main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Film: Oz: The Great and Powerful
The tale of the The Man Behind the Curtain begins.

Oz: The Great and Powerful is a 2013 fantasy film directed by Sam Raimi, and produced by the same people behind Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland and following the leads of then-recent Darker and Edgier versions of notable literary creations such as the aforementioned Alice in Wonderland, Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes films, and Snow White & the Huntsman.

The film is adapted from L. Frank Baum's 1900 novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. It is intended as a prequel to the book, more than the original film. As in the book, Oz is a real place, with the Wizard being somebody who came long ago in a balloon he didn't know how to use properly. It thematically resembles the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz - starting in black and white, with the main characters resembling people Oz knew in Kansas, and serves an origin story, showing how Oz came to the kingdom.

The film stars; James Franco as Oscar Diggs, the man who would be known as Oz; Mila Kunis as Theodora the Good; Michelle Williams as Glinda the Good, daughter of the former King of Oz; and Rachel Weisz as Evanora the Good. Also starring are notable Raimi alumni, including brother Ted and Bruce Campbell, and Danny Elfman provided the score, returning for their sixth collaboration together after a long break since Spider-Man 2.

This film provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Glinda in the books has red hair, as does Billie Burke's portrayal of her in the original film. Here she is a blonde.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Though she maintains her iconic green skin and hooked nose, the Wicked Witch of the West is younger and more sexualized in this continuity, making her appear as more of a Cute Monster Girl than the hideous crone look Margaret Hamilton had in 1939. Granted, this is a prequel taking place long before Dorothy's adventure, but still.
  • Agony Beam: Evanora projects green lightning on Glinda, giving this scene a certain familiar vibe to it.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Evanora and Theodora.
  • Anachronism Stew: Despite the seemingly low technology setting in Oz, the houses in Munchkinland appears to have electric lamps.
  • Ancient Artifact: Every witch, good and bad, appears to draw power from a jeweled artifact. Glinda uses a wand, Evanora has a huge jewel in a pendant, and Theodora has a ruby ring. Breaking the artifact deprives the witch of all her power and breaks certain enchantments; that's what happens to Evanora at the end.
  • And You Were There/Acting for Two: As an homage to the original 1939 Wizard of Oz film, several actors play and voice characters in both Kansas and Oz.
    • Michelle Williams: Annie/Glinda, the Good Witch of the South.
    • Zach Braff: Frank, Oscar's assistant/the voice of Finley, the friendly flying monkey.
    • Joey King: A wheelchair-bound girl/the voice of Little China Girl.
  • Ascended Extra: The Wicked Witch of the East, who's just a pair of feet sticking out from beneath a house in Dorothy's tale, is now the Big Bad villain who instigates all the trouble in Oz.
  • Award Bait Song: "Almost Home", performed by Mariah Carey.
  • Axe Crazy: Theodora after her transformation. Evanora herself seems unnerved by her axe crazyness.
    Evanora: Oh dear.
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss/Right Behind Me: Oz discovers Finley tied up in vines, begging to be freed before he gets eaten.
    Oz: Don't worry, the vines aren't going to eat you.
    Finley: (pointing behind him) Not the vines, I was talking about the lion!
    (Oz turns and looks in time to see the lion leap toward him, snarling)
  • Barrier Maiden: Glinda.
  • Batman Gambit: When Oscar asks to have a hot-air balloon made, everyone believes that he is running away from the witches because he is afraid of them. Theodora shoots down the balloon and everyone believes Oz to be dead. This allows him to "return" as the disembodied head because he is now "freed of his mortal form".
  • Bat out of Hell: The flying baboons as a contrast to the bird-winged flying monkeys.
  • Beam-O-War: Happens briefly during Glinda and Evanora's aerial battle during the climax.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Zig-zagged, but ultimately Glinda is the only witch to remain beautiful throughout the entire film. Theodora turns ugly when she turns evil and Evanora was concealing her ugliness under a charm, so it's true to the 1930s movie's canon.
  • Berserk Button: Don't call Theodora wicked.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: China Girl pulls a knife in the Dark Forest, which she apparently carries for protection. And it's a freakin' carving knife (albeit one meant for her size)!
  • Big Bad: Evanora, and given who her sister would become, it comes as no surprise.
  • Big "NEVER!": Theodora gives one when she rejects redemption.
  • Big "NO!": Oz, as he is sucked into the tornado that takes him to Oz.
