Oz the Great and Powerful is the latest hot Blu-ray 3D title from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, released on June 11th, 2013.
The film is based on L. Frank Baum’s Oz novels, though it also pays homage to the 1939 MGM film The Wizard Of Oz.
The film is set 20 years before the events of the books, and focuses on Oscar Diggs, who arrives in the Land of Oz and is believed to be the great wizard who is destined to restore order in Oz.
Oz the Great and Powerful 3D the Movie
The films opens in 1905, where Oscar Diggs works as a small-time magician in a traveling circus in Kansas.
While a storm approaches, Oscar’s magic show goes very badly and then the circus strongman learns that Oscar has flirted with his wife.
The strongman chases Oscar, forcing him to escape in a hot air balloon that is sucked into the tornado.
The tornado dumps him in the Land of Oz, where he meets the witch Theodora.
Theodora believes him to be a great wizard prophesied to overthrow the Wicked Witch who killed the king of Oz.
On the way to the Emerald City, Oscar flirts with Theodora, who innocently falls in love with him.
They also meet flying monkey named Finley, who pledges a life debt to Oscar when he saves Finley from a lion.
At the Emerald City, Oscar meets Theadora’s sister Evanora, who is skeptical of Oscar being the foretold wizard.
Evanora tells Oscar that the Wicked Witch resides in the Dark Forest and can be killed by destroying her wand, the source of her power.
On the way to the Dark Forest, Oscar and Finley come across a young, living china doll whose home and family were destroyed by the Wicked Witch.
But things are not all as they seem in Oz, and as the movie plays out, Oscar must decide if he is just a simple magician, or if he is in fact destined to be The Wizard of Oz!
Oz the Great and Powerful had an interesting goal, to be a prequel to one of the most well known films in history.
This new film certainly goes a long way to recreate the Land of Oz, and the story sets the scene pretty much perfectly for the events of the original film.
Again we start with a narrow screen monochrome sequence that opens up to widescreen and glorious ‘Technicolor’ as we explore the Land of Oz.
The film has a pretty good heart, and Oscar certainly has a big character arc, with his strong self interest fading in favour of the greater good of the people of Oz.
The spirit of the original Oz movie has been well captured.
Overall I enjoyed the film, and have new motivation to re-watch the original, which has a 3D release planned for later this year.
The cast includes James Franco in the role of Oscar, along with witches Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams, and voice actors Zach Braff and Joey King.
Oz the Great and Powerful 3D was directed by Sam Raimi, who started out with low budget films like The Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn, but is probably most famous for his Spider-Man: The High-Definition Trilogy.
Reviews for the movie were predominantly positive, with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 60% and an IMDb score of 6.6/10.
Oz the Great and Powerful 3D was successful in the cinema, exceeding its budget by taking in $233.7M at the US box office.
Oz the Great and Powerful 3D on Blu-ray 3D
The video on the disc is a stereo MVC 1080p encode at 23 Mbps, and is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.40:1.
The movie opens in black and white 1.33:1 aspect ratio, though is still in 3D.
The film has great saturated colours to align with the original film, and looks excellent throughout.
The 3D stereoscopic effect is also strong throughout, with quite a few out of screen effects
See the details page for Oz the Great and Powerful 3D for full resolution PNG screen captures taken directly from the disc.
The main audio is lossless DTS-HD Master Audio with 7.1 channels – 24 bits resolution at 48 kHz.
The disc is a dual layer BD50, with 44.6 GB used and is coded for All Regions.
Oz the Great and Powerful 3D on Blu-ray 3D – The Bonus Features
This release is different from previous Disney Blu-ray 3D titles in that it does not include the regular Blu-ray or even a DVD of the movie.
It does include a Digital Copy download (there is no Digital Copy disc) that is compatible with iTunes however.
This omission has two detrimental side effects for the avid film fan.
Firstly there is not a copy of the movie that can be viewed on a regular Blu-ray home theater system.
Many folks have a second or even third television that is not 3D capable and unlike some 3D titles, this Blu-ray 3D disc will not play in a regular player.
So it cannot be watched in other rooms on a regular Blu-ray or DVD based system.
Perhaps the biggest issue from my perspective though is that it appears to completely lack any of the supplemental features of the regular release.
I think that this is a big oversight on Disney’s part.
Still in will be interesting to see how well this packaging sells in the marketplace, and whether Disney continues with this approach for future Blu-ray 3D titles, or whether they go back to making a package that covers all of the formats.
Oz the Great and Powerful 3D on Blu-ray 3D – Final Thoughts
Oz the Great and Powerful 3D is a fun film that has strong ties with the original story and movie.
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment has put together a technically strong Blu-ray 3D release with an excellent 3D presentation of the film.
On the down side, this release lacks the legacy formats of regular Blu-ray and DVD, and as such no supplements are directly available.
There is a Digital Copy code that can be used to download a Digital Copy of the film that is iTunes compatible.
The retail price is $44.99, though you can get it currently at Amazon for $31.45, saving 30%!
Disney’s fantastical adventure Oz The Great And Powerful, from the director of the Spider-Man trilogy, follows Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics. When Diggs is hurled away to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he’s hit the jackpot – until he meets three witches (Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams), who aren’t convinced he’s the great wizard everyone’s expecting. Reluctantly drawn into epic problems facing Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it’s too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity – and even some wizardry – Oscar transforms himself into the great Wizard and a better man as well.