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The Witches of Oz Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit), English Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: NR
  • Run Time: 164 Mins.
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: April 10, 2012
  • List Price: $29.97

[amazon-product]B006ZCWU8M[/amazon-product]

Purchase The Witches of Oz on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Series
[Rating:2/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Series

[Rating:2/5]

L. Frank Baum’s classic fairytale The Wonderful Wizard of Oz gave us one of the most beloved films of all time, its 1939 big screen adaptation The Wizard of Oz. Baum also wrote other books in the series, Ozma of Oz, The Road to Oz, and The Magic of Oz and together they’ve been responsible for numerous onscreen visits to the world of Oz over the years. The Witches of Oz, originally run as a television mini-series, is yet another re-imagining of Baum’s creation. It takes its inspiration from all of the books that Baum wrote. While its story seems like it could have been rather interesting and original, à la Tin Man, it fails to ever reach any level of satisfactory fantasy or ever make a real modicum of sense.

In the re-imagining, Dorothy Gale (Paulie Rojas) is now an adult living in Manhattan. A successful writer of children’s books, she has subconsciously been writing stories about Oz from her suppressed childhood memories that her friend and pushy agent Billie (Eliza Swenson) has been successfully trying to sell to publishers. Surrounded by a close knit circle of friends, the story of Dorothy’s true past adventures in Oz is slowly revealed as the Wicked Witch of the West comes sniffing around looking for a magical key she possesses. The key will grant the Witch the power to destroy Oz and other worlds, but a deal made with the Wizard (Christopher Lloyd) has kept it well hidden for many years.

While the acting of Lloyd and Swenson is like a WWE cage match of over the top excess, the story of Witches is just so convoluted and lacking in the magic that we have come to expect fro the stories of Oz that there isn’t much here to recommend. Rojas does her best to portray a pie eyed Dorothy, but it never rings true and much of the entire first half of the story is bogged down in real world mundanity. This could have been so much better.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The Witches of Oz was captured on the Red One cinematographic high definition camera and comes to Blu-ray in a 1080p/24 AVC/MPEG-4 encodement from Image Entertainment. While much of the imagery looks superbly detailed, it is often compromised by the low budget visual effects that cheapen the overall quality, and often look soft and quite out of place. Also, contrast isn’t the greatest I’ve seen for a high definition production, although there are some moments that certainly have really strong, deep blacks and bright white levels.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit) soundtrack is a really good one for an action/fantasy television mini-series like this one. The surrounds are utilized nicely for discrete sound effects and a good balance of ambience and direct sounds form the front is employed. Dynamic range seems to be rather effective and dialogue is clean an clear. Of course, the mix isn’t perfect, and there are some moments in the most active scenes where they could have done a bit more, There are a few scenes with some black smoke flying around, not unlike Harry Potter, where the mix goes nearly silent, and it seems like there could have been some effects there to draw the viewer in a bit more.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:0.5/5]

With the quality of the extras in here, they might as well have left them off.

The supplements:

  • Behind the Scenes Featurette with Writer/Director Leigh Scott (1080p/24; 00:02:48)
  • Trailer (1.78:1; 1080p/24)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3/5]

For a real treat, check out the 1939 big screen adaptation, The Wizard of Oz or for something a little different yet still surprisingly enjoyable, look for the television miniseries Tin Man. The Witches of Oz, however, is just poorly done.

Additional Screen Captures


[amazon-product]B006ZCWU8M[/amazon-product]

Purchase The Witches of Oz on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Series
[Rating:2/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:0.5/5]

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