Oz the Great and Powerful

Written by George Taylor. Posted in Disney, Features, The Disney Review

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Published on June 08, 2013 at 1:00 am with 11 Comments

George: Oz the Great and Powerful was released to theaters on March 8 of this year. It always surprises me when a film is released on Blu-ray so quickly, but it’s an easier and more cost-effective way for the studio to capitalize on the release. I didn’t get the opportunity to see the film in the theaters, but it had definitely piqued my interests. With the Blu-ray release slightly more than two months after the theatrical release, it felt like I didn’t need to see it in the theater. So, how does the Blu-ray stack up?

Jeff: Well, first of all, I did actually see the film in theaters. I accidentally went to a 3D showing of it (I usually hate 3D films), but wound up really enjoying myself. I’m a big fan of the Oz property overall (the books, the original film, and so on), so I had very high hopes for this film. Plus, with James Franco starring and Sam Raimi directing, I thought it would be a home run. Sure enough, I wasn’t disappointed.

George: Oz the Great and Powerful is the story of Oz (Franco) and the three witches from the 1939 film. It’s sort of like a prequel, but nothing like the Star Wars prequels. I had kept away from spoilers and I was very interested to see how the story played out. I have to admit that the characters and story were all very well done and added a lot to the Oz mythos. It was interesting to watch the film with my kids who weren’t as aware of the Wizard of Oz and seeing how they missed some of the nuances and references to the 1939 classic.

Jeff: Nuances and references were a-plenty as well! However, you didn’t need to be a fan of the original film, or source material, to enjoy the film. It was there as a sort of extra. However, a lot of “a-ha!” moments filled the film, letting fans get some added insight to the classic story they love so much. The film itself, I thought, was very well done. It fleshed out a wonderful back story as to how the small time magician Oscar Diggs wound up being the great and powerful Oz. Very much a classic “fish-out-of-water” scenario, the story seemed to breath fresh life into an otherwise droll concept.

George: Agreed. One of my favorite moments was seeing the Wicked Witch of the West become the Wicked Witch of the West. Her story was touching, charming and tragic. Speaking of not tragic: the extras on this release are spectacular. I’m used to Disney doing half-baked releases with extras, but I was very surprised. One of my favorites was a documentary done by Franco in which he interviewed the cast and Raimi about how they came to Oz. It was fairly insightful.

Jeff: For a video diary that could have been a throw away, it was pretty dang interesting. Another one of my favorites is how the Wicked Witch of the West (no spoilers as to who it is if you haven’t seen the film yet!) was physically transformed into the evil, green witch we all know. For a special and practical effects junkie like me, it was pretty amazing to see how the transformation took place.

George: I was very surprised with the historical accuracy of the Walt Disney and the Road to Oz featurette. There’s been a lot of discussion about the attempts by Walt to procure the rights to and make various Oz-related productions over the years. Of course, Oz the Great and Powerful is touted as the realization of Walt’s dream regardless of his lack of involvement. The features, alone, make the disc a worthy addition to your collection.

Jeff: Probably my favorite extra on the disc is the interview with Danny Elfman, and getting his insights on the score of the film. But like George said, the extras along make the disc well worth the price, not to mention the fantastic movie attached to it. If you’re a fan of Oz, than this film is most definitely for you.

What did you think about Disney’s return to Oz?


By Jeff Heimbuch and George Taylor

The Disney Review is written and edited by Jeff Heimbuch and George Taylor

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About George Taylor

George has been obsessed with Disney theme parks since the first time he saw a photo of the Haunted Mansion in the early 70s. He started writing about Disney in 2007 and has amassed one of the world's largest Disney-related libraries.

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11 Comments

Comments for Oz the Great and Powerful are now closed.

  1. Been meaning to see it, but haven’t had the chance yet. I love the 1939 film, and was wondering how this prequel compared to Wicked, which I also haven’t seen, but have read synopses. It seems like Wicked is very revisionist, but I’d like to get other people’s opinions.

  2. Still VERY disappointed that Disney decided to sell the 3-D version of OZ as a stand alone disc. I am an avid 3-D purchaser and am used to paying the premium to get all versions in one package (Blu-ray, 3-D, DVD and digital) even though I personally never use the digital copies. I have a good habit of loaning my films out to friends with kids who may not have blu-ray capabilities and having them all together in one package is awesome. I did not get to see OZ in the theater and was eagerly awaiting it’s 3D arrival for home viewing, having been a HUGE fan of the OZ novels as a child. I was devastated to find it as a full priced stand alone disc. I will not be buying this film in any format after all. I have been burned by the double dip too many times before on many of my favorite movies coming out in newer formats every few months ( Can anyone say Blu-ray Jurassic Park trilogy followed closely by the 3D version?) I hope at some point I will get to see OZ for a fair price after being a loyal 3D purchaser for 3 years now. The little china doll girl is crying….

