Despite being sucked in and sold just by the cast alone, Oz: The Great and Powerful is surprisingly entertaining and reassuringly Disney. It's the classical Hollywood narrative that’s tried and true. When compared to something like Trance, it’s such a nice warm bubble bath that gives my poor brain a good rest. The visuals and animation are stunning, especially the little China girl. The film even does the typical Disney introduction to the 'the world' of the film by dedicating a few minutes for us to absorb and admire the landscape.
The problem with the reviewers and critics who are let down by the film is simply because they are measuring with the wrong scales. If its target audience is not the same as Lincoln…or…Amour, then surely you cannot judge the film's artistic merit in comparison to films made for mature audiences? For family entertainment; for imagination; for a visual feast; for preaching superficial values of friendship and integrity to children (the film is rated PG may I remind you) Oz does an alright job. You’re not meant to think too deeply, that’s the whole point.
And yes it may be called chauvinistic and shallow, but if anyone looked hard enough, all films can be taken as a force of evil. Aladdin is racist, Harry Potter encourages anarchism and anti-authority behaviour, the Little Mermaid says you will only be loved by changing self. All children's films are problematic in a way - you can only avoid so much.