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: The Fighting Trees in the Dark Forest.
  • The Cameo: Bruce Campbell, well known as Ash from Raimi's Evil Dead trilogy, makes one in the film as a gatekeeper.
    • The Cowardly Lion attacks Oz and Finley but is scared off by one of Oz's tricks.
  • Can't Act Perverted Toward a Love Interest: Oscar noticeably drops his normal tricks for women when Annie visits him. He behaves similarly towards Glinda.
  • The Casanova: Oscar, with a music box and a heartfelt (and false) story as his lockpicks. On-screen, we see him do it to a simple country girl, May, the strongman's wife, and Theodora. That last one bites back big time when Evanora claims he also did the same with her.
  • Casting Gag: Looks like Harry Osborn's in another Raimi movie.
  • Catch Phrase: "Zim Zallah Bim!" — which is also a Shout-Out to Jonny Quest.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The glue and the image-projecting machine. Actually, all of his skills and tricks as a stage magician, really. The prologue has him convincing people that he's a great wizard...
  • Chewing the Scenery / Large Ham: When the great and powerful Oz "reveals" his true form, he ramps up his performance to magnificent levels. Theodora rivals him quite well in this respect after her Face-Heel Turn.
  • The Chosen Zero: The great and powerful wizard — is not a wizard at all.
  • Clarke's Third Law: After a fashion; Oz is able to use turn-of-the-century technology, along with play-acting and misdirection, to trick Theodora and Evanora into believing that he is the Great and Powerful Wizard.
  • Color-Coded Wizardry: Glinda's magic is white or iridescent, Evanora's is green, and Theodora's is red. This corresponds to the gemstones in Glinda's wand, Evanora's amulet, and Theodora's ring, which are the source or catalyst for each witch's power. Plays with the color coding from the original books as well. Red is traditionally a Quadling country (where Glinda is from) color. Most likely done as misdirection and/or because Glinda in the 1939 movie was an amalgam of the book's Glinda and Good Witch of the North. Oscar's feigned "magic" also tends to have these colors too (green bouquet-leaves, red or white scarves, red flash powder, white projection).
  • Conspicuous CG: In a few places, particularly in the animation of the Wicked Witch's face.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Annie's dress is gingham, like Dorothy's, and she's going to marry John Gale (thought to be Henry's brother).
    • When Theodora cries, her tears seem to damage her skin. This is a nod to the fact that the Wicked Witch of the West could only be killed by water. Before that, when she first meets Oz and says that she's afraid: she's standing on a stone in the middle of a river.
    • Oscar sends a lion fleeing and calls him a coward, referencing the Cowardly Lion.
    • The Army sent across the poppy field? Scarecrows!
  • Corrupt the Cutie: It doesn't take much effort at all for Evanora to turn Theodora wicked. All it takes is a little abuse of the truth and a magic apple.
  • Create Your Own Villain: Diggs's casual seduction of Theodora bites him, and all of Oz, in the ass hard.
  • Creator Thumbprint: One of Raimi's favorite types of shots, a shot from the POV of an attacking object, shows up as a post from a picket fence hurtles toward Oscar in the tornado sequence. The plants in the Dark Forest also get this treatment when they attack Oz and company.
  • Cry for the Devil: This film causes The Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz to receive this treatment.
  • Darker and Edgier: In the vein of Burton's Alice in Wonderland.
  • Darkest Hour: Oz tried to make a get-up — and was killed. He deliberately engineered it.
  • Dark Is Evil: Played with. Before Evanora is revealed as the true Big Bad, she nevertheless dresses in black and dark green, yet is presented as the king's loyal adviser and a defender of the people. Meanwhile, Glinda's first appearance is in a fog-filled Creepy Cemetery on the other side of the Dark Forest, where she is dressed in a concealing, ragged Black Cloak; the fact she is trusting enough to lay down her wand while she unlocks the gate is the first clue she isn't the Wicked Witch she appears to be.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Oscar and Finley.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The opening scenes in Kansas.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Theodora crosses this when Evanora tricks her.
  • The Ditz: May, the country girl that becomes Oscar's new assistant in his act at the beginning of the film. It's most apparent when Oscar asks for a volunteer from the audience during the show, which is clearly her cue, but it goes completely over her head and she doesn't even consider raising her hand or anything of the sort. Instead, Oscar has to actively pick her out from the audience, to which she then responds: "Oh, yes! I'd like to volunteer!"
