It's finally here! Oz the Great and Powerful opens in theaters today, and I can finally take my daughter! I wasn't sure if I would, to be honest. I wondered if the new Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis, and James Franco movie was going to be too scary for a 7-year-old.
After all, the Wizard of Oz that generations of kids have grown up with is as feared as it is beloved by children. But after attending the red carpet premiere of Oz at Disney's El Capitan Theater in Los Angeles last month, along with the stars of the film, I felt like I had enough information to decide if she could handle it.
Not sure if your kids will be scared by Oz the Great and Powerful? After watching the film, here's what I think parents need to know:
1. This is not a remake. If you're afraid this will "ruin" the original for your kids (cough, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, cough, cough), fear not! This is not a remake of the Judy Garland classic. Instead it's a prequel, based on the first of more than a dozen Oz books from writer L. Frank Baum.
2. It's 3D. If your kids tend to be scared when things jump out at them, well, expect that to happen in a 3D film! Some theaters will be showing it on a traditional screen, which shouldn't be as scary for kids (that's where I'll be taking my 7-year-old).
3. There is no violence. When I chatted with director Sam Raimi (a father of five), I specifically asked how he balanced the fear factor in this film, and he was pretty up-front about it:
That’s something I was weighing all throughout the process ... I’d made sure there was no violence in the thing ‘cause I really wanted to make it a family picture. And there really isn’t any violence in the thing. The worst it gets is, um, these real scary baboons come out of the mist where they go looking for our main characters, so they hide in the cave. Or, um, or there’s a scary witch at the very end.
4. The witch is pretty scary. Prequel or not, the main villain of the Oz we grew up with as children still makes an appearance. In fact, you get to see one of the "good" witches transform into her in a pretty spectacular scene. The good news is you will know it's coming, so you can give your kiddos' little hands a squeeze or gather them on your lap.
5. The flying monkey is hilarious. Played by Zach Braff, this little guy is far from scary; in fact he's the comic relief of the film! The flying baboons, on the other hand, well, they're kind of freaky ... watch out for them!
6. Bad witches are "dealt" with. No one gets a house dropped on her, but be prepared for one serious bit of reckoning for one naughty witch.
7. It's chock full of references to the original. From actual horses in different colors (get it?) to the use of the last name Gale (Dorothy's last name!), there's a lot fans will recognize. Consider making it a game with your kids to see who spots the most.
8. It's PG. That means parental guidance suggested, and I definitely suggest it!
So is it for your kid? That's up to you -- you know your kid better than I do! I just know mine hasn't put down her Glinda doll since I brought it home from LA.
Will you be taking your child to see Oz the Great and Powerful?
Image via Disney
Disclaimer: Disney covered my expenses to attend the red carpet premiere of Oz the Great and Powerful. I was not otherwise compensated, and all opinions expressed are my own.