I went to see Oz the Great and Powerful because it looked like fun. It was. But what I remember most are the more serious implications of the story.
At the film’s start, Oz is trying to be a successful stage magician, but his act stinks. He does finally convince the crowd that he is truly a magician, but things quickly go sour as a crippled girl is brought to him and he is asked to heal her. His heart is broken, the crowd turns on him, and the curtain closes while he leaves in shame.
But things are different when he reaches the land of Oz (as we know it). He meets a little girl made of porcelain (voiced by the same actress) who cannot walk because her legs have been broken. Oz feels sorry for the child and fixes her up with some glue. (As a technical consultant, I enjoyed watching him solve problems in clever, resourceful ways.)
The land of Oz is not just a place filled with magical things; for Oz it’s a place where he is changed, and he is able to be the “great and powerful” person he always wanted to be. However, he had to go through a personal transformation before he could be The Wizard; instead of just being a famous stage magician, he became a benevolent leader. Oz was able to find the life he always wanted when he became a new person.
This message is what makes the film so powerful. It resonates with our natural desire to find another life after this one, a life where we find the fulfillment we are looking for and where we can leave the past behind.
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