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Evanora offers Theodora a green apple under false pretenses in the same vein as the Evil Queen from Snow White. Except instead of killing her, it destroys her inner goodness and ability to care for others, physically transforming her into the Wicked Witch of the West in the process.
  • Doing in the Scientist: Oz is a real place. Dorothy just saw all the parallels between people she met in Oz and people she knew earlier and assumed it was a dream.
  • Doomed by Canon: The Wicked Witches, who are merely exiled in this movie. Yes, this means poor Theodora never gets her redemption. Alas... Possibly also Annie, if she and John Gale are (orphan) Dorothy's future parents.
  • Dragon Ascendant: Evanora — the future Witch of the East — is the villain responsible for the threat the characters face, but her actions turn her sister Theodora into the more ruthless and far more dangerous Wicked Witch of the West.
  • Dull Surprise: Glinda The Witch, who needs to keep her emotions under control.
  • The Edwardian Era: 1905, to be exact.
  • Elemental Powers
  • Eureka Moment: When Oscar tells the China Girl about Thomas Edison, he realizes how he can use Edison's inventions to defeat the wicked witches.
  • Evil Brit: Evanora.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Theodora's transformation into the Wicked Witch of the West is marked by a change into a black dress and pointed hat.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Besides losing her heart, Theodora also seems to lose her indoor voice after turning wicked.
  • Evil Makes You Ugly/Red Right Hand: When a witch chooses to become thoroughly wicked, she dramatically loses her beauty, as seen with the Wicked Witch of the West and also the true form of the Wicked Witch of the East. This may be a reference to Glinda's line in the original film that "Only bad witches are ugly."
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: A minor version, but Glinda clearly has an Oh Crap moment after telling Oscar that "only the pure hearted can go through."
  • Expy: Interestingly, the three witches can be seen as being inspired by their portrayals in Wicked — but in different roles. Theodora is Nessarose (the Wicked Witch of the East, as both turn evil and crazy due to broken hearts as well as being young and naive), Glinda is Elphaba (a good witch who is thought of as wicked, and can see through the wizard's facade), and Evanora is like Wicked's Glinda (advisers to the heads of Oz who are prepared to compromise morals for their own benefits and power).
  • Extremely Short Timespan: The climatic confrontation occurs quite soon after Oscar gets to Oz; some fans have conjectured the whole movie may take place in 3-4 days.
  • Face Palm: Oscar's assistant Frank does one when May, Oscar's new female assistant for his show, completely misses her cue to raise her hand when he asks for a volunteer from the audience. See also the entry for The Ditz further up on the page.
    • Finley also does one when Oscar's image projector temporarily malfunctions.
  • Face-Heel Turn: Theodora goes from thinking she's on the side of good to unambiguously being a wicked witch.
  • Faking the Dead: Oscar, so he can appear to come back in incorporeal form.
  • Fan Disservice: Even though it was attempted with The Wicked Witch of the West, it is played straight with Evanora, whose true form is revealed after Glinda breaks her crystal.
  • Fanservice: Theodora/The Wicked Witch of the West, Evanora, and Glinda wear some rather low-cut and revealing outfits, and are all incredibly beautiful witches. And as a tiny bonus, Theodora strips down to her corset during her transformation sequence.
    • When Theodora first meets Oz, she is wearing black, shiny, figure-hugging leggings and knee-high leather boots. And then she crawls into the cave first. It's doubtful it was unintended.
  • First Girl Wins: Averted. The first person Oz meets in Oz is Theodora. Things don't work out for them.
  • Flying Broomstick: Although in Oz all witches can fly on their own, Theodora takes one from a Quadling and rides on it when she flies, mostly due to her cruelly mocking Oscar's suggestion before her transformation about how all witches fly with brooms.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Naturally, given the prequel status. The three witches and Oscar can't die. Also, the fact Oscar isn't a great wizard can't be revealed.
  • Foreshadowing: Oz tells his assistant Frank he's only "a hired monkey". He later meets Finley, voiced by the same actor, who after swearing him a life debt is told "you're hired".
    • Oscar's magic act is interrupted by a girl in a wheelchair who asks him to make her walk. Obviously, he can't. When he meets China Girl, however, he fixes her legs so that she can walk again. Guess who provides her voice?
    • When Mila Kunis' name appears in the opening credits, pay close attention to the shadow made by the figurine.
