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.
- 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?