Oz the Great and Powerful on Blu-Ray and 3D DVD, June 11th!

var fbShare = {size: ‘small’,}         
(function() {
var po = document.createElement(‘script’); po.type = ‘text/javascript’; po.async = true;
po.src = ‘https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js’;
var s = document.getElementsByTagName(‘script’)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(po, s);

I wrote this review, having received samples of Oz the Great and Powerful, on behalf of WDSHE.  Affiliate links are used in this post.

Oz the Great and Powerful‘ is a Disney production directed by Sam Raimi (whose work includes the “Spider-Man” trilogy and “Alice in Wonderland”).  It stars a spectacular cast helmed by James Franco (Oscar Diggs/The Wizard of Oz), Mila Kunis (Theodora/The Wicked Witch of the West), Rachel Weisz (Evanora) and Michelle Williams (Glinda, the Good Witch).

Originally released in theaters in March of this year, Oz the Great and Powerful debuts for in-home release on Blu-ray Combo Pack, 3D DVD, DVD, Digital and On-Demand, June 11, 2013.

Film Synopsis
When Oscar Diggs, a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he’s hit the jackpot.  Fame and fortune are his for the taking.  That is until he meets three witches: Theodora, Evanora and Glinda, who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone’s been expecting.  Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late.  Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity and even a bit of wizardry, Oscar transforms himself not only into a great wizard but into a better man as well.

The question behind this ‘pre-quel’ to The Wizard of Oz has probably floated through nearly everyone’s mind who has ever seen the original.  Who exactly IS the Wizard?  And I thought Disney did a pretty good job creating a character and a story that lived up to its predecessor. 

If you didn’t see Oz the Great and Powerful in theaters in 3D, and you can see it that way at home, you’re in for a treat.  Starting right with the opening credits you are taken back to 1905, the 3D graphics were really super (although my daughter was anxious for the movie to get started and thought the intro credits were too long, LOL). 

The beginning takes on some nostalgia from the original as it’s presented in black and white, plus it’s formatted in a square projection taking up only a small part of a wide screen dead in the center.  While that is still a pretty neat way to watch it in 2D – in 3D it gives it a lot of depth and the effects ‘burst’ out of the tight resolution giving you a foretaste of what to expect later in the movie.  In the movie there are a few surprising 3D effects, so if you plan on watching it with younger children and haven’t seen it yet, just be prepared, or opt to watch it in 2D which may be less frightening.  Here are some activities you can print out for them to distract them from some of the scarier scenes if needed too

Download Activity Games

As for the story line, it’s pretty much what you expect from a pre-quel to The Wizard of Oz.  An introduction to the main Oz characters, some visits to locales you know from it, a couple of nuances to characters not yet met (the lion and scarecrow, and perhaps even a foreshadowing of Dorothy).  But despite needing to follow a directed track, Disney was still able to make it a movie all its own by introducing new and fun characters and of course using the current day movie magic to produce a visual scene scape that wows.

In order to put the viewer in the frame of mind for THIS movie and not the original, Disney needed to background the witches, especially Theodora and Glinda, and by giving the back story to those through Evanora, they tied it all together to the original.  They also really created a distinct look and feel to all three of them in part by the costume design.

As I mentioned before, the movie is very visual.  Since it uses a lot of CG effects the colors pop and the scene scapes are incredible.  Much of it reminded me of a ‘Mary Poppins’ type style in the sense that the CG, while well done, looked animated in contrast to the live action. 

I had heard mixed reviews on the movie back when it was released, but our family really enjoyed it.  Particularly the character of Finley, the flying monkey bellhop, who is charming and funny all at the same time. It certainly is one I’m glad to have added to our DVD collection and know we will watch it a few more times in the future.

What I most enjoy about the Blu-ray DVDs from Disney are the Bonus Features.  This is what Oz the Great and Powerful includes:

* The Magic of “Oz the Great and Powerful” (Second Screen Experience) – An immersive Second Screen experience that details all things Oz.  You’ll need an iPad to interact with this feature, and the corresponding app which is free from the iTunes store.  It’s quite a neat deal and you get exclusive content with it like: The Enchanting Characters and Creatures of Oz, The Sounds of Magical Oz, Sleight of Hand: Zach Braff Puppet Theater, Mariah Carey Music Video.

* Bloopers

* My Jouney in Oz by James Franco – A personal story produced and directed by James Franco.

* Mr. Elfman’s Musical Concoctions – An interview with composer Danny Elfman where he unveils his inspiration in scoring “Oz the Great and Powerful”.

* China Girl and the Suspension of Disbelief – This feature uncloaks the several forms of movie magic employed to bring China Girl to life and includes and interview with Joey King, the voice of China Girl.

* Before Your Very Eyes: From Kansas to Oz – Production designer Robert Stromberg takes viewers through the set design of the Land of Oz.

* Mila’s Metamorphosis – Lead makeup artist Howard Berger expands on one of the oldest, most tried-and-true forms of movie magic: makeup design and effects.

* Walt Disney and the Road to Oz – See how Walt’s fascination with Oz grew into inspiration.

‘Oz the Great and Powerful’ is available for pre-order now online and you’ll find it at retailers nationwide on Blu-ray and 3D DVD on Tuesday, June 11th.

Have you seen Oz the Great and Powerful in 2D or 3D?  If so what did you think of it?  If not are you planning on seeing it on DVD or Digital Download?

var idcomments_post_id = ‘0377’
var idcomments_post_url = ‘http://www.threedifferentdirections.com/blog/oz-the-great-and-powerful-on-blu-ray-and-3d-dvd-june-11th.html’;