  • For the Evulz: Unlike her sister Evanora, whose motivation is to rule the kingdom of Oz, Theodora (after her corruption) is only interested in doing as many evil and wicked things as possible.
  • Fun with Subtitles: The captions on the Blu-Ray look white during Kansas scenes, but yellow during the Oz portion.
  • Gambit Roulette: Oz relying on the WWW to shoot down his balloon, and doing so that it falls right into position for the projector in the middle of Emerald City's central square. Also, before that, relying on the WWW and the WWE not knowing about the significance of the poppy field. Oz can get away with this because he is a stage magician. Getting the audience to think what he wants them to think is his stock in trade. Watch his performance in Kansas very closely. He was relying on getting caught then just like he relied on getting caught in the end.
  • Good Colors, Evil Colors: Once Theodora's heart shrivels and dies, her skin becomes a sickly green.
  • Good Is Dumb: Theodora, while kind-hearted, is extremely naive and easily deceived and manipulated by both Oscar and Evanora. Also inverted: when Theodora eats the apple that makes her "wicked", she instantly realizes that Evanora was the one responsible for everything.
  • Good Is Not Dumb: Glinda, however, is made of wiser stuff, and is quite able to see through Oz's smarmy Con Man facade to know he is selfish, greedy, and not a true wizard (though his trouble passing through the magic barrier probably clued her in too). But she accepts him anyway because she knows the people need a leader to believe in and a Guile Hero may be just what can win the day.
  • Guile Hero: Throughout the film, Oscar uses misdirection and his magician's tricks to appear to be a powerful wizard.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: The evil witches have dark hair, while the good witch is blonde.
  • Handsome Lech: Though it's a PG rated film, it's obvious that Oscar gets around quite a bit, and when he meets each of the witches, he doesn't stop.
  • Heel Face Door Slam: Theodora has a moment of realisation just after biting the apple where she sees that Evanora is the evil one. It's sadly too late and the transformation turns her into the Wicked Witch of the West.
  • Hollywood Science: Tornadoes don't really transport people to Oz. That aside... tornadoes do not work that way.
  • Hot Witch: Glinda, Evanora, and Theodora are all quite easy on the eyes. Even after her transformation, Theodora still looks fairly beautiful since she's supposed to be 20 years younger than the character in the 1939 film. Evanora, on the other hand, was actually hiding her true hideous self through her magic. After her magic is stripped from her after battling Glinda, she was no longer able to mask her ugly form.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: No, Evanora, Glinda does not need bubbles to fly or kick your ass.
  • I Want To Be A Great Man: Not just a good one, since there are plenty of good men.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Glinda is pure as the driven snow. Subverted with Theodora. Often incorruptible pureness is associated with innocence and naivite. But Theodora's innocence and naivete are what make her corruptible. Glinda is pure, but not naive, and that is what makes her effective.
  • Inevitable Waterfall: Oscar's balloon lands in a rushing river, complete with multiple examples of this trope.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Joey King's facial features are reflected with the China Girl, which also parallels the crippled girl who wishes to be able to walk but Oz cannot oblige.
  • Ironic Echo: "May I have this dance?" said by Oscar to Theodora when they first met. Said again by Theodora when she came back for vengeance for him leaving her for Glinda.
  • Karmic Transformation: Evanora's uglification when Glinda removes her necklace is a fitting karmic punishment for tricking Theodora into becoming a green-skinned witch.
  • Liar Revealed: Played with. When he comes to Oz, Oscar is believed by everyone to be a great and powerful wizard destined to save them all, which he just runs with so he can become king. As early as the second act, he outright tells the truth to Finley, who's stuck with him because of a life debt, and briefly frets over the repercussions. Glinda and the rest of his friends figure it out on their own, but they're all fairly accepting because he still gets things done, and because they know he's truly good at heartnote  The rest of Oz never learns the truth, while the Wicked Witches are ultimately fooled by his lies.
  • Light is Good: Glinda, obviously.
  • Let's Get Dangerous: Glinda's powers seemingly consist of making fog and soap bubbles — until the finale, when she goes toe-to-toe with Evanora and opens a can of whoopass.
  • Logo Joke: The Disney logo is in Black and White, and the word Disney opens through the middle (like a gate) and zooms into the entrance of the castle.
