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Review: Oz: The Great and Powerful

In this prequel to The Wizard of Oz, a humble magician takes on the role of a lifetime.

February 7, 2013 by Diane Stark


Oscar Diggs (James Franco, 127 Hours) is a small-time circus magician and hustler who’s bamboozled people one too many times. Escaping Kansas in his hot-air balloon, he’s caught up in a tornado that hurls him into a strange and wondrous land—the land of Oz.

“I Think I Can”
In Oz: The Great and Powerful, prequel to The Wizard of Oz, moviegoers discover how the Wizard arrived in that magical land.

The people of Oz think Oscar is the answer to prophecy. They’ve been waiting for a great wizard to save them from the Wicked Witch. They promise him the royal riches of Oz—but only if he can defeat the witch.

“Your magic is the only thing strong enough to save us all,” he is told.

But Oscar knows he’s not a real wizard, only a fake and an imposter. He doesn’t think he can save anyone.

The three witches of Oz—Theodora (Mila Kunis, Black Swan), Evanora (Rachel Weisz, The Deep Blue Sea) and Glinda (Michelle Williams, Take This Waltz)—are as doubtful of Oscar’s magic as Oscar himself.

“Are you the great man we’ve been waiting for?” one of them asks Oscar.

“I think I could be,” Oscar answers.

As he attempts to help the people of Oz, Oscar discovers that he can become anything he wants to be. Even the great and powerful Wizard of Oz.

Question and Answer
Oscar Diggs reminds us of Moses, the man to whom God gave the Ten Commandments and who brought the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt. Both were men with a past. Oscar is chased out of Kansas after pulling one too many scams. Moses fled to the desert of Midian after murdering an Egyptian overseer who was beating an Israelite slave.

Both Moses and Oscar felt inadequate and unsure of their own abilities. Oscar doubts his magic is strong enough to defeat the witch, while Moses actually asked God to send someone else to lead the Israelites out of Egypt (see Exodus 4:13).

God transformed Moses from a timid shepherd into the man who would lead God’s people. But the change was not without struggle. Being a leader did not come naturally to Moses, and he felt overwhelmed by the task.

But Moses didn’t have to do it alone. God was with him and provided everything Moses needed to complete the task.

God sometimes asks us to do difficult things, too. It may be as simple as returning a wallet full of cash or as difficult as standing up for someone who can’t. But He never expects us to do these things alone.

The next time God asks you to take a leap of faith, will you trust Him enough to say yes? Will you be brave enough to follow God into the adventure He has for you? The only answer God wants from us is the same answer Oscar Diggs gave when asked if he was a great man: “I think I could be—with Your help.”

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