So, we all know the story, right?
Satan held out a shiny piece of fruit and told Eve, “Eat this and you’ll know as much as God does about good and evil.”
Eve ate it and didn’t like what she saw, but it was too late to do anything about it. Humanity fell. Sin tainted the world. And we’re all stuck with the consequences.
The same thing happens in the recent film, Oz: the Great & Powerful.
One Wicked Witch holds out a shiny green apple to her sister and says, “Eat this, and you’ll know the truth about everything.” Her sister does … doesn’t like what she sees, but it’s too late; her “evil” is unleashed to taint Oz. The suffering brought on by the first witch’s influence in the land, and the increasing of it through the second, is immense.
As the “hero” of the film, a fake wizard known simply as “Oz” (Oscar) embarks on a journey to rid Oz of its evil witch, he sees the consequences of darkness entering the land. It crushes the “china city,” where the only survivor is a china doll whose legs have been broken. Oz, with his “other-world magic” (a bottle of glue) restores her, and from that moment on she is his most ardent fan and loyal champion.
Now, Oz is hardly a Jesus incarnation in the literal sense; he’s too forward with the ladies and a liar besides, yet he does play a “Christ role” in the film in the sense that he comes from a distant place to “save Oz,” offers hope to those imprisoned to darkness, and brings healing and companionship to a child who needs it most (is the china doll a variation on Mary Magdalene, or could we see her as a representation of the many whom Christ healed here on earth?). Furthermore, he offers the witch a chance for redemption – he invites her to return to Oz, if she will but change her ways, as Christ offers us all an opportunity to reach heaven through accepting His sacrifice on our behalf.
Is it a coincidence that this film has been released so close to Easter? Or is God seeking to remind us to look for Him not only in church, but in the world around us, in entertainment? Is this not-so-subtle-symbolism a way of reminding us of a history-changing event that took place in Jerusalem a thousand years ago? Is the story of Theodora and the green apple in Oz a way to spark conversation with our children about the consequences of sin? Is it a door we can open in their hearts toward acceptance of a true savior, one who comes not to save Oz, but us?
You can choose to see this film as pure entertainment, or you can ponder the greatness of our God, that His truths are apparent in the most unexpected of places.