by Tim Phares, RScp — March 30, 2013
Today we saw Oz the Great and Powerful. Very fun movie — a prequel to The Wizard of Oz — and some interesting metaphysical lessons.
When we first meet the Wizard in Kansas (true to The Wizard of Oz, this part is in black and white), he is neither great nor powerful, but is a circus magician and something of a cad with his female assistants. (Check out the name of the circus; I won’t mention it, but it’s quite a fun inside joke.) He is doing magic shows for audiences. Someone spots the wire on his female assistant that is holding her up, so he makes her disappear. He explains that you can do anything if you believe. A little girl asks him to make her walk (she is crippled). He can’t, and he runs away. The entire town and many of the circus performers are chasing him. He hops in a hot-air balloon, gets caught in a tornado, and lands in a river.
A pretty woman comes along and explains to him that he is in the Land of Oz (convenient, since his name is Oswald and as a magician, he is billed as “Oz the Great and Powerful.”) She tells him about a prophecy given by their late King when he was killed that a great wizard will arrive and save them from the wicked witch. It turns out she’s a witch herself.
They begin the trip towards the Emerald City. Along the way, they encounter a talking, winged monkey who is about to be eaten by a lion and Oz saves him. The monkey becomes his devoted servant. When they reach the Emerald City, he enters the palace, is shown the gold that belongs to the King, and meets the girl’s sister, also a witch. She presents herself as the guardian of the palace.
Oz and his monkey go out to save the land. Along the way, they find a china doll whose family has been shattered. He asks her to walk towards him, but she can’t — her legs are broken off. The wizard fixes them with a magical substance (glue). She insists on going with him.
They encounter the witch. The wizard was told that if he broke her wand, he could kill the wicked witch, fulfill the prophecy, and become king. So he sends the monkey around a flank and sneaks up on the witch. He’s gets her wand, then discovers that she is a pretty blonde. She says she is Glinda the Good. They team up to save the Land of Oz from the witch.
Meanwhile, back at the palace, the witch has seen in her crystal ball that Oz and Glinda have teamed up. She plays off the jealousy in her sister (who wants to be Oz’s queen) to get her to bite an apple, which turns her wicked — and green.
Oz, Glinda, the monkey, and the china doll arrive in the Emerald City to great acclaim. Unfortunately, the sister witches have an army and all Oz has is tinkers, farmers, and Munchkins. But they gain entrance to the city, and using various tricks and tools that he has devised (which are nothing but pure prestidigitation), they save the city.
There are several metaphysical lessons in this movie:
It’s all about changing perception. There is no way that the wizard and his ragtag allies can defeat the witches and their army, but he changes the perception and they do it. Isn’t that what we do — change perception and consciousness and thus change the circumstances?
There is greatness in everyone. When Oz says he only wants to be a great man, Glinda sees the greatness in him, even though he is a self-described con man.
“Do all you can with what you have in the time you have in the place you are.”
You may not get what you want, but you always get what you need. At one point, Oz says to Glinda, “I’m sorry I’m not the wizard you were anticipating, but I may just be the wizard you need.” He certainly seems to be that, as his tricks save the day – just what was needed.
Never give power to your fear. The people of Oz are living in great fear of the powerful Wicked Witch and are desperate to be saved from her power. When you fear, you empower what you fear.
And the movie’s biggest theme — you can do anything if you believe.