Sunday, March 17, 2013
Sundays through the Seasons: Spring in Oz
Last night my parents and I went to see Oz: The Great and Powerful in theaters. There are many issues I could discuss: how I wasn't impressed with the acting, how the plot was filled with unexplained and ridiculous phenomena, how the movie seemed to be mostly a farce with attempts at depth and seriousness thrown in on occasion. Despite its flaws, though, those attempts at seriousness, coupled with some stunning visuals, struck me. And I liked some of the "springtime" promise that was embedded in the movie.
(Potential spoilers to follow)
I loved this aspect of the movie. Oz is introduced as someone who's full of himself, hoping and praying for a chance to prove his greatness, all the while spurning opportunities to look beyond himself and show love to others. But he's given a second chance - a hope that is shown to the audience through vivid and spectacular imagery, like the bold colors of spring flowers and rainbows. Oz considers this a second chance to make a great name for himself (and to become fabulously wealthy), but on his course to "greatness" he begins to take hold of his second chance at "goodness," at caring for other people.
Interestingly, Oz sets up a contrast. Theodora the witch falls in love with Oz and makes all sorts of plans for the two of them. But when he sets off on a quest and joins forces with Glinda, Theodora is heart-broken and chooses to do anything to harden her heart. There's a very overt reference to the Garden of Eden when she bites into an apple her sister gives her and her eyes are "opened" to distinguish between the sides of good and evil in Oz - and she realizes she's chosen the side of evil. Sadly, she embraces the transformation and seeks revenge against "the Wizard," spurning any offers of understanding and forgiveness, and ignoring any comments about her downward spiral. When offered a second chance, she refuses to consider it or to be led anywhere in a "good" direction.
With spring we are reminded of the blessing of renewal, of hope sprouting from repentance and growth, brought about only by the ultimate goodness and grace of God. Let's embrace forgiveness and second chances and healing, and enjoy the springtime colors and celebrations that remind us of the hope that we have!
(Movie poster image from IMDb.com.)