The Wizard of Oz 3D Blu-ray Review
THE WIZARD OF OZ is one of the most revered movies of all time, loved by people of all ages and races. How else can you justify re-releasing the film in 3D almost 75 years after it first hit theaters? The movie has inspired so many pop culture references that we take it for granted. Although THE WIZARD OF OZ has never been one of my favorites, as a movie fan, I have the utmost respect for the film and its impact on society. Even watching it today, it’s hard to believe it first hit theaters in 1939 because it truly was ahead of its time.
You should hopefully already know the plot, but in case you don’t, we follow innocent farm girl Dorothy as she gets swept up in a tornado and taken to the magical city of Oz. In order to find her way home, she must follow the yellow brick road to meet the wizard of Oz. Along the way, she picks up a scarecrow, a tin man and a cowardly lion. Together, they follow the road, always trying to stay ahead of the evil witch of the West. On the surface, this is just a simple story about a little girl traveling through a majestic city. But upon deeper review, we know that the WIZARD OF OZ is really a giant metaphor for the politics and economics of the time.
I don’t care too much about the political metaphors and instead, I’ve always viewed THE WIZARD OF OZ as a perfect example of Machiavellian principles at play, carried out by the brilliant Good Witch Glenda. Essentially, Glenda used Dorothy as a patsy and manipulated her into destroying all of her rivals (the witch of the East by accident and then the wizard and witch of the West on purpose), leaving her as the sole ruler of Oz. After all, Glenda could have told Dorothy to click her heels to go home, but she chose not to because she knew how valuable a pawn Dorothy could be by destroying her rivals with no ambitions of ruling on her own. Note: this idea is elaborated on by W. Geoffrey Seeley in his 1993 Washington Post article. But maybe I’m reading too much into a movie that’s best known these days as launching the song “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”.
As for the movie, the stunt of going from black and white to color is still one of the most brilliant filmmaking decisions in movie history. Every time I see it I’m amazed at how well it works and how neat of a tactic it was. The rest of the film has that strong 1930’s/40’s vibe to it, meaning that all of the songs are over-sung and all of the lines are delivered in the typical overly dramatic fashion of the era. It’s also darker than I remember from my childhood, making me surprised that I didn’t have nightmares watching this as a child.
There’s not much that can be said about THE WIZARD OF OZ that hasn’t been said before. It’s a beloved film that was groundbreaking during its release and launched what is still a pop culture phenomenon. Although I’m not the film’s biggest fan, I can’t help but marvel at its accomplishments.
THE WIZARD OF OZ 3D BLU-RAY REVIEW
The number of 2D films that have been transferred to 3D poorly far outnumbers the films that have done it well. But this is a rare case of a very impressive 3D transfer that actually works. Warner Bros. knows that THE WIZARD OF OZ is one the most popular titles in its impressive catalog and they’ve gone through great lengths to transfer Oz to 3D with care. Fans of the film and 3D will be pleased with this disc.
THE WIZARD OF OZ BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: The 2D release of THE WIZARD OF OZ is nothing short of breathtaking. Again, WB put a lot of time and effort into this transfer and it shows on this disc. This set also comes with the 2009 Blu-ray, which has the older transfer that is equally impressive.
Audio: I believe the audio transfer is the same on both discs.
The making of The Wizard of Oz (1:00:08): Martin Sheen takes us through an exhaustive documentary chronicling the film’s production. I learned a lot of neat facts about the movie I didn’t know before, such as the fact that the filmmakers and studio fought over the inclusion of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” (the studio didn’t want it) and other little tidbits. This is a nice documentary for fans of the film or fans of movie history in general.
The rest of the features are taken directly from the 2009 single Blu-ray disc release