  • Lovable Coward: When his bluffs and tricks fail, Oscar tends to run away very quickly from danger throughout the film. Granted, he's usually running away from monsters or witches who could easily kill him, so this is probably a Justified Trope.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Theodora falls for Oz, but Evanora convinces her that he was also intimate with her and is now with Glinda, tricking Theodora into becoming wicked to escape the resulting pain. Only then does Theodora realize her sister was the truly wicked one, but by then it's too late, and once her transformation is complete, she doesn't care.
  • Magic Versus Science: In the end, it's Oz's illusions and stagecraft, created with (for the time) modern technology, that wins against the witches, who view anything fantastic they don't understand as a form of very powerful magic.
  • Magical Accessory: Evanora's emerald neckalce and Theodora's ruby ring are the sources of their witch powers. Glinda the good witch, in contrast, uses a Magic Wand.
  • Male Gaze: Take a look at the outfits the witches wear when you can.
  • Man-Eating Plant: Finley is found entangled in a predatory vine's tendrils. A whole bunch of snappy flowers — attached to the Fighting Trees — attack Oscar's group in the Dark Forest.
  • Master of Illusion: By film's end, everyone in Oz is fooled by Oscar's illusions note . Even the villains are convinced he's a genuine invincible wizard.
  • Missing Trailer Scene: Oscar and Theodora riding through the Emerald City in a carriage.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Evanora's face after Theodora's fall. The fact that Theodora will not accept any surrender and wants a full, genocidal attack seems to scare Evanora.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Oz's arrival is a combo of Dorothy's arrivals in Oz in the 1939 film and Return to Oz.
    • Theodora is an anagram of Dorothea, as in Dorothy...
    • Oscar visits China Town, a community where everything, including the people, is made out of china. This is inspired by a scene from Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz that was left out of the 1939 movie.
    • Oscar's girlfriend in Kansas decides to settle down with a local boy by the name of John Gale.
    • The farmers wanting to build a scarecrow, which Oscar says may be useful later.
    • Oscar calling the lion a coward.
    • At one point, Oz and Finley walk by a pasture filled with horses of a different color.
    • You can hum the "oo-ee-ooh" chant from the film perfectly in time to the guards marching and striking their staffs on the ground.
    • The statue of Oz's late king is paired with a lion statue. The Cowardly Lion regularly claimed to be the "King of Beasts", so the lion in the statue may have been his father, memorialized as a peer of the human king.
    • Evanora's true appearance resembles the Wicked Witch of the West as she was described in Baum's original novel, as opposed to the more famous version from the 1939 film her sister is based on.
    • A shot of Oscar's balloon coming down is near-identical to the way Dorothy's house fell down in the 1939 film.
    • The Munckins performing a musical number like in the 1939 film.
    • Glinda kissing Oz's forehead for luck is a reference to a scene in the original book where the Good Witch of the North does the same to Dorothy in order to protect her from harm.
    • Oscar lamenting to Glinda they need a General to lead the army, referencing a certain other Tin Man by the name of Tik-Tok.
    • Other parallels to the original 1939 film: the opening sequence in Kansas is shot in black-and-white and a 4:3 aspect ratio, like the Kansas scenes in the original movie. But it shifts to 2:35:1 aspect ratio in color once Oscar arrives in Oz. Additionally, actors who play Oz characters also make cameos in Kansas.
    • When Oz tucks the China Girl into her bed, he begins to talk about his hero Thomas Edison, the Wizard of Menlo Park. He begins by saying, "Where I come from..." In The Wizard of Oz, the Wizard used that same turn of phrase when talking to Dorothy and her friends.
    • The final scene of the movie has Oz offering symbolic presents to his allies, granting their wishes in non-magical ways, much as the Wizard did in the original movie. Especially when he presents himself and the others to the China Girl as her new family, to replace the family she lost to Evanora's attack on China Town.
    • Oz's full name is a nine-name combination whose letters spell OZ Pinhead, explaining why he got his name. This is from one of the sequels to the book.
  • Near Villain Victory: Theodora the Wicked Witch catches what appears to be Oz escaping with the gold in a hot air balloon and shoots him down to destroy the hope of the people of Emerald City. Unfortunately for her, he planned this right from the start to fake his own death and launch his real illusion.
