In the film Oz the Great and Powerful, James Franco plays a Kansas carny performer who has overstayed his welcome. In every town he visits, he performs the same scam. He first gains the trust of those around him then he takes advantage of them until either they throw him out, or he has no choice other than to run. You see, Oz is not your ordinary circus performer, he is a very good circus performer who knows people and how they work. That is why he makes an excellent profile for today’s Wednesday Warriors.
In Kansas, Oz is your typical sideshow act. He’s a magician, an illusionist, a performer, an example of what is right in the world—or at least that is what he thinks of himself. Meanwhile, he has wooed multiple women with the same technique he has used countless times. A music box does wonders to a woman’s heart.
But not everyone admires the dashing actor. Husbands, in fact, hate him, and would do anything to see him hanging from a tree until dead.
When Oz attempts to sweep the wrong girl off her feet, his worst nightmare becomes a reality. In an effort to escape an enraged spouse, he hops into a balloon and casts off to places unknown.
The resourceful Oz has no one to rely on than himself. Yet, how different is that from the other times he had to make a quick getaway from other folks who have wanted to make him part of a funeral procession?
What Oz doesn’t count on is the twister that suddenly makes an appearance during the most inopportune time. With the winds wailing, the balloon lifting to heights beyond comprehension, Oz can only dream of a time when his feet will once again walk on solid earth. He will never again take to flight in order to thwart the evil musings of a jilted lover.
After having landed in a place unknown, he discovers the land is not what he expects. He notices the large flowers, the waters alive with creatures he has never imagined and the air running amok with birds that have the ability to swallow him whole. Indeed, Oz is not in Kansas anymore.
As the story progresses, Oz comes upon two sisters (Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz) and a kingdom filled with riches. His eyes fall on the treasure promised to the heir of the fortune—a great wizard who will save the land from the Wicked Witch and her minions. Without knowing what the prophecy means, Oz becomes the unwitting center of the story. But he has more on his mind than saving a people from a woman he could dismiss with a wave of a hand. Oz has the treasure in mind that he wants to inherit all to himself.
The film could run a predictable course where Oz steps on everyone’s dreams as a means to exact his greed-filled desires. But in true Disney fashion, Oz becomes a bigger man than he would have otherwise predicted for himself.
Revealing more of the story would also mean to ruin an experience for the viewer that would highlight a man’s willingness to put aside his own desires for the love of a people.
And seeing Oz in that position of growth is not only inspiring but also a miracle.
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Have you seen Oz the Great and Powerful? What do you think about Oz’s growth in the film?