Oz the Great and Powerful

First slide

Lush visuals and sly humor boost this 3-D prequel to the 1939 classic "The Wizard of Oz" - based, like its predecessor, on the writings of L. Frank Baum. A small-time carnival magician (James Franco) finds his life transformed when a Kansas tornado transports him to the magical Land of Oz. There, he discovers that both his arrival and his eventual victory over the forces of darkness gripping the realm have been prophesied. But self-doubt - together with his initial inability to determine which of his new homeland's three presiding witches (Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams) embodies goodness - pose stumbling blocks on the way to his promised destiny. Director Sam Raimi's fantasy adventure emphasizes confidence, cooperation, the marvels of science and a generalized faith in happy endings, though his protagonist is shown praying to God in times of need. More problematic is the fact that several plot points turn on the wizard's womanizing. While the specifics are omitted, the subject matter is unsuitable for small moviegoers, who might also be frightened by some of the spooky creatures jumping out at them from the screen.

Watch out for: Mature references, perilous situations, a couple of mild oaths, potentially upsetting images.

Rated: The Catholic News Service classification is A-II - adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG - parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2013