Okay, so the intro quote is a BIG cliche, but my Momma used to tell me this all the time; in fact, I think it's fair to say the original Wizard of Oz is easily one of the most identifiable feature films of all time. If you stop to think of all the media references to key elements (think the yellow brick road and ruby slippers), or even those throughout your own life, you'll probably find this film as iconic as me. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is first most a novel by celebrated author Frank L. Baum, published in 1900, and later adapted first for the stage in 1902, with the classic American film following suit in 1939. The majority of this is common knowledge worldwide, though very few recent generations are aware that there is an entire world of stories, 13 to be exact, based on the characters within, and written by Mr. Baum. The majority of these stories remain fairly short reads, and chronicle simple tales of the arrival and coming to be of those Oz inhabitants we all know and love so much.
Now, it wouldn't be a trip to Oz without an exciting visit to the local media capital, Hollywood, where we were set to see Oz The Great and Powerful in Disney Real D at one of the grandest theater houses (in my humble opinion), the El Capitan. For those not lucky enough to be local, the El Capitan is a Disney exclusive theater nestled next to the Disney Soda Shoppe and Gift Store. Originally a grandiose playhouse, opened in 1926 by real estate developer Charles Toberman (the Father of Hollywood), the El Capitan is gorgeously styled in classical theater-house design, and has hosted a myriad of noted actors such as personal favorite Clark Gable. When one attends a digital screening of a Disney film there today they are treated to a pre-show string of Disney songs played atop the in house Wurlitzer Theater Organ, which is often followed by a live show trying into the feature film. I fear my words do not paint a beautiful enough picture of this wonderfully colorful, and arguably magical, venue that seems lost in time and the perfect setting for Oz.
While the rolling scenes of Bubble Travel, Mysterious Mists, and Tornado Tumbling Balloons are set amidst gorgeously painted backdrops and interactive environments, I did feel some of the film's more darker moments were a bit too intense. 10 year-old Sabrina, who watches Zombie films and The Walking Dead, was caught multiple times with her fingers in her ears and wincing at the over-zealous and quite terrifying flying minions (baboons) of the Evil Witch. Also a bit heart-pounding is the Tornado sequence which features many instances of loud noises followed by piercing 3D effects. As someone who does not consider herself sensitive to 'scare tactics' and loud noises, these sequences were equally bothersome for me, and I found myself wishing them over quickly. On a lighter note, the choice (and, really was there any other consideration?) to have the film scored by accredited Danny Elfman truly brought the beautiful characters, makeup, and landscape to life, and helps make the more magical moments of this film more, well, magical.
Oz The Great and Powerful is a much more cinematic endeavor into the world of Oz, but loveable characters like Finley and even China Girl really helped ease the sharpness of Mila Kunis (almost over-the top acting job) and James Franco's jovial presence.
So, is it worth the $13+ average admission price for a 3D Digital Ticket? In my opinion, I could wait a week or two for the buzz to settle down, and still have enjoyed it just as much. I do wish this was offered in a non-3d format, where I feel I might enjoy the costumes and landscape more, without the distraction of digital parlor tricks, but the characters are loveable, and Sabrina seemed to truly enjoy it. In fact, she has been reading the book all week! So long as you hit your set with an open mind to a modern adaptation of a literature classic, you'll be sure to let loose with laughter at Finley's lighthearted jokes, and find yourself anticipating the announcement of the next film.
What Daughter Says: Oz The Great and Powerful is one modern adaptation of beloved classic literature that passes my strict standards.
As Required by The FTC: My family was invited to a pre-screening of the above film. No other compensation was offered. Regardless, all opinions within are mine and mine alone. Screen captures are courtesy of Disney Studios and subject to relevant copyrights.