Return To Oz

1985, Movie, PG, 110 mins


Fans of THE WIZARD OF OZ will not like this movie, but fans of the original L. Frank Baum novels will realize that RETURN TO OZ has more of Baum's vision in it than that blessed musical version did. But the 1939 musical from MGM is what will be recalled, so that makes this a tough movie as a follow-up. First of all, it has no music. It also has mechanical versions of the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, and the Scarecrow, with none of the humanity that poured from the originals. That aside, it doesn't have any wit, joy, or drive. Dorothy (Fairuza Balk) is suffering from a bad case of insomnia, and her Aunt Em (Piper Laurie) and Uncle Henry (Matt Clark) take her to a local clinic where two eerie people await: the sinister nurse Wilson (Jean Marsh) and her physician counterpart, Dr. Worley (Nicol Williamson). Dorothy is given some horrendous shock treatments, and she and her now-talking chicken are sent back to the land of Oz, but not to the Emerald City. They are now at the edge of a desolate area known as the Deadly Desert and are instantly beset by fiendish creatures of the evil princess Mombi (also played by Marsh). Dorothy and her chicken see that the yellow brick road is broken and dirty, that the Emerald City is a green slum, and that her pals, Scarecrow, Lion, and Tin Man, have all been turned to stone. Dorothy's task now is to put things back the way they were. Children who haven't had the pleasure of seeing THE WIZARD OF OZ might enjoy this film, but it will also frighten them. There are some fine, Oscar-nominated special effects, but the excitement just isn't there. leave a comment

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