Michael Scott

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The Wizard of Oz


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Movie: :5stars:
4K Video: :5stars:
Video: :4stars:
Audio: :4stars:
Extras: :4stars:
Final Score: :4.5stars:



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Movie

Probably the most anticipated film on this format, or any format for that matter is Victor Fleming’s 1939 film The Wizard of Oz. Much like It’s a Wonderful Life the movie is a part of pop culture to the extreme, and has been released and re released a dozen plus times over the years of home video. When someone says “pick a movie from your childhood that you absolutely can not live with out” and no matter what, I come back to this one. I grew up as a little kid watching on a 13 inch Goldstar TV and having my mother play the VHS so many times that I literally wore out two copies. Fast forward to my adult years and I’ve spent more money buying and rebuying this film than I have on copies of Star Wars (which is saying something). Now we get the joy of an 80th anniversary edition in 4K, with Warner going back to the technicolor negative and giving us an amazing 8K master to enjoy on the latest and greatest home video format.

Dorothy (Judy Garland) is a precious young teenage girl who is frustrated at living in poor and dusty Kansas back in the 1800s. Her uncle and aunt are struggling to save their chicks from a broken incubator, her nasty neighbor wants to take her dog Toto (Terry the terrier) from her, and all she can think of to do is run away from her family. However, a nasty tornado whips through Kansas, uprooting the poor girl in her house and dropping her off at the magical land of Oz (and on top of the wicked witch of the east, and ticking off said witches sister). Now it’s up to Dorothy to take the magical slippers of the witch she killed and follow the yellow brick road to the wizard of Oz so that he can send her home to Kansas once more.
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Along the way she picks up a few friends in the scarecrow (Ray Bolger), a tin man (Jack Haley) and the cowardly lion (Bert Lahr). Each of these three companions is missing something (a brain for the scarecrow, a heart for the tin man, and courage for the lion) that only the wizard can provide, and there is strength in numbers as none of them want to come into contact with the wicked witch of the west, who is after Dorothy for her sister’s ruby red magic slippers. Now it’s up to our 4 companions to get to the wizard and complete the tasks he gives to them in order get back home.

The Wizard of Oz is a completely magical film, and one that has been with me every since I was a six year old child. For an 80 year old film it’s incredible just how busy and ambitious the thing is. Not only does the movie’s plot revolve around illusions (both literal and emotional), but it’s also an illusion itself. Nothing is real in the film, nothing at all. The entire thing was filmed on a studio lot with matte background paintings, entire set pieces built from nothing, and costumes and designs that boggle the mind knowing what they had to work with back then. It’s just so deep and insightful, pushing the boundaries of a children’s movie and integrating some thoughtful commentary on life and our obsession with illusions. It doesn’t matter if you’re old or you, The Wizard of Oz has something for everyone, and it can not be denied just how massive an impact it had on modern cinematic stories either.




Rating:

Rated G By the MPAA




4K Video: :5stars: Video: :4stars:
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For The Wizard of Oz Warner has gone back to the original technicolor negative and pulled off an 8K 16bit scan for the master. Yes, repeat that again, an 8K digital intermediate. The results again speak for themselves, as The Wizard of Oz comes to 4K UHD with a picture perfect transfer that just dazzles in every respect. The original Blu-rays were always “good” discs, but suffered from some digital artifacting stemming from low bitrate VC-1 encodes that were meant to be put out on HD-DVD discs as well. This new master is just superb, and the literal influx of bright colors is staggering. The use of HDR is well worth the price of admission, as the already lavish colors of Oz just pop off the page with super saturated colors that had my jaw handing down. The reds of the ruby red slippers, or the greens of Oz itself just sparkle, and the shades of blue, yellow and somber browns are as pristine as can be. The opening and ending scenes are in black and white, heavily graded to look like the dustbowl brown of old photographs of Midwest farmers that we have today, and is deeply DEEPLY awash in earthy browns instead of your typical blacks. There’s very few issues with compression, and the only thing I could see being a “problem” is a few optics are just naturally soft, and aren’t as razor sharp as the rest of the movie. But all in all, these issues are so minor as to be non issue.








