Monday, February 04, 2013

The Cash Grab Oz DVD Releases Fans WANT

Since Oz is coming back to the big screen next month, there's been announcements of DVD releases that are obvious cash grabs.

The Panmedia anime series The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is being re-released to DVD, but don't get your hopes up, it's the movie cuts again, just now on two discs instead of four, and packaged in a single case. If you don't own them yet, or saving space is that important to you, it might be worth a purchase.

What would Oz fans like? To have the entire English dub of the series on DVD. They watch the episodes on Jaroo and YouTube, enjoying the richer storytelling the full 52 episode version offers. I know some fans want any special features possible (yes, I'm looking at you, Sam), but they'd even jump for a bare-bones release. It could easily be done on six discs.

And speaking of Oz cartoon shows on DVD, isn't about time someone released the entire DiC series The Wizard of Oz on DVD? We've had three DVD releases from this 13-episode series, and they only contained 11 episodes altogether. Couldn't someone just release the entire series on a 2-disc set?

And there's the first Oz cartoon series, Tales of the Wizard of Oz. There's been unofficial (and one that seems to have gotten the "okay" from the people at Rankin-Bass) releases, and a variety of episodes are on YouTube, but it would be wonderful to just have all of the episodes on an official release.

And yes, why not a DVD release of the complete series of The Oz Kids?

Not too long ago, I discovered the Russian animated series Adventures in the Emerald City was indeed redubbed and re-edited into an English film by the British company Poseidon Films, titled The Haunted Journey to Oz. It's available on DVD in the UK, but the price of importing it is a little high. Why not bring it to the US?

Also, there's The Space Adventures of Oz, which was re-edited into a bargain bin DVD movie titled The Wonderful Galaxy of Oz. I, for one, would like to see the entire series.

There's also some direct to video (and sometimes TV) releases that could use a DVD: The Wizard of Oz anime film featuring Aileen Quinn, Dorothy Meets Ozma of Oz, The Wizard of Oz on Ice and its "Making Of," and the Children's Theater of Minneapolis' adaptation of The Marvelous Land of Oz.

There are also a wide variety of foreign language Oz films and animated pieces. While Oz fans would like to have ready access to them, I can understand why American companies would be hesitant to try to sort out licensing rights for something with such a limited audience. Here's a list of what these are, though:
  • Russian live action and stop-motion animated adaptations of The Wizard of the Emerald City
  • Several anime productions
  • Aysecik and the Bewitched Dwarfs in Dreamland, aka The Turkish Wizard of Oz
  • The Tramps and the Wizard of Oroz, aka The Brazilian Wizard of Oz
  • A Polish stop-motion animated series
  • Fantasia...3
There's also English obscure Oz productions that aren't likely to have a wide mass-market appeal like the pilot for Lost in Oz and the Australian film Oz.

There's also been several Oz documentaries over the years. The Smithsonian Channel's The Origins of Oz is getting a tie-in release for the new movie, and the documentary The Yellow Brick Road and Beyond is being re-released, though I understand it's not very good. Sitting in "No DVD" land, there's The Whimsical World of Oz that was part Oz documentary, part "The Making of Return to Oz." There's also Oz: The American Fairyland and In Search of Oz.

The film Journey Back to Oz isn't in print anymore, and could use a re-release, though I suspect most Oz fans who wanted it have it, but a Blu-Ray upgrade might be nice. It seems the kiddie flick The Wonderful Land of Oz is much in the same boat, though some Oz fans might think the less exposure that one has, the better.

Probably the big title that Oz fans want to see on Blu-Ray is Disney's Return to Oz. I heard a rumor that Walter Murch actually supervised the creation of an HD version, so this one might not be so far off. I did wonder, though, what if Disney decides to release an "Oz Legacy" Blu-Ray collection, featuring Return and their new film, with The Rainbow Road to Oz segment from the Disneyland 4th Anniversary Show as a special feature. (It'd be wonderful if they found a way to release the audio from their Storyteller Records as well, though that's not video.) As there will be an article about these past Oz productions in Disney's Twenty-Three magazine, it doesn't look as if they want people to forget about them entirely.

Anyway, for the companies that release DVDs and Blu-Rays, here's some suggestions from the Oz fandom on how to get more of our money!


Sam A M said...

My most FAVOURITE Blog post! So glad ypu didn't leave anything out . . . except for maybe a re-release/multi-pack for "Muppets' Wizard of Oz".

And let's not forget the 1932 Meglin Kiddies' "Land of Oz" black and white short. And an improved rerelease/master of the 8-minute "Wizard of Oz" anime would be good too, NOT TO MENTION the Funky Fables and Fabulous Fables also need a DVD release (but you may have had them in mind in mentioning "Severald anime productions").

"Disney's Oz Legacy Blu-Ray" collection? Interesting . . .

Eric said...

Great list, and yeah, I'd love to see them all. I would add the Canadian documentary, "Being Dorothy". It's not so much about Oz as it is about poverty in small-town America, but since the small town is Liberal, Kansas, and the girls who portray Dorothy at the Dorothy's House attraction, there is definitely a lot of Oz in it. I caught most of it one time on the CBC, but it had already started, and I didn't get a chance to record it.

Marcus said...

Personally, I'd love to finally watch "Dorothy and the Green Gobbler of Oz (Thanksgiving in Oz". I remember the book fondly, despite it's silliness.

Jared said...

"Dorothy and the Green Gobbler of Oz" (AKA "Thanksgiving in Oz") is on DVD under the title "Dorothy in the Land of Oz."

Anonymous said...

And while they're at it, throw in the Japanese series ADVENTURES OF YOUNG SANTA.

Sam A M said...

And it probably wouldn't hurt to have John Ritter's "the Dreamer of Oz" on a stand-alone (if not slightly more remastered/restored) DVD, where we don't have to go through the whole process of unpacking the massive package for MGM's "Wizard of Oz".