ImageWhen Disney gets ahold of a classic narrative, you just know they will do something truly special with it. Tonight I was allowed to screen “Oz the Great and Powerful”. Special doesn’t even begin to cover what this movie is.

Confession time people: I am a HUGE “Wizard of Oz” fan. I have read the books and I pretty much have the movie memorized. I tell you this so you understand my bias in writing this review.

Let’s start with the basics. The screening I went to was in 3D. Now, I’ve seen “Avatar”, “Tron:Legacy” and “Superman” in this format. All were fantastic, but they have NOTHING on the use of 3D in “Oz”. The opening credits alone are worth the price of admission, but then…oh my…then you enter Oz and the spell binding artistry takes it to a whole new level.

To say that “Oz” is a pretty movie is an understatement. From mountains, to raging rivers, to the Emerald City, each frame is a new feast for the eyes. I felt like I saw colors that I never knew existed in a land that even my best dreams couldn’t conjure. Truly, Disney outdid themselves in the effects department.

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Now to the plot of this film. It is the story of how the Wizard ended up in Oz, what he had to do to prove himself worthy and (of course) the tale of the Wicked Witch. There are old familiar characters made new like Glinda and the Munchkins. Even though you know what they are like in the original, these representations are fabulous, albeit quite different!

Overall, the movie kept a good pace and engaged the audience fully. What the plot lacked was made up for in the performances and the visual effects. The only true critique I can give is the end of the film. No, no spoilers here, but it seemed as if they weren’t sure how to finalize the events, so they created three endings…and put the audience through them all. It was the only time I felt the movie dragged at all, which is a shame.

For parents looking to take their little ones, I say not under the age of 7 at least. There are some scary moments and the winged monkeys are quite terrifying. There is some adult humor, but it would go over most kids heads. That being said, I believe this is a great family movie. Something for everyone!

On a five star rating system, I would give this 3.5…maybe 4. The references to Baum’s original books and the 1939 film are seamless and fun for a fan. Even though we all know essentially how this story will end, they did a good job keeping you in suspense throughout. A few script issues and the ending issue keep me from going full fan girl and giving it a 5.

With money being tight nowadays, I know people are being choosy about the movies they go see in the theater. DON’T miss this one on the big screen!!! It is made to be seen that way! And spring for the 3D too. You won’t be disappointed.

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