Review Return to Oz (1985)

Discussion in 'Children & Family Films' started by Doctor Omega, Mar 10, 2017.

  1. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Contributor

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    [​IMG]


    Return to Oz
    is a 1985 fantasy adventure film directed and written by Walter Murch, an editor and sound designer, co-written by Gill Dennis and produced by Paul Maslansky. It stars Nicol Williamson as the rock creature Nome King, Jean Marsh as Princess Mombi, Piper Laurie as Aunt Em, Matt Clark as Uncle Henry and introduces Fairuza Balk as Dorothy Gale. It is loosely based on L. Frank Baum's Oz novels, mainly The Marvelous Land of Oz (1904) and Ozma of Oz (1907), yet is set six months after the events of the first novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) took place. Although it is not an official sequel to the 1939 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film, The Wizard of Oz, it does borrow a few elements from it, most notably the Ruby Slippers.

    The plot focuses on an insomniac Dorothy, who returns to the Land of Oz only to discover that the entire country and its inhabitants are facing near extinction at the hands of a villainous king who dwells in a neighboring mountain. Upon her second arrival, Dorothy, alongside her pet chicken Billina, befriend a group of new companions, including Tik-Tok, Jack Pumpkinhead and the flying Gump. Together they set out on a quest to save Oz and restore it to its former glory.

    Murch was interested in making another Oz story, while Disney had a long failed history of producing a film adaptation of Baum's novels dating back to the 1930s. Disney bought the rights to his novels in the 1950s, but never used them. After Return to Oz, Disney lost the film rights to the Oz novels, and they were subsequently reverted to the public domain.

    Released on June 21, 1985 by Walt Disney Pictures, it performed poorly at the box office, grossing $11.1 million in the United States against a $28 million budget, and received mixed reviews from critics. However, Return to Oz performed well outside the U.S and is considered by fans as a more faithful adaptation of the book series than the 1939 classic, and has since acquired a cult following. The film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Visual Effects.



     
    #1 Doctor Omega, Mar 10, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2017
  2. Gavin

    Gavin Active Member

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    It's definitely much closer in tone to the books than the Judy Garland movie/musical. But for most people The Wizard of Oz meant Judy Garland and not the books. So with this being labelled as a sequel, the change in tone was unexpected and not what people wanted. I think that if they had done this as a standalone story and not tried to sell it as a sequel it may have done better.
     
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  3. Hux

    Hux Very Active Member

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    I remember it being dark and the wheelers being creepy as hell.
     
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  4. Carol

    Carol Very Active Member

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    Wow! Never even come across it before but the cast looks solid. Possibly worth ferreting out when I'm done with Emerald City (which has been growing on me strangely for reasons I can't yet fully fathom). I think it was @Janine The Barefoot said she'd found it lacking... despite that excellent advice I plodded on and it's perked up quite a bit.
     
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  5. Doctor Omega

    Doctor Omega Contributor

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    And, if one can't be bothered to watch the entire film.....



     
  6. Elliot Thomas

    Elliot Thomas Member

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    Fairly sombre and dark sequel but Balk was well cast as Dorothy. It’s impossible to compare it to the peerless original but judged on its own merits it’s refreshingly unsentimental and technically top-notch. The muted tone is countered intermittently by a few colourful characters but it's far too distressing for kids imo.
     

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