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The Witches of Oz Blu-ray

United States
Image Entertainment | 2011 | Season 1 | 164 min | Not rated | Apr 10, 2012

The Witches of Oz (Blu-ray)
Large:


Video
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1

Audio
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
English: Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles
English SDH, Spanish

Discs
25GB Blu-ray Disc
Single disc (1 BD)

Playback
Region A (B, C untested)

Price
List price: $17.97, Price history

Amazon: $11.70 (Save 35%)
New from: $7.31 (Save 59%)
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TV show rating
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
6.7
2
ratings.


Blu-ray rating
Video 2.0 of 52.0
Audio 3.0 of 53.0
Extras 1.0 of 51.0
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Movie appeal

 
Fantasy100%
Comedy-
Action-
10%
popularity
44
collections
1
fans




The Witches of Oz

 (TV) (2011)

The Witches of Oz Blu-ray features poor video and decent audio, but overall it's a disappointing Blu-ray release

The Witches of Oz follows the exploits of the grown Dorothy Gale, now a successful children's book author, as she moves from Kansas to present day New York City. Dorothy quickly learns that her popular books are based on repressed childhood memories, and that the wonders of Oz are very, very real. When the Wicked Witch of the West shows up in Times Square, Dorothy must find the inner courage to stop her.

For more about The Witches of Oz and the The Witches of Oz Blu-ray release, see the The Witches of Oz Blu-ray Review published by on where this Blu-ray release scored 1.5 out of 5.

Starring: Paulie Rojas, Billy Boyd, Eliza Swenson, Sasha Jackson, Jeffrey Combs, Sean Astin
Director: Leigh Scott

» See full cast & crew


The Witches of Oz Blu-ray, Video Quality

  2.0 of 5

Perhaps because The Witches of Oz appeared on TV before being released to theaters, it does not bear the usual disclaimer about the film being modified to fit your TV screen. But it should. The disc's producers effectively make that very announcement with the brief featurette they've included. There writer-director Leigh Scott solemnly explains that he outfitted the Red One digital camera with anamorphic (anamorphic!) lenses to obtain a widescreen image, because he wanted the film to have a "bigger, studio look". In the behind-the-scenes footage, monitors marked with a 2.39:1 rectangle are clearly visible. Witches was shot for this aspect ratio, and because of the lenses Scott used, there's no extra image at top and bottom that can be used to "open up" the film for reframing at 1.78:1. Indeed, the excerpts from the film included in the featurette are in the wide AR, not the cropped AR used on the disc.

So the TV version presented on this Blu-ray contains an image that has been cut down at the sides from 2.39:1 to 1.78:1, and you can spot the compromised composition in shot after shot. Even when it isn't obvious that people and props have been arbitrarily split off at the edge of the frame, the whole enterprise feels claustrophobic, which is precisely the opposite of what Scott wanted. As if to add insult to injury, the version on this disc does contain one quick shot that's been letterboxed to the original aspect ratio, probably because cropping it would have interfered with the viewer's ability ro read a large sign spread across the bottom of the frame. (See the extra screenshots for a capture.)

What remains of the digitally captured image is acceptably reproduced, with good but not exceptional detail, varied but not overly saturated colors and black levels that are generally strong with some minor crushing. It would have been a perfectly fine image, if it didn't constantly suffer from feeling cramped and narrow due to cropping.

Image has once again opted for a BD-25 on a program that seems too long for such limited digital real estate. However, one of the advantages of Red One-originated projects is that they compress effectively, and the company seems to have gotten away with the single-layer disc here.


The Witches of Oz Blu-ray, Audio Quality

  3.0 of 5

Although The Witches of Oz arrives with a full-fledged lossless 5.1 track presented in DTS-HD MA, the results are underwhelming. No doubt due to budgetary constraints, the scenes that would most benefit from aggressive 5.1 sound mixing are relatively restrained (e.g., twisters, magical devices, flying monkeys). Phenomena like Manhattan traffic noise, which becomes an issue for the country transplants Dorothy and Allen, aren't expanded into the full ambient presence that would give them their due. On the plus side, the dialogue is clear and the musical soundtrack by co-star and co-producer Eliza Swenson is well-mixed. Unfortunately, no amount of mixing can improve the quality of the script, which is clunky, or the score, which is disposable.

An alternative DD 5.1 track is included, but the bitrate is an anemic 320 kbps, which is less than even the earliest DVD soundtracks. I'm sure there are still potential purchasers out there who lack the ability to decode even lossy DTS, but those are likely to be people who are listening in stereo through TV speakers rather than home theater systems. Anyone with an older HT setup should opt for the DTS "core" of the Master Audio track.



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