In his recent “Oz: The Great and Powerful,” Sam Raimi performed a tip of the hat to 1939’s “The Wizard of Oz” by shooting its prologue in 4:3 black and-white with a shift to widescreen visual splendor afterwards. The director then unleashed an uneven vision of CGI creatures, 3D landscapes, and James Franco upon the screen, but this fall, it appears that the Judy Garland-starring original will receive some aesthetic influence back from Raimi’s film.
Hot on the heels of the “Titanic” and “Jurassic Park” 3D re-releases, “The Wizard of Oz” is slated to return to theaters in an IMAX 3D format on September 1st, on the occasion of its 75th anniversary in 2014. With a full upgrade in terms of sound and visuals — matte paintings will never look so fantastic, presumably — the film is set to open exclusively at domestic IMAX museum locations, followed on October 1st by a 3D Blu-ray box set released by Warner Bros.
The 4-disc, multi-format set looks absolutely filled to the brim with extras, including a booklet, pendants, and a map of Oz to boot, but really the focus of the release is the restored film itself. “Jurassic Park 3D” proved a winner at the box office with a $19 million opening weekend, so Warner Bros. likely has similar figures in mind while prepping ‘Oz.’ But besides the troubles that 3D might add to the already-dazzling ’30s film, IMAX versions of theatrical films tend to distort and blur when stretched to the frame’s limits.
It’s worth asking if a 2D re-release would draw in more nostalgic viewers (although they didn’t quite come out in droves for last month’s “Cleopatra” re-release), but as is, you can make the stereoscopic choice to see the Wizard yourself when the film opens this fall. [SlashFilm]
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