By Leonard Maltin | Leonard Maltin September 20, 2013 at 12:00AM
The best compliment I can pay the new theatrical
presentation of this timeless movie is that I forgot I was watching it in 3-D.
I’ll leave it to others to analyze the use of depth in various scenes: to my
eyes, nothing seemed forced or unnatural, and that made me happy. The film
looks as beautiful as ever, its exquisite production design and use of
Technicolor as dazzling as it must have seemed in 1939. If you’ve never seen it
on a big screen it’s an experience not to be missed.
I can’t pretend to have the same perspective on this film as someone who’s never seen it before…or someone who has grown up in the era of CGI. The old-fashioned, old-school wizardry of MGM still looks impressive to me today, despite the inevitable tools that modern filmmakers have at their command.
Much of the magic comes not from visual effects, of course, but from the very human input of the director, screenwriter, songwriters, production team, and of course an incomparable cast. Judy Garland’s life bore no resemblance to that of wide-eyed Dorothy Gale, yet she seems utterly genuine and heartfelt in that role. When, in the final scene, she sums up the jumble of feelings in her head—and in her heart—my eyes always well up with tears. The Wizard of Oz is a thing of joy and beauty, and I’m glad it’s back on theater screens, where it belongs.