Audio: :4stars:
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The 5.1 DTS-HD MA track that is found on the 4K UHD disc appears at first light to be identical to the Blu-ray’s 5.1 track, but after talking with another reviewer the other day I went back and checked out he disc and low and behold, it’s actually NOT the same track. In most ways it is identical to the Blu-ray’s 5.1 DTS-HD MA track, but if you listen carefully it has been slightly altered in a few scenes. There’s some added bass to the tornado scene that drops Dorothy off at Oz, as well as the flying monkeys scene, and a few other choice ones have some boosted volume in areas that were a bit dim. It seems to be an effort to clean up and modernize the track just a little bit, but in reality is very VERY similar to the Blu-ray. My only gripe is that Warner dropped the lossless mono track from the Blu-ray, which really SHOULD be on the disc. It is on the included Blu-ray in the combo pack, but in my opinion should have been on the 4K disc as well for the purists. A bit of a gripe, but nothing wild.







Extras: :4stars:
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• Commentary- Commentary by John Fricke with Barbara Freed-Saltzman, Margaret Hamilton, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, John Lahr, Jane Lahr, Hamilton Meserve, Dona Massin, William Tuttle, Buddy Ebsen, Mervyn LeRoy and Jerry Maren
• The Making of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
• The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Storybook (narrated by Angela Lansbury)
• We Haven't Really Met Properly…
-- We Haven't Really Met Properly: "Frank Morgan"
-- We Haven't Really Met Properly: "Ray Bolger"
-- We Haven't Really Met Properly: "Bert Lahr"
-- We Haven't Really Met Properly: "Jack Haley"
-- We Haven't Really Met Properly: "Billie Burke"
-- We Haven't Really Met Properly: "Margaret Hamilton"
-- We Haven't Really Met Properly: "Charley Grapewin"
-- We Haven't Really Met Properly: "Clara Blandick"
-- We Haven't Really Met Properly: "Terry"
• Music & Effects Track
• Original Mono Track
• Sing Along Tracks
• Audio Jukebox
• Leo is on the Air Radio Promo
• Good News of 1939 Radio Show
• 12/25/1950 Lux Radio Broadcast
• Stills Galleries
-- Oz on Broadway
-- Pre-MGM
-- Sketches and Storyboards
-- Richard Thorpe's Oz
-- Buddy Ebsen
-- Oz Comes to Life
-- Behind the Scenes
-- Portraits
-- Special Effects
-- Post Production
-- Deleted Scenes
-- Original Publicity
-- 8/15/1939 Hollywood Premiere
-- 8/17/1939 New York Premiere
-- 2/29/1940 Academy Awards® Ceremony
-- Oz Abroad
-- Oz Revivals
• Trailers











Final Score: :4.5stars:


The Wizard of Oz is a fantastic big of G rated, family friendly, entertainment. The classic story about looking within for your strength is one of the most highly rated classics for a good reason, with a stunning performance by Judy Garland and absolutely sumptuous special effects for an 80 year old movie. Warner Brothers has really blown this up big time with a fantastic new scan of the negative, as well as a slightly tweaked audio track. Again, I must reiterate that I’m slightly peeved that the original Mono track wasn’t presented on this disc, but this set is jam packed with extras and the new video transfer almost makes up for that slight faux pas. Highly recommended.


Technical Specifications:

Starring: Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, Jack Haley, Billie Burke, Margaret Hamilton, Charley Grapewin, Pat Walshe
Directed by: Victor Fleming
Written by: Florence Ryerson, Noel Langley, Edgar Allan Woolf
Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1 HEVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, Spanish (Castilian), Spanish (Latin), French, Czech, Hungarian, Russian, Arabic DD Mono
Subtitles: English SDH, Latin Spanish, Parisian French, Brazilian Portuguese, Complex Chinese, Castilian Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, German SDH, Italian SDH, Japanese, Norwegian, Swedish
Studio: Warner Brothers
Rated: G
Runtime: 101 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: October 29th, 2019
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Recommendation: VERY Highly Recommended

 

tripplej

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Thanks for the review. A great movie worth having. :)
 

Asere

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Thanks for the review. This makes me want to get a 4K tv soon.
 

Michael Scott

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lol, 4K can get addicting REAL fast
 

thrillcat

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When you look up "classic" in the dictionary, this is the image.

I don't know how often I'd watch it, but I'm going to have to get this just to see it in 4K.
 
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