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The Wizard of Oz 3D (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

Audio/3D Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

Studio and Year: Warner - 1939
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 102 minutes
Genre: Fantasy

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: VC-1/MVC
Video Aspect: 1.37:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French Dolby Digital 5.1, English/French/Spanish Mono
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Starring: Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Bert Lahr, Frank Morgan, Margaret Hamilton, Billie Burke
Music by: Herbert Stothart, E.Y. Harburg, Harold Arlen
Directed by: Victor Fleming
Written by: Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson, Edgar Allan Woolf
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: October 1, 2013

"There’s no place like home"

Film Synopsis:

One of the best-loved movies of all time, The Wizard Of Oz (1939) stars Judy Garland as Dorothy, a young Kansas farm girl who is whisked away by a twister to the land of Oz. Accompanied by a brainless Scarecrow, a heartless Tin Man and a Cowardly Lion, Dorothy and her little dog, Toto, follow the Yellow Brick Road seeking the Wizard of Oz, in order that he may grant her wish to return home.

My Take:

Take your family on a fun-filled journey down the yellow brick road where lions sing, tin men talk, scarecrows dance - and children of every age are reminded that in all the world, there's no place like home. Whisked away by a swirling tornado, 12-year-old Dorothy (Judy Garland), her dog Toto - and even her Kansas farmhouse! - sail over the rainbow and into the dazzling land of Oz. Filled with playful munchkins, enchanted forests and endless surprises, this dream-come-true world is one great adventure after another. But the most wondrous adventure of all begins when Dorothy and her new-found friends go in search of the kingdom's mysterious wizard... and the secret that will lead her home.

Based on L. Frank Baum's treasured book series, The Wizard Of Oz was judged the best family film of all time by American Film Institute and literally needs no introduction. It truly is a timeless classic and a glistening diamond in American Cinema. It is a personal favorite that I never grow tired of watching and I am absolutely thrilled with the job that Warner Home Video has done in bringing it to Blu-ray in this latest offering that includes a 3D conversion and an all new documentary. See below:

ALL-NEW Documentary! The Making of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz—This candid overview of how a troubled production overcame the odds to become an integral part of American culture features contributions from historians John Fricke and Sam Wasson, composers Stephen Schwartz and Marc Shaiman, critics Leonard Maltin and Michael Sragow, Bert Lahr’s son John as well as revealing interview clips with Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Buddy Ebsen, Margaret Hamilton and Mervyn LeRoy, among others.

The Wizard of Oz received five Academy Award® nominations, including Best Picture (Outstanding Production), and captured two Oscars®—Best Song (“Over the Rainbow”) and Best Original Score -- plus a special award for Outstanding Juvenile Performance by Judy Garland. The film was an overwhelmingly popular and critical success upon its initial release and repeated its ability to captivate audiences when M-G-M reissued the film in 1949 and 1955.
The film made a new kind of history with its network television premiere in 1956 on CBS. Nearly 45 million people tuned in for this initial telecast, marking the beginning of an annual tradition. Ever since, The Wizard of Oz has been shown virtually annually on network (and then cable) television; its magical story and heartfelt performances have enabled it to grow from a perennial classic to its current status as a treasured icon of popular culture.

Parental Guide:

The rating is for some scary moments.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

Audio: 86

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373647

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373647

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

3D Presentation: 92

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Depth (Onscreen): attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Dimension (Beyond the screen): attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

  • Realism: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

The Wizard of Oz 3D comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Home Video featuring 1080p MVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.6 Mbps.

Obviously The Wizard of Oz wasn’t shot natively in 3D and I looked forward to seeing how its restored elements would translate to 3D. According to Warner Bros. the 3D conversion was a long and complex project which they initiated with a very high resolution (8k) scanning of the original Technicolor camera negative. The restored 2D image was then transformed by creating a depth-map of each frame to construct 3D imagery and determine distances from the viewer’s vantage point. This was followed by the long process (with the use of a rotoscope) to further refine viewer distances and fully layer shapes and objects. The results are excellent. Detail is well preserved as the image retains its high level of clarity as objects within the frame are delineated and sharp. Depth is appreciable as evidenced by the notable separation of objects or people layered in the foreground/background which serves to visually draw you in by creating a more discerning sense of virtual space occupied by things of various sizes and shapes. The sequence in the haunted forest is a great example.

There is little use of 3D imagery that goes well beyond the screen’s borders but natural dimension abounds which enhances the “being there” effect. On occasion there is a bit of 3D pop out, for instance the scene where the wicked witch is aboard her broomstick (as shown from a frontal perspective) skywriting the warning to Dorothy, the tip of her broomstick noticeably protrudes into the room. I didn’t find myself drawn out of the film by odd looking proportions or hokey 3D. In fact I would say that it was just the opposite. Comparing color and fleshtone reproduction to the 2D presentation I found little to no discernible difference with all things being equal (the 3D glasses darken the image a bit which give the impression of brighter chroma to the 2D presentation). The rendering of detail and clarity is identical. I couldn’t help but feel a slight preference for the 2D version but that is probably more of a placebo effect. You can’t go wrong either way.

