The Witches of Oz (Blu-ray) (2011)
Not Rated Dir: Leigh Scott | Image Entertainment |

Review By: Fusion3600 | April 2nd, 2012

Plot: What’s it about?

Dorothy (Paulie Rojas) is now an adult, but her past isn’t quite ready to be left behind. She is an author of children’s books, unaware that her stories are based on repressed memories from her incredible childhood adventure in Oz. When she received an offer to venture to New York for a meeting about her books, she had no idea that her past is about to return in grand fashion. Dorothy will soon see all of Oz’s splendor once again, but this time, Oz is coming to her world. Of course, The Wicked Witch of the West is back and meaner than ever, with plans to now not only dominate Oz, but control the entire world. Dorothy has to recover her memories of Oz and band together with her magical friends, or risk the world falling into the witch’s evil grasp. But can Dorothy handle the flood of memories and put the pieces of her past together in time to thwart the witch one more time?

A classic like The Wizard of Oz is so beloved, even tinkering with the characters is quite a risk. So I was skeptical about how effective The Witches of Oz would be, especially given that it was a television mini-series. While this is not the worst mini-series I have seen, it simply can’t match the magic of the Oz we all know and love. That is kind of an impossible task I know, but when you work within such an established world, you take that risk. The limitations of the budget are evident in the cast, special effects, and overall production values, but the real culprit is the story. The writing just isn’t good and never sparks the kind of wonderment I expected. Even if it couldn’t measure up to the classic, I figured there would be some moments of magic that would make it worthwhile. Sadly, that doesn’t really happen and we’re left with a mediocre experience. The two and a half hour duration is also an issue, as the writing simply isn’t rich enough to support that much content. So the entire mini-series seem thin and drawn out, not what you want to see.

The cast here is solid for a television mini-series, with names like Christopher Lloyd, Mia Sara, Ethan Embry, Billy Boyd, Sean Astin, Jeffrey Combs, and others on deck. While some are passable in their efforts, most of the performances come off as disinterested. I’m not sure if some didn’t care for the script or they just sleepwalked through their lines, but the acting in The Witches of Oz leaves a lot to be desired in most instances. Combs as always is rock solid, but the rest of the cast is lackluster here. Paulie Rojas in specific needed to be great, given that she has the lead, but she seems wooden and again, disinterested. When your most prominent performer phones in her work, that cripples the entire project. But she isn’t alone, as Lloyd seems to want to be anywhere else and no one else really stands out as enthusiastic or even interested. It is tough to have an effective production without a willing cast, so The Witches of Oz never had much of a chance to shine.

Video: How does it look?

The Witches of Oz is presented in 1.78:1 widescreen. This is a great looking transfer, a clear and sharp visual effort. The image shows off terrific detail, as even subtle touches are in the spotlight in this treatment. This hinders the special effects, as it magnifies the flaws, but that is unavoidable in this case. The colors appear bright and bold, contrast is smooth, and the visuals just have a nice overall texture that is a pleasure to watch.

Audio: How does it sound?

A DTS HD 5.1 soundtrack is provided, which sounds good, but isn’t going to bowl you over. The surrounds open up for the music and a few scattered scenes, but there isn’t a whole lot of presence to speak of in this case. That is not to say the treatment doesn’t sound good though, as the basic needs of the material are always satisfied. The dialogue is clean and crisp, with no volume issues or harshness, so all the lines are crystal clear. This disc also includes English and Spanish subtitles.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc includes a promotional featurette, as well as a trailer for the mini-series.

Disc Features
  • (1.78:1) Aspect Ratio
  • Video Codec: AVC
  • Audio: DTS HD Master
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Audio Commentary
  • Deleted Scene(s)
  • Featurette
  • Documentary
  • Digital Copy
  • 1 Disc Set
The Witches of Oz (Blu-ray)

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