Blu-Ray Review: Oz The Great And Powerful 3D

oz 813x1024 Blu Ray Review: Oz The Great And Powerful 3D

Disney releases another live action re-imagining, this time it’s the origins of “Oz.”

The movie is better than Disney’s Alice In Wonderland but similar problems arise.

First, the acting.  James Franco plays the role of Oz as he’s magically transported to the fairy tale world of uhm…Oz.  Franco tries his best to be purposefully hammy but just comes out as bad acting.  The rest of the cast is a bit better but when the lead actor is terrible, the movie is off to a bad start.

Sam Raimi, the man behind the original Spider-Man movies, still shoots the movie with great camera effects and low budget editing but his creativity could’ve been better.  I didn’t like that Oz was overly bright with obvious sets all over the movie and cartoonish CGI.  Actually I watched it in both 3D and 2D (keep in mind, they’re released as different sets) and the movie is more enjoyable with the former because of the popping effects.  It was easier to forgive CG when river fairies are squirting water at you.

Oz has to hunt a witch to prove he’s the savior of the land.  It turns out it’s not what it seems and he befriends several weird creatures including a talking monkey and a porcelain doll.  If that wasn’t enough, he meets more characters and they team up to destroy the wicked witch.

There’s a good possibility that the original script had a great life lesson but it gets buried in a whole lot of non eventful scenes that by the end of the movie, I didn’t really care anymore.

The only saving grace was Sam Raimi’s ability to feel sorry for the villain.  Even in his Spider-Man movies, he always brings sympathy to the bad guys.  I was hoping Raimi would be back to his old form but “Oz” was a big disappointment.

Video Quality:
The 3D is pretty damn great and makes the movie better than it should be.  Maybe Raimi focused on the 3D crowd but I love the way the sets popped at you.  Best part for me was when Franco first arrived in Oz and his air balloon landed in the water.  The scene showcases the vibrant colors and with 3D, the special effects is more enjoyable.

The 2D version is also sharp and vibrant but without the effects flying at you, the movie experience is more dull.  Both versions have great transfers but if you had to choose one, the easy choice goes to 3D.

Audio Quality:
The video is presented in 7.1 DTS HD and it’s also an impressive transfer.  Best way to tell is the flat sound in the first 15 minutes or so and then the bombastic track as we get the colorful place of Oz.  It made me appreciate what can be done with a great track.  Dialog is easy to hear while surround is frequently use.d

Since Disney decided to split up the sets, this is an important note:

3D version only has the extras in digital format.

2D version extra is included in the Blu-ray. 

The extras include a mini documentary on the history of Oz, a 20 minute video journal from James Franco and several special effects featurettes.  The extras aren’t as fulfilling as other Disney releases but it gets the job done.

While Oz The Great And Powerful has great presentation and several cool scenes, the movie is a disappointment.  James Franco being the biggest problem.  The movie is still worth checking out because of the directing style of Sam Raimi.

Overall grade: C+


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