I utilized the high resolution DTS-HD MA 5.1 channel mix which does a terrific job rendering the film’s soundtrack. Dialogue has appreciable vocal character and above average room penetration. This is a more or less front oriented presentation that makes use of the entire system to deliver a rewarding audio experience that is highlighted by the richness and defining clarity of memorable musical set pieces and score. The surrounds are utilized for atmospheric extension while lightly applied dynamics and upper level bass combine to provide solidity that enhances the music without sounding unnatural. I was extremely pleased with the outcome of this audio presentation. It highlights the strengths of the source material without ostentatious display and sounds great.

2D Video Quality:

Video: 94

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

The Wizard of Oz comes to Blu-ray from Warner Home Video featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 29 Mbps.

Based upon the information from Warner I would assume that this is a newly minted master resulting from the 8k scan of the original negative. In looking at it I don't see a demonstrative difference between it and the transfer/restoration found on the 70th Anniversary high definition release of The Wizard of Oz. As with that this film’s 1.37:1 framed high definition video presentation on Blu-ray looks terrific on my 100 inch screen. Colors are tonally balanced with lustrous primaries, clean rendering and delineated secondary hues that all look terrific. Fleshtones are appreciably lifelike with discernible texture and natural depiction. The sepia toned opening and closing sequences are beautifully full and gradational. The level of visible detail in facial features, hair and clothing during close-ups is noteworthy. Wide angle shots innately vary in terms of visual depth but most reveal subtle degrees of refinement and fidelity is never in question. Resolution is excellent as the blend of interior shots and sets featured in the story offer clarity, detail and dimension that belie the film’s 75 years. Of course this also made some of the special effects more obvious but that’s fine. Blacks are noise free, stable and fairly deep. Contrast and brightness are balanced well which enlivens bright scenes and colors while maintaining an appreciable level of visibility and dimension during darker segments. Grain is present and appears undisturbed. Warner is to be commended on this excellent and faithful high definition presentation that is sure to please even discerning fans.

Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1:

  • 3D Blu-ray – The Wizard of Oz

  • Disc 2:

  • 2D Blu-ray – The Wizard of Oz (plus the following bonus material)

  • Audio commentary with cast, cast/crew living family members, film historians and more

  • (HD) The making of the wonderful Wizard of Oz – 69 minute documentary

  • The wonderful Wizard of Oz storybook – As read by Angela Lansbury

  • We haven’t properly met – Cast profiles:
    1. Frank Morgan
    2. Ray Bolger
    3. Bert Lahr
    4. Jack Haley
    5. Billie Burke
    6. Margaret Hamilton
    7. Charley Grapewin
    8. Clara Blandick
    9. Terry (Toto)
  • Music & effects track

  • Original mono track

  • Sing-along

  • Audio jukebox

  • Leo is on the air radio promo

  • Good news of 1939 radio show

  • 12/25/1950 Lux Radio Theater broadcast

  • Stills galleries

  • Trailers

  • Ultraviolet Digital Copy

Final Thoughts:

Based on L. Frank Baum's treasured book series, The Wizard Of Oz was judged the best family film of all time by American Film Institute and literally needs no introduction. It truly is a timeless classic and a glistening diamond in American Cinema. It is a personal favorite that I never grow tired of watching and I am absolutely thrilled with the job that Warner Home Video has done in bringing it to Blu-ray. This two disc release features a brand new and gorgeous 3D rendering, faithful and stellar high definition video quality, rewarding lossless sound and a mix of previously released and new supplements highlighted by an all new documentary. If you’re set up for 3D this release deserves serious consideration for inclusion in your video collection. I have kept all of the previously released versions of The Wizard of Oz and am delighted to accept this release from Warner Home Video into the fold. Enjoy!


Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8801 11.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
post #2 of 5
So for 2D, the 70th and 75th editions of the movie appear to be the same?
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by nickbuol View Post

So for 2D, the 70th and 75th editions of the movie appear to be the same?


I have edited the 2D video portion of the review to be clearer on this. Sorry about that...

post #4 of 5
Thanks for the review, Ralph! cool.gif

Being the classic it is, I try to watch The Wizard of Oz at least once each year (usually in the month of October), but this year I watched it in 3D thanks to this new release. Overall, I'd have to say the 3D version wasn't as impressive as I'd expected it to be. That's not to say that it was bad in some way, but it didn't excite me quite like some of the newer 3D films have recently. Still, I'm very happy to have this package in my collection and don't regret buying it one bit. I intend to watch it again in 3D, and in 2D, so the 3D version might dazzle me a bit more the second time around.

Thanks again... smile.gif
post #5 of 5
Believe it or not, I don't own any version of this film, so I guess I have no excuse but to get it now that it's been 3D-ed...I guess I'll wait till the price drops, if it ever does... Again, thanks for the review, Ralph! cool.gif
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