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Oz the Great and Powerful

This movie was not very medieval, yet I want to say three things about it. First, I think that it is a great movie for adolescents, but a mediocre movie for adults. I would recommend it for all families with adolescent children, but not for single adults. Second, in the movie a person’s goodness was manifested by physical beauty, whereas moral evil was manifested by physical ugliness. Nowhere was this more clear than when Oz the magician/wizard, played by Franco, meets Glenda the good witch, played by Michelle Williams. He had been told that she was a bad witch, and his mission was to kill her by breaking her want, which would destroy her power and lead to her death. He met her in the dark forest, and had no objective reason to think that she was not an evil witch, but when he saw her beautiful face he immediately decided not to kill her, and instead trusted her completely, returning her wand to her, and following her.

Third, the story was the opposite of “Superman” and many other superhero tales. Superman, and other superheroes like him, has tremendous physical abilities. The villain, Lex Luther, has no special physical abilities, so he has to rely on him intelligence to defeat Superman. Thus, in this tale, and many others like it, brute force is good, great practical intelligence is evil. In the Oz movie, on the other hand, the hero has not special physical abilities. The forces of evil have physical power: the two wicked witches both have magical powers, and they are served by flying baboons and an army of soldiers armed with halberds. The great Oz had to use his intelligence to build machines, and to trick everyone involved into believing that he was really a great wizard, and not just a charlatan.