No, There’s Nothing Wrong With Showing The Wizard of Oz in 3-D

Slate's Culture Blog
Sept. 30 2013 6:39 PM

No, 3-D Is Not “Vandalism”

The Wizard of Oz
There's nothing wrong with showing this movie in 3-D.

©1939 Warner Home Video. All rights reserved.

An article by ReelViews’ James Berardinelli (“The Vandalism of 3-D”) has gone viral on Reddit today, making its way all the way to the site’s front page. In the article, Berardinelli calls the 3-D conversion of The Wizard of Oz, conducted without the filmmakers’ consent, “vandalism” and “a sin against the original.” Here’s the crux of his argument:

Without the collaboration of the original filmmakers (who are all dead), someone else has gone in and tinkered with a movie. The Wizard of Oz was never designed to be shown in 3-D and, as such, converting it to 3-D requires decisions to be made that alter the delicate fabric of what was originally presented. To apply Siskel's colorization description, it's a form of vandalism. High tech vandalism, to be sure, but vandalism nonetheless.
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At one point he even wonders “why the outcry isn't louder because this really is an outrage.”

The reason this isn’t an outrage is simple. Conversion to 3-D on a movie like The Wizard of Oz isn’t vandalism any more than syncing it with The Dark Side of the Moon. This is true for one simple reason: It doesn’t harm the original. This isn’t the Mona Lisa, after all; there’s more than one copy.

Instead, what the conversion really amounts to is a remix—and, judging from the reviews, apparently quite a good one. No matter how well it does, you’ll still be able to follow the yellow brick road in 2-D, too.

Forrest Wickman is a Slate staff writer. Email him at Forrest.Wickman@slate.com.