2013 (IMAX 3D)
DIRECTOR: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Mervyn LeRoy, Norman Taurog, King Vidor
The Wizard Of Oz, like It’s A Wonderful Life, did not ignite the film world on their initial releases, but these were films that found their treasured places in movie-goers hearts. Both are examples of movies where cinemas rival medium of the day, television endeared them upon their audience and now, they are recognised for the greats that they truly are.
There is not much to say about this film that you don’t already know, except a whole load of trivia, but in the end, The Wizard Of Oz is just as it says on the poster. “[A] Technicolor Triumph”, using the innovative twist of opening the movie in sepia only to use Technicolor in all its overly saturated glory in the land of Oz. This was the inspiration for the less than critically acclaimed Tron: Legacy (2010), in which the film begins in 2D only to open up in to 3D when we enter the electronic universe.
But whatever was said about the film, Legacy was not criticised for looking bad and owed a lot of its inspired direction from this classic. This pre-war gem beautifully blends catchy songs, colourful and whimsical set production design and a simple fairy tale structure to bring this modern morality tale to life and in its method, crafted not only a timeless classic, but a film which bridges generations and allowing everyone in the house to enjoy the same film at the same time with little compromise.
A true and uncompromising family film and hard to beat, even over 75 years on.
But what about the 3D conversion. In honour of the film’s 75th anniversary in 2014, IMAX brought this classic to its theatres for the first time and in the process, post-converted it into 3D, making this this the oldest film to be converted into the format. The idea seemed to be stupid, unnecessarily tampering with a classic in order to bring it to a modern audience who are still watching it anyway, in a way not dis-similar to TCM’s 1980’s coloursation of Casablanca (1942), a version with is nowhere to be seem unless you have VHS from the time, that is.
Having said that, this version does not effect the original in anyway and whilst not being strictly necessary, it is a novelty and when you see the result, you can not help but be impressed. The 3D work which has gone into this is nothing less than astounding!
The film looks as beautiful as ever, after being remastered and cleaned up (again), but when you add the IMAX treatments, the film quite literary jumps of the screen. Though it could be argued that it always has.
Do we need this? Absolutely not but if you get a chance to see this either on an IMAX screen or at home on Blu-ray 3D, it is worth it. As 3D conversions go, this must be one of the best and most respectful.