  • Never Work with Children or Animals: Oz cites this trope verbatim to discourage China Girl from following him on his quest to kill the "wicked witch". Thanks to Finley, he's already working with an animal.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: Some trailers make it obvious Evanora is the antagonist, yet others try to make her appear like a good witch. Several of the trailers also make it appear that Theodora and the Wicked Witch of the West are two different characters. They're not.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Thanks to Oz's womanizing ways, Theodora is heartbroken and susceptible to being corrupted by Evanora, eventually becoming the Wicked Witch of the West. Oz recognizes that Theodora's fall to wickedness is at least partly his fault.
  • Oh Crap: Oscar gets this when he says, "Lion?" after Finley tells him it's not the vines he's worried about, it's the lion.
    • The strongman and the circus folks, when they see the tornado.
    • Oz suddenly realizing only the pure-hearted can pass through the wall, both Oz and Glinda do this in the same scene.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Theodora, after her Face-Heel Turn, proclaims that she will paint the yellow brick road red with the blood of the people of Oz.
  • Only the Pure of Heart: The wall surrounding Glinda's castle in Quadling Country only lets the purehearted pass (until the Wicked Witch of the West has a power-up that lets her burn right through with the Power Of Hate). Oz is understandably worried at learning this, but after being stopped at the wall and a certain amount of buckling, he passes through. Whether this is because he's essentially good at heart (but definitely not pure) or because he doubted himself isn't clear.
  • Perspective Flip: It's told from the perspective of The Wizard of Oz.
  • Plot Parallel: In keeping with the And You Were There/Acting for Two nature of the plot, the little wheelchair-bound girl who wanted Oz to help her walk again is paralleled by the China Girl whose legs were broken off during Evanora's attack. And while he could not help the human girl, he is able to glue China Girl's legs back on again, so she can walk.
  • Pooled Funds: Oscar takes a little dive into the Emerald City's treasury.
  • Prophecies Are Always Right: Played with a little. Sure, Oscar is really no wizard, but he does help bring peace to the Emerald City (albeit an uneasy one, since both witches are still alive).
  • Psycho Serum: The apple that destroys Theodora's heart.
  • Race Lift (Type 1): The people of Oz are incredibly diverse compared to The Wizard of Oz (which was made in 1939). Where did they go between Oscar and Dorothy's visits?
  • Rage Against the Reflection: Theodora smashes a mirror after she cries from being heartbroken by Oscar, and the tears burn scars into her face.
  • Redemption Rejection: Before Theodora retreats from the Emerald City, Oscar tells her that he knows that it wasn't her fault for her wickedness, and offers to welcome her back should she regain the goodness in her. She shouts at him "NEVER!", and leaves laughing.
  • Red Herring: The whole plot seems laid out at first as a simple Black and White Morality tale: two good, beautiful sister witches claim to be defending Oz from the depredations of an evil witch, hail the surprisingly Genre Blind Guile Hero as The Chosen One who is prophesied to save them all, and send him off to kill the villain. However, the "Wicked Witch" is actually Glinda the Good, while Evanora is the true Big Bad, something which is hinted at by Theodora's temper and fire-based powers (not to mention her talk with Evanora), but not fully revealed until after Oz meets Glinda in her Obviously Evil garb, who tells him the truth of the matter. Anyone familiar with the books, meanwhile, would likely cotton on as soon as Theodora claims she isn't wicked and reveals she has a sister back at the Emerald City. The fact Theodora dresses in red up until her transformation even makes this trope literal, since the viewer could easily be misled into thinking, despite the name, that she was the Witch of the South (since Glinda had red hair and wore red in the books). Up until she eats the apple, she isn't wicked, and is just as fooled about her sister's villainy as everyone else.
  • Running Gag: Knuck always trying to start up a fanfare, only for someone to cut him off almost immediately. He finally gets to do it just as the movie ends.
  • Saved by Canon: Oz, Glinda, Evanora, and Theodora have to survive.
  • Scenery Porn: Everything in and outside the Emerald City looks gorgeous.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Theodora doesn't hang around when the shit hits the fan.
  • Security Cling: When Oscar forbids the China Girl from accompanying him to slay the wicked witch, she bawls her eyes out and clings to his leg until he relents.
  • Serkis Folk: Pretty much every non-human inhabitant of Oz was created via CG/motion capture.
  • Sequel Hook: "When those witches come back, and they will come back..."
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: Twice, with Theodora and Glinda.
  • Shaking Her Hair Loose: Theodora by the campfire. It's followed by a rather long stare from Oscar.