  3. There is tons of online chatter about this botched release. Just look at the amazon 3D version reviews. The multipack doesn’t include the 3D. And the 3D is a standalone disk ( something they are testing and has never been done before ). This was a huge mistake. I usually end up watching the movie more on 2D blu ray (when I’m working on a project while the movie is on and can’t wear the glasses).

    3D affocianatos are freaked out Disney would continue this mistake in the future(with marvel etc). After the flood of bad posts and email Disney backtracked and said it would include a $5.99 +$2.99 s&h coupon ($10!!!) inside the 3D disk for a 2d blu ray by mail. I Think I heard the multi pack above has a coupon for the 3d(this I would prefer since I want the DVD version too).

    Please post if anyone sees a $5.99 3D coupon in the above pictured gold multipack. As per online posts, this release is such a mess that many are just skipping it for now. Kinda sounds like a good idea.

    • There is a video on You Tube showing the contents of the Blue Ray/DVD multi pack which has a coupon to purchase the 3D version for, I believe, $5.99 via Disney Movie Rewards. There is also a $7 coupon you can get from Scott Towles/Disney Movie Rewards to purchase the multi pack which is only good for 4 days which will lessen the blow of having to purchase the 3D disk extra. Disney made a huge mistake with the packaging of this. And for those who say what’s the big deal–they are charging a premium price for the 3D version which only comes with one disk. (And I don’t know if that one disk contains any of the bounus material mentioned. traditionally only the regular Blue Ray contains the bounus material.) You can also get the UK version which I read is region free and they offfer a Blue Ray/3D multi pack however I don’t know if that contains any bounus material. This movie is really worth watching in 3D!!!

      • Thanks. I’ll by it 1st day Target with the coupon then wait a couple of weeks to see it first time in 3D when it arrives in mail. Crazy situation though!!! I hope they learned from this test.

  4. While I intended to see this film in theaters, my busy schedule got in the way. I’m REALLY looking forward to watching the DVD.

  5. Thanks for the review of the Blu-ray release. I saw the film in theaters and loved it. I’m glad to know the bonus content on this release is worthwhile. I’m planning on picking it up.

  6. **** 3D UPDATE ****

    I’ve watched a youtube unboxing video and found that it DOES have a coupon for the 3D version inside the multipack reviewed above. Inside is a flyer offering consumers the opportunity to go online to the rewards club and, using a special code, order a copy of the 3D blu-ray disc for $5.99. If you’re a Disney Rewards Club member, you’ll also receive 50 Bonus Points when you redeem this special offer.

    The $7 discount from Brawny Towels helps take the sting out of this up-charge.

    • I had the coupon printed and ready to go, however the ad for target says $27.99 and with $7 off…. thats $21+$9 for the 3D disk + shipping and handling. $30+tax would be the highest I’ve paid for a movie in a long time and since I’m all or nothing, I’m sitting this one out and put my name on the wait list at the library. I was debating this purchase before the 3D fiasco and Disney helped me make my decision. Still looking forward to it on DVD from the public library though.

  7. I thought the movie was OK, but not great.

    One problem I had is that (for me, at least) the actress playing the Wicked Witch was far more attractive (and initially, more sympathetic) than the bland actress playing Glinda the Good Witch.

    And I thought the whole giant confrontation in the last act was a bit too over-the-top and too predictable (following the same formula as almost every Hollywood action film).

  8. 80% of a movie’s revenue comes from sales and rentals of the DVD/Blu Ray. Some refer to the theatrical release as nothing more than a commercial for the disc sales. That’s why a movie will come out so quickly to the stores. They have to capture those sales while the film is still fresh in everyone’s minds.
    I personally have not seen a movie in a theater in years. The main reason is the annoyance of people in the theater who talk, text, email, play games, etc. while the movie is playing. It’s just not worth the ticket price to put up with that aggravation.
    And with bigger and better home viewing options, there’s no need for me to leave the comfort…AND QUIET…of my own home.
    I think the U.S. should adopt the same policy in France. They have technology that will block cell phone signals in the theater. If they did that here, I’d be back in the theaters for sure.