When a tornado rips through Kansas, Dorothy and her dog, Toto, are whisked away in their house to the magical land of Oz. They follow the Yellow Brick Road toward the Emerald City to meet the Wizard, and en route they meet a Scarecrow that needs a brain, a Tin Man missing a heart, and a Cowardly Lion who wants courage. The wizard asks the group to bring him the broom of the Wicked Witch of the West to earn his help.
Plot: Dorothy Gale is swept away from a farm in Kansas to a magical land of Oz in a tornado and embarks on a quest with her new friends to see the Wizard who can help her return home to Kansas and help her friends as well.
Director: Victor Fleming, George Cukor
Aspect Ratio: 1.37.1
Runtime: 102 min
Rotten Tomatoes Consensus: An absolute masterpiece whose groundbreaking visuals and deft storytelling are still every bit as resonant, The Wizard of Oz is a must-see film for young and old.
“A masterpiece for all ages.”
Using state of the art technology, a new 8K 16bit scan of the original Technicolor camera negative has become the basis for the new 4K UHD scan! The process was overseen by MPI colorist Janet Wilson, who has overseen every remaster of The Wizard of Oz for the past 20 years. As per the norm with UHD releases, it was also given a HDR color grade for your viewing pleasure in both Dolby Vision & HDR10+.
When it comes to the grain levels, there is a slight layer intact to hold the original filmatic look, but other than that, there’s nothing out of the ordinary you wouldn’t expect with a release like this. Certain scenes have a more apparent softness, while others will have a very noticeable jump in sharpness — especially when the frame holds still on some of the characters faces.
The wider color spectrum does it’s job giving bright, deeper and more lifelike colors through and through. The color palette holds it’s natural tone and the contrast can be seen in the brightest areas and in the darkest corners. You can see the love that was put into this transfer, it’s a stunner!
Let’s get right to it, I jotted down a lot of notes: the moment the film turns into color BAM! the HDR starts to do it’s work in Chapter 11. You’ll notice the reds in Dorthy’s hair, the freckles on her face and a new color in character flesh tones. Munchkinland is full of color and new detail from the saturation of color on the yellow brick road, greens in the various surrounding vegetation and enhanced detail of fabric on the Munchkin’s wardrobes.
This continues time and time again whether it’s the bright shine of red from Dorthy’s shoes, the detailed crosshatch work on Scarecrows face, the imperfections of (bright) green paint from the Wicked Witch of the West, the metallic paint, rust and scratches on Tin Man — especially when the light hits his face at the right angle and you get that gleam and glitz. This continues with textures from the Lion’s wardrobe — his prosthetic is more noticeable on his face, down to where the boarder starts and ends on his forehead and mouth… you get the point.
Here’s the rest of what I jotted down:
Look how vivid the apples and leaves are in Chapter 24 — bright red and green! Enjoy the vibrant field of flowers full of reds and pinks on the way to Emerald City in Chapter 33. Then we get to Emerald City… when they first arrive in Chapter 35 the deep green walls look great, but what looks amazing is the super vibrant wardrobe of the man that answers the door! Whoa! Another standout in clarity and sharpness is during the scene in Chapter 38 when the Lion finds his courage before they see The Wizard of Oz — the green grass and flowers are bright and detailed on his robe, at least to my eye. Lastly, look out for the red accents of the uniforms of the Wicked Witches army in Chapter 44, especially against the mostly dark backdrop, it looks great.
Of course, with any enhancement, special effects and props stand out more than previous releases. Maybe you noticed this before and it’s just my trained eye scanning every scene, but it was more noticeable to me.
Officially, the 4K UHD Combo Pack releases on October 29th, so make sure you head out to your local retailer to pick it up — it’s a must own classic for all ages young and old. It’s never looked better and you have my permission to double or triple dip on it. Beyond the new image, this film received five Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, Best Song, Best Original Score + a special award for Outstanding Juvenile Performance by Judy Garland. If that wasn’t enough, it also holds a place in multiple AFI lists including the Top; 100 movies, 100 Thrills, 100 Hero’s and Villains, 100 Songs, 100 Movie Quotes and 100 Greatest Movie Musicals — all over the last 100 years… it’s that important to cinema.
Are you a fan of this movie? Will you be picking it up in UHD? Let me know what you think in the comments below.
As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, a bunch classics just released in the UHD format including The Shining, Scarface and It’s A Wonderful Life — be sure to check back in for more reviews as they release to the world.
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