  • Shout-Out: To the creator of the Oz novels: Oscar Diggs works for the Baum Brothers Circus.
    • In homage to the 1939 film, the Kansas scenes are in black and white and pillar-boxed into the 1.33:1 academy ratio, then shifts to full widescreen and color once Oscar arrives in Oz.
    • Oz's assistant in said circus (played by Zach Braff) is named Frank, also a reference to Baum.
    • The money vault in the palace looks a lot like that of Scrooge McDuck, who is also a Disney character. Oscar even goes swimming in it.
    • The wicked witch offers Snow White a poisoned apple in the Disney version of the fairy tale.
    • Evanora (or Eve-anora) offers her sister Theodora a fruit that makes her evil.
    • Theodora's shout of "I will defy you!" may be this.
    • Evanora's fashion sense seems awfully close to Azkedellia's, with the slinky cut, the sheer weight of sequins, and the showy emerald necklace. Also the fact that her minions are more wild and have bat wings instead of the traditional birdlike wings.
    • Sam Raimi seems to work in one to himself as well. Evanora's transformation and final attack upon and escape from Glinda seems remarkably similar to a scene in one of the director's earlier works...
    • The China Girl's line "Let's go kill ourselves a witch." is an obvious reference to Evil Dead 2.
    • When Oz and Theodora hear one of the Wicked Witch's minions, we have dutch tilts similar to the ones in the Evil Dead trilogy.
    • In the dark forest, we have trees that move like the ones in Evil Dead 2.
    • In the third act, Oz is showing the tinkers gun powder, which is an obvious reference to Army Of Darkness.
    • The first few times, Oz mistakenly calls Glinda 'Wanda'.
    • Oz's giant projected face (which appears after he "dies") looks a lot like Shoshanna's giant projected face (which appears after she dies) from Inglourious Basterds, which is also a reference to The Wizard of Oz.
    • Oz's oft-repeated Catch Phrase of "Zim Zallah Bim!" was originally used by Hadji whenever the latter would perform his own feats of magic/sleight-of-hand.
  • Shown Their Work: A quite surprising number of locations from the books went into the movie, albeit somewhat shuffled about — the Hummingbirds, the Tuneful Fields, the Great Waterfall — all make appearances when Oscar lands. Going south to Glinda, he encounters the fearsome Fighting Trees and China Country, both of which lie directly between the Emerald City and Glinda's castle. Then, of course, there's the poppy fields... Also when Oscar rattles off his true name (Oscar Zoroaster Phadrig Isaac Norman Henkel Emmannuel Ambroise Diggs), which is straight from the books. The movie doesn't point out that his initials (O.Z.P.I.N.H.E.A.D.) are why he just goes by "Oz".
    • James Franco actually had to learn how to perform several magic tricks for his part, from an actual stage magician. While a lot of the original performances had to be cut because the movie would have been too long, all of the magic tricks seen throughout the movie are either real and performed by Franco himself, or CGI duplications of real magic tricks that actually could be performed in live stage performances.
  • Sickly Green Glow: Evanora is a lightning witch, but her lightning is sickly green.
  • Smug Snake: The arrogant, overconfident Evanora. The climax makes it clear that Theodora is made of much sterner stuff, as Evanora's nerve cracks far more quickly.
  • Special Effect Failure: Played with in-universe. In Oz's magic act at the beginning of the movie, he is levitating a woman's body covered in a sheet, when an angry spectator interrupts to point out that he can clearly see the wires holding her up. This turns out to be all part of the show when Oz cuts the wires, removes the sheet, and reveals that the woman has vanished.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Alice in Wonderland.
  • Stage Magician: Oscar, of the traveling circus kind.
  • Stolen MacGuffin Reveal: In the fight between Glinda and Evanora, just as Evanora is about to zap Glinda on the floor, she has a moment of confusion when nothing happens. Glinda then lifts her hand to reveal Evanora's crushed amulet.
  • Stop Drowning and Stand Up: when Oscar lands in Oz for the first time.
  • Storming the Castle: Using the inventions Oscar brought to Oz, the good guys invade the Emerald City. It also comes with some literal storming.
