Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return

2014-05-23 10:07
What it's about:

Continuing one of the world’s most popular and beloved fairy tales, we find Dorothy waking to post-tornado Kansas, only to be whisked back to Oz to try and save her old friends, the Scarecrow, the Lion, the Tin Man, and Glinda, from a devious new villain, the Jester. Wiser the Owl, Marshal Mallow, China Princess, and Tugg the Tugboat join Dorothy on her latest magical journey through the colourful landscape of Oz to restore order and happiness to Emerald City.

What we thought:

Trying to shamelessly cash in on the legendary classic, directors Daniel St. Pierre and Will Finn bring us the latest sequel. The new 3D animation film is based on a 1989 novel by Baum's great-grandson, Roger Stanton Baum. When placed next to the likes of Frozen and Rio 2, this film fails dismally.

The film starts with Dorothy (Lea Michele) waking up in the aftermath of a devastating tornado in Kansas. It has been just a day since she rid Oz of the Wicked Witch. Meanwhile back in Oz years have passed and the Emerald City is at risk of being destroyed.

Her friends Tin Man (Kelsey Grammer), Scarecrow (Dan Aykroyd) and Lion (Jim Belushi), previously known as Cowardly Lion, have been kidnapped by the evil Jester (Martin Short) the Wicked Witch's brother. Dorothy is whisked back to Oz through a magic rainbow to save her friends and the Emerald City. Along the way she is joined by new friends: an overweight owl named Wiser (Oliver Platt),  a marshmallow soldier Marshal Mallow (Hugh Dancy), a snob aristocrat Dainty China Princess (Megan Hilty) and an ageing tree, Tugg (Patrick Stewart). The merry gang set out along the yellow brick road to save the day singing and dancing.

The animation style is outdated and comes across small screenish and 3D does absolutely nothing to enhance the quality of the film. The characters appear one dimensional and there’s a certain flatness to them.

The plot is pretty standard and it’s quite obvious from the beginning where everything is going, and it does take some time to get there. It lacks the heart and imagination of the original.The story is littered with kiddy humour that will arise the occasional grunt from adults watching. There are two subplots: a romance and the appearance of a shady insurance agent back in Kansas.

The musical numbers are nothing to write home about with the exception of two; the foot tapping Work with Me and the tearful ballad Even Then, who knew Hugh Dancy could sing?!

While the film is voiced by an impressive cast it might be lost on a younger audience. Michele is in her element and does a pretty okay job as the lead.

If you’re looking for a morning nanny then this is definitely the movie to plonk the kids in front of as it will make a good addition to the DVD collection.

A trip down the yellow brick road that goes nowhere slowly.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.