Friday, March 8, 2013

Movie Screening: "Oz The Great and Powerful"

Earlier this week JAM and I had the opportunity to attend a movie screening a little differently this time around. Usually we get free passes like I talked about in my previous post about movie screenings, and we'd have to arrive 2 hours early to wait in a line to insure that we'd get good seats. This time around we were invited to sit in the "sacred" Press section, which are prime seats that are front and center. These seats are usually blocked off by the fancy red velvet rope and people wish they could sit there since they're some of the best seats in the house. Well, this time around JAM and I got to cross that rope and enjoy an advanced screening of the new Disney movie, "Oz The Great and Powerful". Here's a little synopsis about the movie if you haven't heard about it yet:

Disney’s fantastical adventure “Oz The Great and Powerful,” directed by Sam Raimi, imagines the origins of L. Frank Baum’s beloved wizard character. When Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he’s hit the jackpot—fame and fortune are his for the taking—that is until he meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone’s been expecting. Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity—and even a bit of wizardry—Oscar transforms himself not only into the great wizard but into a better man as well.

We got to watch this movie in 3D, which JAM loves so he's been looking forward to this screening for a couple of weeks. He hasn't seen the original 'Wizard of Oz' movie so he didn't know what to expect except whatever he's seen in the movie trailers on TV. If haven't seen it like Jam, however, this movie is great on it's own so I don't feel like you'd need to see 'Wizard of Oz' in order to understand this movie. I have to say, this movie surprisingly exceeded my expectations, but also caught me off guard in negative ways as well. I guess it shouldn't come as a surprise that the visual effects and animation were amazing with today's technological capabilities and Disney's quest to always go above and beyond. The movie did a great job at making things look so vivid and eye-catching. The storyline was great and intriguing the whole way through, but much of the humor was for the mature mind in my opinion. I honestly didn't expect to laugh as much as I did, but JAM didn't seem to understand the jokes as much. If he was laughing it was because the characters were being goofy not because he understood the puns of the gestures. I naturally love James Franco movies and when I asked JAM what his favorite parts of the movie were, they all had to do with Franco's character. He definitely did a great job playing Oz. My favorite character was the flying monkey, Finley (voiced by Zach Braff). He was most of the reason why I was laughing throughout the movie, plus he's just so cute!
©Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved..

On the flip side, I was surprised at how many scary parts there were. Being a Disney movie, I assumed that it would be kid-friendly but in my opinion there was a lot of scary noises and scenes. Disney did warn us at the end of their movie trailers that some scenes may be too intense for kids, but it got to the point where I caught JAM covering his eyes and ears through those parts of the movies. I get that they're trying to make the effects come to life with vibrant sound effects but I think some of it could have been turned down just a bit. I mean, I even jumped out of my seat a few times. For example, If you've watched the 'Wizard of Oz' then you understand the flying baboons. In "Oz The Great and Powerful" it was just a little too evil and aggressive for a kid's movie in my opinion. The same with the wicked witch scenes. JAM is about to be seven years old this summer, and I don't think I would take any kids younger than JAM to this movie. It would be a lot of fun if I brought my best friend or someone who is a tween and older though. 

Regardless, all in all JAM and I had a great time. On the way home he was raving about all the funny parts and we were quoting the movie until bedtime. If you enjoy the original 'Wizard of Oz' as much as I do, grab your gal pal and check out this movie. It's definitely a must see! It has a great A-list cast who pulls off each of their characters amazingly, the visual effects are beautiful, and the storyline had you intrigued from beginning to end. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

“Oz The Great and Powerful” opens in U.S. theaters on March 8, 2013.