  • Sugar Apocalypse: There's Oz as a whole, and the land of Teacups and porcelain people in particular. Though there are dangers in Oz, most of it is highly colorful, whimsical, and safe, especially those parts under the good witch Glinda's protection. The "apocalypse" comes in from the wicked witch besieging it with flying monkeys; the land of Teacups is shattered and its denizens massacred. Main character China Girl is actually introduced after having had both of her legs broken to bits. The rest of the movie could be seen as an attempt to undo this trope and save Oz.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: After learning that Oz isn't a real wizard, Finley engages in an epic declaration of how much of a genuine wizard he is, "with no sinister, ulterior agenda at all."
  • Tears of Remorse: Finley suggests he try this instead of defeating the wicked witch.
  • That Man Is Dead: "Oscar Diggs died so that the Great and Powerful Oz could be."
  • Third Act Misunderstanding: Subverted. Oz is ready to leave and abandon Glinda and her people once he sees what he's truly up against, and confesses to her that he is in fact a con man and charlatan, not a real wizard. Immediately after this, China Girl appears at the door, wanting to be tucked into bed; from her later words to him in bed, it's clear she did in fact hear at least some of their conversation, since she reveals she knows he isn't "the same kind of wizard" as the old king had been, but she still believes in him all the same — even when it seems he really has abandoned them in the balloon later, and all the others, from Knuck to Glinda herself, believe the ruse or at least have a moment of doubt.
  • This Is My Boomstick: Oscar uses his talent as a Stage Magician and knowledge of gunpowder to convince everyone he has great power.
  • This Is Your Brain on Evil: Theodora's heart shrivels and dies from the enchanted apple Evanora gives her. She goes from troubled goodness to pure unadulterated wickedness in the same scene.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Glinda and her followers' credo. And Oscar must lead them to victory over an opponent (and her minions) who will kill.
  • Totem Pole Trench: Done by the munchkins, who seem to be formidable warriors, but end up being three of the little people atop each other.
  • Tragic Villain: Theodora was a genuinely good witch who only wanted peace for Oz. She not only believed that Oscar was the Wizard, but also fell in love with him. However, Evanora manipulated her into believing that Oscar never loved her by showing her Oscar and Glinda together and pretending that he courted her too, and convinced her that he would only move on to another once he got bored. Evanora then convinced her to bite a green apple, claiming it would take away her sorrow. It not only took that, but all the good in her — replacing it with wickedness and hate (as well as changing her skin to green).
  • Transformation Trauma: For Theodora.
  • Tsundere: Theodora is a Type B who is mostly a good-natured girl — but has a hidden temper. When her goodness is removed, she's tsuntsun entirely.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: Evanora.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Evanora has one when Oscar uses his tricks to fake his death and fool her and Theodora.
  • What Have I Done: Theodora has a moment right after she bites the apple.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: It seems so at first, considering that Theodora and Evanora display elemental power over fire and lightning, respectively, while Glinda can only make bubbles and fog. However, at the climax it becomes clear that she can put up a fight, she just chooses not to because of her Thou Shalt Not Kill code.
  • White Male Lead: Oscar. Odd, considering the Oz books mostly had female protagonists.
  • Wicked Witch: Evanora and Theodora, who becomes the Trope Codifier for the Wicked Witch of The West. Ironically, it was Oscar that gave her the idea for many of the conventions, most noticeably her broom.
  • Woman Scorned: Theodora, who had her heart broken by Oscar. Her desire for revenge kickstarts her transformation into the Wicked Witch of the West. Exploited later by Oz, who tricked her into faking his own death.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: The film is produced by Disney, but the rights of the original film are owned by Warner Bros. As a result, it's legally a prequel to the books (which are in the public domain), but intended as a prequel to the film. Thus, most of the likenesses or elements specific to the '39 film could not be used (i.e. Evanora's Ruby Slippers are never mentioned), and the Wicked Witch of the West's skin even had to be changed to a different shade of green. It couldn't be All Just a Dream, either.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Invoked by Glinda towards Oscar.
  • Zero Approval Gambit: During the final confrontation between the Wicked Witches, Oscar pretends to make a getaway with a bunch of gold, making everyone think he's abandoned them. Then, when his balloon is shot down and everyone believes he's dead, he works his stage magic and a video projector to make a grand comeback as the "true" Wizard of Oz, renewing everyone's hope and driving the witches away.

OnmyojiFantasy FilmsPan's Labyrinth
Wicked WitchImageSource/Live-Action FilmsFemme Fatalons
The Wonderful Wizard of OzFilms of the 2010sLegends Of Oz Dorothys Return

alternative title(s): Oz The Great Powerful; Oz The Great And Powerful
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy