Plus I gotta say she seems really really violence obsessed here, wanting to tear her enemies apart and make the yellow brick road run red with the blood of the goodies...jesus! kids film here. The only people who actually look the part and put in a good show are all the extras playing 'Munchkins' 'Quadlings' 'Tinkers' and 'Winkie Guards', miles better than the main cast, I guess. I think the problem here is the film can't quite decide what direction to go in. Its not entirely an innocent sweet musical like the original and its not as character driven or imaginative as 'Return to Oz'. Being a typical modern film they just can't help themselves with over the top effects, silly action, the odd explosion, lots of talk of death and killing and way too much hokey sterile CGI. The film even turns into 'Star Wars' at the end with a dark side force lighting battle. On top of this the film seems to border on being almost a parody of the material source, too much of a comedy, too much mockery of the material eg. when the Munchkins try break out in song 'Oz' shouts at them to stop as if to say 'lets not go down the soppy wet musical route'. Its not as bad as the Burton 'Alice in Wonderland' fiasco but it sure as hell comes close CGI wise. On the whole Oz does look nice when using real sets and real objects but that's it. Like other sequels/prequels of old franchises they manage to recreate the look of the old films brilliantly, but the rest of the content is just very average and merely shows how good the older films are. There are now talks of a sequel! how can there be a sequel?!.

- phubbs1, Tuesday, April 2, 2013