Making the (Up) Grade: The Wizard of Oz 80th Anniversary Edition

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To mark the iconic film’s 80th anniversary, Warner Bros. has released a new 4K version of The Wizard of Oz; but is the upgrade worth making? 

We are firmly in the next stage of movie media with 4K Ultra HD and that means a bunch of films are making the jump to the latest and greatest. Movie lovers find themselves facing the choice to upgrade their collections for their favorites, but it’s not always easy…That’s where we come in!

With some of these older films making the transition to the latest media platform, there’s not necessarily a need to do a brand new “review” of the films. After all, many of these are movies you’ve already watched/enjoyed and there’s little reason to rehash what makes them great. Instead, we’ll kick off a new article series specifically for these kinds of titles to help you determine if the jump to the new format is worth picking up, or if you should stick with what you have for the time being.

Last time we kicked things off with a look at Gremlins and Pan’s Labyrinth, but this time around brings an even MORE classic film to the table: The Wizard of Oz.

This movie has seen a multitude of home entertainment releases of the years to mark a number of anniversaries and format changes. As such, there’s already a really good chance you have a copy (or several) of the movie at home. This is the first time, however, the film is making the jump to 4K, and boy…does it take advantage of the format.

Some years ago, the movie was treated to a special 8K restoration using the original film prints. The 75th Anniversary blu-ray used that transfer when it was released, but the compression still managed to give some artifacts (even though it was significantly better than the original blu-ray release). What this means, is that this is a TRUE 4K presentation of the film and it’s gorgeous.

The film has always been known for it’s stunning visuals and dynamic color palette, and each of those elements stand out in impressive contrast on the 4K release. The image is crystal clear, allowing for the visuals to stand out from scene-to-scene, without any artifacts or compression issues (that I noticed at least). In short, it’s easily the most impressive this film has ever looked.

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The bonus features are largely the same as what was included on the 75th Anniversary release (as I mentioned, the included blu-ray is the exact same). The one additional bonus features is an old 90s Making of documentary that’s kinda cheesy and dated, but fun in its own way. Even that’s not “new” however, as it has been included on previous blu-ray releases. Considering it’s been over a decade since it’s been available, it’s still something for diehard fans to enjoy.

If you’re in the process of updating your home entertainment collection, I don’t see any reason to exclude The Wizard of Oz 4K release. While there’s no new bonus features included, the film has never looked, or sounded, better. If you want to enjoy this classic in the best way possible, go for the upgrade.

The Wizard of Oz 4K is available now.