Oz The Great and Powerful 3D Blu-ray Review!

d Powerful Blu-ray 3D Review

I’m not going to go on and on about how much I love The Wizard of Oz. All right thinking people love the 1939 classic.  After the huge Broadway success of Wicked there was bound to be a modern film version that returns us to this wonderful land.  At one point there were several different studio versions of the Wizard of Oz (prequels, sequels, alternative takes) in production. First out of the gate is Disney’s Oz The Great and Powerful. While the name implies grandeur and delight, the movie fails to deliver.

Director Sam Raimi opens the movie with familiar, but welcome territory, as we see carnival con man Oz (James Franco) run around a black and white infused Kansas. The 3D affect is, well, underwhelming. It doesn’t add much to the experience but at least the 3D wasn’t distracting from the story or the visuals. Much like the classic version, we encounter a couple of Kansas versions of the eventual Oz characters. Maybe, it is because I’ve seen the original a million times and it is one of my top 4 all time favorite films, it is hard to judge this re-imagined, prequel or whatever this is. The classic Tornado sequence is filmed extremely well, but it lacks the wow factor of the original.

When we finally get to Oz, I was expecting to see some true visual splendor and while it did look great at times, ultimately it failed to invoke a feeling of wonder and awe. Every frame of this movie lacks the childlike joy that one would expect from a Wizard of Oz film.  Everything is overly serious and Raimi directs this movie as though it is payday, not a passion project. The story actually worked well for me, I found myself hoping that Theodora (Mila Kunis) would not turn evil. Kunis does a fantastic job of playing the full-bore crazy green witch we all know and love. As Theodora the naive sister there is little to no chemistry between her and Franco that would lead you to believe that his actions would impact her enough to make her abandon everything she believes in to become wicked.

Oz The Great and Powerful

While the movie goes through great lengths to show why Theodora becomes evil, it feels like they shortcut the transformation and doesn’t spend enough time establishing the relationship between her and Oz.  They basically spend 10 minutes of screen time together. I have never been a fan of composer Danny Elfman, with the exception his brilliant soundtrack for Tim Burton’s Batman, I find his soundtracks to be very bland and derivative.

Oz’s companions include a little China Girl (Joey King) and a smart mouth monkey named Finley (Zach Braff). These two provide much needed comic relief to the otherwise stodgy affair and are really the only real memorable things about the movie. Generally I love Michelle Williams (Glinda the Good Witch) and Rachel Weisz (Theodora’s evil sister) but they are not given much to work with. As with all prequels half the fun is seeing how all of this relates to the story we know and love and they do a nice job of establishing the connections without adhering exactly to it. This is a perfectly fine movie, but I expected and wanted more.

Video/Audio Quality/Packaging

This movie is a prime example of why 3D doesn’t always work. The Blu-ray 3D contains no clipping and is very smooth – certainly better than when I saw it in the Theater. The 3D makes the movie look dull, dark and lifeless. When I put in the 2D Blu-ray, the difference was astounding. Everything became very bright, sharp and colorful.  For some reason the 5.1 Dolby Digital audio mix also sounded 100 percent better on the 2D Blu-ray. There is also a 7.1 audio mix.


Disney has always been great about packaging their Blu-ray/DVD releases but lately they have been doing screwy experimentation. On the Roger Rabitt Blu-ray, they charged extra to get a smaller traditional Blu-ray box (absolutely ridiculous!) and for Oz The Great and Powerful the 2D and 3D versions are completely separate. There doesn’t appear to be their standard mega combo package. I know I complain a lot about having 5 or 6 discs in one package but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to have the movie on all my different platforms. Especially when you are charging an OUTRAGEOUS $31 for it!  The 3D version doesn’t even have any real extras; all the bonus content is on the bonus disk in the 2D version. Disney told us reviewers that this was a printing error, but if you go to Amazon, it was actually released this way. I don’t like where this is going. It would cost you almost $62 to get the 2D, 3D, and digital copy vc


The extras feel a little bit thin, but there’s enough here to keep you interested.

  • The Magic of Oz The Great and Powerful Second Screen Experience
  • Walt Disney and the Road to Oz (10 Mins, HD) – Did you know Walt Disney wanted to produce a movie musical called The Rainbow Road to Oz? This short provides a lot of neat information about Walt Disney’s obsession with trying to get an live action musical based on Oz. Due to rights issues he couldn’t make the movie and he did Babes in Toyland as his first live action movie. He also wanted to add Oz Characters to Disneyland.
  • My Journey In Oz by James Franco (22 Mins, HD) – This is a really cool day in the life/behind the scenes type doc with James Franco. Includes him interviewing different cast members.
  • China Girl and The Suspension of Disbelief (5 Min, HD) – A behind the scenes look at China Girl.
  • Before Your Very Eyes: From Kansas To Oz (11 Min, HD)
  • Mila’s Metamorphosis ((8 Min, HD) – We see how Mila becomes the Wicked Witch.
  • Mr. Elfman’s Musical Concoctions (7 Min., HD)
  • Digital Copy – The Digital Copy code allows you to select your digital format of choice – UltraViolet/Vudu, Amazon or iTunes. It’s great having a choice but why can’t Disney be like other studios and let us use out digital copy code on all services?


While this is not a reference quality set, the audio/video and decent set of extras makes this a nice set for fans of the movie. If you are like me and want the fully loaded, best package available, then by all means go with the 3D Combo Pack. If you don’t like the movie, this set will not change your mind. Due to the weird packaging, this feels like a “botched” release. The 2D Combo pack is the version to get.  Normally I don’t let packaging affect the overall score of a release, but this time Disney has gone too far, everything feels like them trying to figure out the best way they can screw their loyal fans (even on the Digital copy).

It is sad to see them go in this direction as they were the champions of the super deluxe, everything but the kitchen sink, combo packages. As much as I generally love Disney releases this is probably one of the worst releases of the year. Did I mention the 3D featureless version (that doesn’t even work with the 2nd screen app) is $32????

Final Grade D


  • Movie – C
  • 3D Video – C
  • 2D Video – B+
  • Audio – B
  • Packaging – F
  • Extras – B

Final Overall Grade – C-