I went to "Oz, the Great and Powerful" this weekend. It was a great movie. If you haven't seen it yet, I suggest you don't read this. SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What I liked about the movie, apart from the great success the movie has in immersing its audience in a fantasy world, is a couple of its messages (there were a couple messages I didn't like either however).
But the first message I thought was interesting is how pain, especially when brought on by someone you love, if dealt with improperly, can make you hateful and ugly.
The second message, which was one of the stories main messages, was critiquing our modern view of greatness.
At the beginning of the movie, Oz, who is a womanizing bachelor, is confronted with possibly marrying the girl he seems to care about the most. She has been given a proposal by another man, but she wants to give Oz the opportunity to propose instead. He says, instead, that the man who has proposed to her is a good man and that she should marry him.
She replies, "You're a good man."
To which he replies, "No, I'm not a good man." He then goes on to say that there are many good men in the world, men who go to church, settle down and get married and raise families. He didn't want to be a good man. He wanted to be a great man, a man of renown, like one of the great inventors or magicians of his time.
The movie continues as Oz is given an opportunity to be the King of Oz, as the people believe he's the great wizard prophesied to save their people. In the end, he admits that he is not a great wizard and that he cannot help them, but decides to help them in the only way that he can.
He defeats the witches and saves the people. The movie closes with a conversation between himself and Glenda, where she says to him, "For the record, I knew you had it in you all along." He replies, "Greatness?" To which she replies, "No, better than that, goodness."
I loved this inclusio to the movie, because it summed up the movie well. It is goodness, the faithfulness to people and doing what is right that saved the day in the end, not prestige and pomp, not fame and fortune. It wasn't his name that saved them. It was his laying down his life to serve them that was better than "greatness."
Our "American Idol, Kim Kardashian, everybody look and acknowledge me and give me a sense of worth of my own greatness" society needs to hear that. It's going to church, settling down and raising a family, being faithful to those around you, that makes you a good man. And that is better than being a great one.