‘The Wizard of Oz’ IMAX 3D Trailer Doesn’t Give Us Any Hint of the Upgrade

By  · Published on July 1st, 2013

There are two reasons for 3D. The first is to give a film a seemingly more realistic sense of depth, and the second is to give a film extra eye-popping spectacle. Presumably it’s the latter motivation behind the 75th anniversary re-release of The Wizard of Oz, which hits IMAX screens for one week this September (almost a full year ahead of its actual 75th birthday). The classic has of course been retrofitted for 3D, and a trailer just hit the web that surprisingly doesn’t play up the format too much. Or maybe it’s just that we can’t appreciate the heightened format via YouTube. When you see this spot in theaters (likely in front of 3D copies of both The Lone Ranger and Despicable Me 2), it’s sure to showcase the three-dimensional upgrade in each shot. I bet that’s why the trailer begins with a hallway.

What I’m curious about is whether or not the black and white bookend sequences will be in 3D. The trailer doesn’t really feature any of those scenes, but I’m thinking it would make sense to hold the 3D until Dorothy opens the door of her house and steps out into Oz, just the way it already transitions then from black and white to color. If they really wanted to keep up the concept of added steps in cinematographic technology, they’d even hold the 3D a bit longer, maybe even until Emerald City (no one in Hollywood will agree with me there). Or, hey, as long as they’re messing with stuff, just color the Kansas stuff and simply make the big reveal the 3D. Even though it’s a different studio, the best bet is that they’ve got the 3D throughout a la the recent sorta prequel Oz the Great and Powerful.

Another thing I’m wondering about the 3D version of The Wizard of Oz is what the format has done to the artificiality of the film. Between the cartoonish matte paintings and layered set pieces, there’s a charming quality to the production design that will either be overly emphasized or given an attempted refurbishment. The latter would be really disappointing in certain shots that we’ve come to know and appreciate for being extremely flat. Personally, I don’t want the backgrounds opened up (like in the above shot). It’s impossible to get answers from the video below, but hopefully I’ll be able to see the trailer on the big screen in 3D in order to decide if this re-release will be worth seeing or if I should just stick with the Blu-ray version at home.

Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.