Blu-ray Review “Oz The Great and Powerful”

oz2d-bluStarring: James Franco, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz, Abigail Spencer, Joey King
Director: Sam Raimi
Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Release Date: June 11, 2013
Run Time: 130 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 4 out of 5 stars

After the success of Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland”, we knew that more films like this weren’t far behind. When I heard Sam Raimi was directing this I also was a little hesitant since I wasn’t thrilled at all with what he did with the “Spider-Man” franchise, especially with all that money. But once I saw the first posters and trailers, I was really drawn in. I felt like they might have actually gotten it right. Well let’s say that I enjoyed the film…wasn’t in love with it but there were parts that I liked. The film is a visual thing of beauty but really falls into the category of looking too fake. When you watch “Avatar” you believe that they are really there but this felt like a giant green screen shoot. You are still able to enjoy the film and it’s many references back to the original “The Wizard of Oz” story, but it just didn’t pack any magic to my viewing. I am on board for the inevitable sequel just hope they make some needed changes.

One of the main things, I had a problem with was the believability of these actors in there respective roles. James Franco, Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz have all either won or been nominated for Oscars and numerous other awards. Sorry Mila Kunis, “Family Guy” is only a TV show. So I found it a little hard to watch these “great” actors in these less than great roles. Also speaking of Mila Kunis, she doesn’t really have a good angry voice. So when she screamed it just felt like Meg from “Family Guy” screaming at Peter, not very effective. So I was never able to really get behind their roles, I thought it was quite miscast for sure.

Official Premise: Disney’s fantastical adventure Oz The Great And Powerful, from the director of the Spider-Man trilogy, follows Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics. When Diggs is hurled away to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he’s hit the jackpot — until he meets three witches (Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams), who aren’t convinced he’s the great wizard everyone’s expecting. Reluctantly drawn into epic problems facing Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it’s too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity — and even some wizardry — Oscar transforms himself into the great wizard and a better man as well.

Obviously, this film was meant to be seen in 3D, read out review of the 3D Blu-ray here. Disney decided to split this film releases and decided not to include a 3D Blu-ray in this combo pack.  I have to say the film still works (sort of) without being in 3D but missing that pop for me that drew me into the world that they created. The 1080p transfer still is quite impressive and like on the 3D Blu-ray, the colors are extremely vibrant, especially with the switch from black and white to color after the opening 20 minutes. I enjoyed this much more in the 3D version of the film since it packed that extra depth. Disney delivered a very sharp DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 and the sound is quite amazing from the twister swinging through Kansas to the flying monkeys flying past your head. I have to also give props to Danny Elfman’s amazing score as well!

This Blu-ray release includes a two-disc set with a Blu-ray and a DVD disc.  There is also a digital copy that you can now redeem with Disney Movie Rewards and will be able to view the film online via your tablets, smartphones, TV etc. This release is also the only way to get special features for this film.  They start off with “The Magic of Oz the Great and Powerful: Second Screen Experience”, which is a great way to get immersived in the world of Oz by using the app on your iPads. “The Enchanting Characters and Creatures of Oz” showcases everyone from Munchkins to flying baboons. “The Sounds of Magical Oz” looks into the film’s sound design. “Sleight of Hand: Zach Braff Puppet Theater” looks into Zach Braff voice over work. There is also a music video from Mariah Carey’s “Almost Home”.

“China Girl and the Suspension of Disbelief” looks into the life behind China Girl and how went from paper to the screen. “Before Your Very Eyes: From Kansas to Oz” takes a stroll into the visual effects world with Production designer Robert Stromberg. “Mila’s Metamorphosis” looks into how the actress was transformed into her green self with lead makeup artist Howard Berger. “Walt Disney and the Road to Oz” looks into Walt Disney fascination with the Land of Oz and the classic Baum books. “Mr. Elfman’s Musical Concoctions” is an interview with composer Danny Elfman. “My Journey in Oz by James Franco” is a feature with Franco discussing this role and his inside story. Lastly there are Bloopers included.

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