Film Review: The Wizard of Oz 3D

The Wizard of Oz

To celebrate its 75th anniversary, The Wizard of Oz gets a cinematic re-release, being screened in 3D for the very first time. Despite its age, the film is as enchanting as ever.

When young Dorothy Gale and her dog Toto are caught up in a tornado, the pair are swept away from Kansas. Dorothy must journey to meet the Wizard of Oz, in the hope that he can return her home…

Three-quarters of a century may have passed since the film was originally released, but The Wizard of Oz still holds up as a wonderful piece of cinema. The film has none of its shine in terms of fantasy, spectacle and entertainment.

Victor Fleming’s film sets up a narrative template which has been emulated by numerous fantasy films since. At the core of The Wizard of Oz is a quest that is undertaken by the protagonist. The film introduces memorable characters throughout the duration. The fact that these are tied into the wider preceding frame of the narrative gives the film a tidy and complete feeling.

The Wizard of Oz mixes fantasy, adventure and music in a most satisfying manner. Songs from the film have become classics, whilst the iconography is some of the strongest in cinematic history. Aimed at a family audience, Fleming injects the right amount of peril, enchantment and humour.

It took 18 months to restore The Wizard of Oz  and convert the film into 3D. The results are pretty impressive, given the age of the picture. The use of 3D is subtle, enhancing the images without being distracting. In some scenes the use of 3D results in the backgrounds looking fuzzy in contrast. This does not hamper overall enjoyment, however.

The re-release of The Wizard of Oz gives a timely opportunity for both newcomers and longtime fans to see the quintessential fantasy film on the big screen.

The Wizard of Oz 3D is being released at IMAX cinemas in the UK from 12th September 2014.

Film Review: Oz The Great and Powerful

Oz The Great and Powerful

With its spellbinding imagery, Oz The Great and Powerful is a most pleasing fantasy adventure.

Oscar Diggs is a fairground magician always on the look out for the next scam. When he is swept away to the magical land of Oz, the inhabitants believe him to be the great wizard that they have been waiting for…

Oz The Great and Powerful functions both as a prequel to 1939’s The Wizard of Oz and a homage to it. The film tells the tale of the man behind the wizard, and how he came to hold such a powerful position. Oz The Great and Powerful fills in the back story to an important character in the Oz realm, but one who takes a backseat in the 1939 film.

Sam Raimi’s film features plenty of nods to the 1939 classic. Fans should be pleased with these, as they fall into the loving homage category, rather than an attempt to ape the original. Unlike Return to Oz, Oz The Great and Powerful maintains the style of the 1939 film. Despite over seventy years passing since The Wizard of Oz, Sam Raimi’s film retains its style. The opening in particular is a great homage to Victor Fleming’s film.

The narrative fits the conventions of this style of fantasy. The dialogue is imbued with a healthy does of schmaltz. However, The Wizard of Oz itself was also ripe with sentimentality, so this should not surprise. The schmaltz does not make Oz The Great and Powerful a bad film by any means; however those not keen on whimsy may find it too cheesy. The film introduces some new characters to the sphere. These wok well, particularly sidekick Finley.

Oz The Great and Powerful is a majestic amalgamation of live action and CGI. The two formats are blended together so well, the separation is not really noticeable. The film makes the most of colour, in keeping with its predecessor, and is incredibly effective in creating the fantasy world of Oz. It is really worth seeing Oz The Great and Powerful in 3D; as the depth does add something. Danny Elfman’s score is also good.

Performances from the stellar cast are strong. James Franco is most believable as the magician of dubious morals. Rachel Weisz is perfectly cast as Evanora, while Michelle Williams makes a suitably ethereal Glinda. Mila Kunis also excels as Theodora.

Fans of The Wizard of Oz should find Oz The Great and Powerful to be a lovingly crafted addition to the Oz universe. Highly recommended for fantasy aficionados.