Australian Council on Children and the Media

Oz the Great and Powerful

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Not recommended under 8, PG to 13 (Violence and scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Oz the Great and Powerful
  • a review of Oz the Great and Powerful completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 18 March 2013.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not recommended due to violence and scary scenes
Children 8 - 13 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and scary scenes
Children 13 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Oz the Great and Powerful
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild fantasy violence and some scary scenes
Length 130 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Oz the Great and Powerful, the latest prequel to the Wizard of Oz, tells the fantasy adventure of Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time magician whose life has been founded on trickery, lies and manipulation. After being hurled from his home world into the vibrant land of Oz, he believes he has stumbled upon a goldmine. He is told by villagers of a prophecy in which he is to be King, and entitled to claim all the riches bestowed upon him. His life gets increasingly more complicated as he meets three beautiful witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams).

 Despite the initial attraction between Oscar and Theodora, the beautiful witch is transformed into an old hag after her sister, the evil Evanora, manipulates her into believing that Oscar has fallen for another woman. The result is a dangerous battle of good versus evil that sees Evanora and Theodora on a tyrannical rampage to murder both Oscar and Glinda in an effort to claim the throne as their own. Although Oscar has no intrinsic magical powers, the final battle sees him use his old tricks and illusions to transform himself into not only the great and powerful Wizard of Oz, but also a man of decency and integrity.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

The supernatural; self-acceptance and self-belief; good versus evil

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is limited (mostly fantasy) violence in this movie, including:

  • A large, muscular man bursts into Oscar’s dressing room after his circus performance, breaking the entire wall down. He appears furious with Oscar and says “I’m gonna rip your head off, you’re a dead man!”
  • After Evanora tells Theodora “Deep down, you are wicked”, Theodora becomes enraged beyond her control and inadvertently shoots bolts of fire across the room while shouting “I’m not wicked!” The magical bolts destroy part of the room, and leave Theodora shaken.
  • Evanora sends her minions out to kill Oscar and her sister, Theodora. She is seen at the top of a tower at night, with loud thunder echoing through the sky, as she yells “I want them torn to shreds. Do not fail me a second time!”
  • Evanora and Theodora join forces to break through the wall of magic that protects Glinda and the good people of Oz. After they do this, they begin throwing magic balls of fire at the villagers, and destroying the town.
  • During the final battle when Evanora is holding Glinda captive, she tells her “I’m going to wipe out your light until there is nothing left but darkness”. She then proceeds to torture her, using bright green strobes of magic to electrocute her and cause her intense pain.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • In Oscar’s circus show, his female assistant appears to be possessed by magic. She levitates above the ground, and makes quite frightening noises as she does. Members of the audience believe she is truly possessed by spirits, but film viewers see Oscar’s assistant creating the fake noises and pulling wires in the background, orchestrating the entire scene.
  • Oscar, in his hot air balloon, unintentionally flies right into the centre of a hurricane. Bits of broken furniture start piercing his balloon, as Oscar begs “Please, I don’t want to die, I promise I can change, give me a chance”. There is a brief moment of calm, then a giant flying object smashes the balloon with incredible force, and audiences are left to wonder whether Oscar escaped alive.
  • After Oscar lands in Oz, Theodora tells him he should quickly get out of the river he is standing in, because of the dangerous ‘river fairies’. Oscar then begins being bitten by the small creatures, which have very sharp teeth and monstrous faces despite their small stature.
  • As Oscar and Theodora get to know each other, the ‘wicked witch’ Evanora sends her minion to kill them. In this scene, viewers only see the creature as a shadowy figure, making loud growling noises. Later, its large claws then come into frame, and we see it fly off with large bat-like wings.
  • Oscar and his assistant Finley come across a town within Oz which has been totally destroyed by the wicked witch and her minions. They come across a crying girl, whose legs (which are made entirely of china) have been shattered. She is in tears, saying “I’ll never get back together”. Oscar is deeply saddened by her distress, and glues her legs back on for her.
  • As Oscar walks towards the entrance of a scary forest with his friend, the China Girl, two crows caw and scarily say “You’ll die! You’ll die!” It turns from day into night and many pairs of glowing yellow eyes suddenly appear behind them. Eventually, the monsters hiding in the trees start attacking them, trying to bite with their large teeth. Oscar and China Girl begin running for their lives.
  • When Theodora cries as Evanora tells her that Oscar has fallen for another woman, her tears burn scars down her face and into her cheeks.
  • Evanora offers Theodora an apple in an effort to help her turn off her pain, saying “One bite and your heart will become impenetrable”. After she takes a bite, her heart begins physically withering away, and Evanora says “Soon, you will feel nothing at all except beautiful wickedness”. Theodora stumbles and falls over, until her hand comes back into shot – it is now green and scaly, with hideous black claws. She stands up fully and we see her in silhouette: her nose and chin are pointed, and she puts on a witches hat and laughs maniacally.
  • During the final battle, Glinda breaks Evanora’s emerald necklace, causing her to transform from her previous beautiful façade into her true, hideous and monstrous form.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group are also very likely to be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film

Product placement

None of concern

Sexual references

There are a few sexual references in this movie, including:

  • During the rehearsal for his magician’s stage show, Oscar rehearses kissing the woman he plans to use in his performance. He nearly kisses her, but is interrupted by his assistant.
  • In order to make her jealous, Rachel tells Theodora that she can still feel Oscar’s body pressed against hers, detailing how he went to her chambers in the middle of the night and danced with her.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • There is an immediate attraction between Oscar and Theodora after they meet for the first time. Oscar asks her to dance, and then kisses her while they do.

Use of substances

None of concern

Coarse language

None of concern

In a nutshell

Oz the Great and Powerful Oz is the story of how a small-time magician became the “Wizard of Oz”. It is a story of friendship, love and personal growth. It tells the fantasy adventure of Oscar and his friends as they struggle against the odds to defeat two evil witches, but also follows Oscar’s development as a man. Learning the meaning of responsibility and integrity, Oscar unintentionally becomes what he has always thought of as impossible – not only a great man, but also a good one.  As can be expected in a film featuring the supernatural and evil witches, the film’s fantasy violence and scary characters make it unsuitable for under 8s and parental guidance is recommended for under 13s. At 130 minutes, it is also a very long film for children to sit through.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Always believe in yourself, and don’t doubt your ability to achieve things that seem difficult or impossible.
  • Being a ‘good’ person is far better than striving to be a ‘great’ or famous person.
  • Relying on friends is important - you don’t need to tackle every challenge on your own.

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