Classic movie site with rare images (no web grabs!), original ads, and behind-the-scenes photos, with informative and insightful commentary. We like to have fun with movies!
Archive and Links
Search Index Here

Friday, October 04, 2013

Over The Rainbow To Oz in 3D

The Journey To Oz Just Got Deeper

Some flying monkeys on a UPS truck brought The Wizard Of Oz in 3D Blu-Ray, and it was curious me that loaded up this first-ever classic retrofitted for depth projection. Does 3D Oz work, or is it sacrilege? I say Yes to One and No to Two. Seems to me if you can juice up an oldie to such striking degree as here, why not do so? It's not as though they're replacing the original with this. Oz is running on IMAX screens, I'm told. That's like projecting it upon a skyscraper. We're sure enough not in Kansas anymore. Mine eyes saw this 3D Wizard as very much a whiz of a wiz, with depth effects to make it look to have been shot that way. I was waiting for the House Of Wax paddle ball man to greet Judy at Oz gates. Search me how they did it. Must have cost like dickens. I checked B/W plus color scenes and both looked fine. This negative's in obviously good enough shape to stand the tampering. The twister gains force from several levels back: you actually feel the thing at a distance but moving near. I'm a purist on matters like the Shane ratio, and yes, The Wizard Of Oz gets a makeover here to top widescreen conversion for 1955's reissue, cuts by CBS to accommodate ever-more advertising, and electric eel color-enhance to early DVD's, but where's harm of a Yellow Brick Road we can follow into distance, so long as the standard version remains an option as well?

My prediction, and I'll bet it comes true in our lifetime: Oz will one day be a place we'll visit in terms of total immersion in the film. The setting will surround us and we'll walk among the characters. Home projection will encompass the whole of screening rooms and ones with resource to buy in will truly experience the drama being played. We look at three-dimensions now, but they're still on a flat screen. One day, that screen will swallow us whole and make a real journey of moviegoing, not unlike those World's Fair or Disney exhibits with picture encircling viewers. Difference is, we'll no longer be isolated from what's happening in the movie. Watching with an audience won't be necessary, or even desirable, because you will have left a spectator's seat to live the action as it unfolds. For all I know, technology has already come this far. Last night, I watched Judy open her door into Oz and wondered when I'd be able to enter the Technicolor dream with her. Shouldn't be long, what with anything digitally possible. Most of us have imagined what it would have been like to stand on the set of a film beloved. I now see that day coming. How will this change movies? Probably for the worse aesthetically, as ones designed for true viewer absorption will omit techniques that once simulated involvement, like close-ups. If movies have become more or less video games, how long can it be before we're "watching" from the inside? I fully expect to walk down Casablanca streets and linger among Xanadu treasures before I die.


Blogger John McElwee said...

Donald Benson talks about the immersive experience of 3-D movies and elsewhere:

Question: Do the painted drops around Munchkinland and the cornfield still look like painted drops, or did they manage to put depth on those?

I can see where they could do it with scenes involving matte paintings and such -- Disney has a process they use on animation backgrounds created in 2D. But "Wizard of Oz" has moving boom shots that, if you take your eyes off the foreground action for a moment, tip that there's a painting -- a pretty darn huge painting -- encompassing the set.

I still like immersive environments with some actual presence, and evidently I'm not alone in this. With motion simulators almost a carnival standard, theme parks sell it hot (subliminal book plug) with brick and mortar prologues.

Disney's Star Tours walks you through a galactic airport, simulating the rituals of an actual flight. Elsewhere a 3D film plays in a recreation of the familiar Muppet Show theater, complete with a few robotic Muppets and in-theater effects to pitch the idea of a live performance .

At Disney's California Adventure, the biggest hit is, ironically, a concrete recreation of a town that previously existed only in the computer-animated "Cars". And the entire area is almost devoid of virtual effects.

Meanwhile, Universal prefaces the mostly virtual Harry Potter ride with a whole street, capped by a tour of familiar Hogwarts castle. The city of Springfield has likewise been simulated in front of a similar but simpler Simpsons ride, albeit more jokey than immersive. Both have been wildly successful.

Universal is now adding the Hogwarts Express, where you sit in a real train car -- actually moving between two neighboring Universal attractions -- and witness virtual landscapes zipping by flat screen windows. A spiritual descendent of the Runaway Train, by way of another silent entrepreneur who exhibited milder scenic films in a simulated passenger coach.

7:44 AM  
Blogger Jim Lane said...

I just had to satisfy my curiosity when the 3D Oz came to our local IMAX. What the hell, I figured, even if the 3D is a total washout, it's still The Wizard of Oz. Well sir, no washout here; the conversion was truly -- almost literally -- eye-popping. For me it was like seeing the movie all over again for the first time, and I just had to go back and see it again. When Disney's 3D conversion of Beauty and the Beast (a rather less successful job, I thought) came to town, I wrote in my review, "At this rate, can the 3D Gone With the Wind be far behind?" This job on Oz takes us a giant step down that particular Yellow Brick Road, if anybody wants to take the trouble.

5:42 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home
  • December 2005
  • January 2006
  • February 2006
  • March 2006
  • April 2006
  • May 2006
  • June 2006
  • July 2006
  • August 2006
  • September 2006
  • October 2006
  • November 2006
  • December 2006
  • January 2007
  • February 2007
  • March 2007
  • April 2007
  • May 2007
  • June 2007
  • July 2007
  • August 2007
  • September 2007
  • October 2007
  • November 2007
  • December 2007
  • January 2008
  • February 2008
  • March 2008
  • April 2008
  • May 2008
  • June 2008
  • July 2008
  • August 2008
  • September 2008
  • October 2008
  • November 2008
  • December 2008
  • January 2009
  • February 2009
  • March 2009
  • April 2009
  • May 2009
  • June 2009
  • July 2009
  • August 2009
  • September 2009
  • October 2009
  • November 2009
  • December 2009
  • January 2010
  • February 2010
  • March 2010
  • April 2010
  • May 2010
  • June 2010
  • July 2010
  • August 2010
  • September 2010
  • October 2010
  • November 2010
  • December 2010
  • January 2011
  • February 2011
  • March 2011
  • April 2011
  • May 2011
  • June 2011
  • July 2011
  • August 2011
  • September 2011
  • October 2011
  • November 2011
  • December 2011
  • January 2012
  • February 2012
  • March 2012
  • April 2012
  • May 2012
  • June 2012
  • July 2012
  • August 2012
  • September 2012
  • October 2012
  • November 2012
  • December 2012
  • January 2013
  • February 2013
  • March 2013
  • April 2013
  • May 2013
  • June 2013
  • July 2013
  • August 2013
  • September 2013
  • October 2013
  • November 2013
  • December 2013
  • January 2014
  • February 2014
  • March 2014
  • April 2014
  • May 2014
  • June 2014
  • July 2014
  • August 2014
  • September 2014
  • October 2014
  • November 2014
  • December 2014
  • January 2015
  • February 2015
  • March 2015
  • April 2015
  • May 2015
  • June 2015
  • July 2015
  • August 2015
  • September 2015
  • October 2015
  • November 2015
  • December 2015
  • January 2016
  • February 2016
  • March 2016
  • April 2016
  • May 2016
  • June 2016
  • July 2016
  • August 2016
  • September 2016
  • October 2016
  • November 2016
  • December 2016
  • January 2017
  • February 2017
  • March 2017
  • April 2017
  • May 2017
  • June 2017
  • July 2017