I get the impression that whoever did the casting on Legends Of Oz: Dorothy’s Return must have a fondness for the 1980s. After all bringing in Dan Aykroyd (the Scarecrow), Kelsey Grammer (Tin Man), John Belushi (Lion) and Martin Short (Jester) to play some of the voices can’t be a coincidence.
But that’s by-the-by to this sequel to The Wizard Of Oz, which is pretty much the same as the earlier story but different. Dorothy is just back from Oz when she gets snatched up (by a rainbow this time) and dumped back in the magical country. Once more she needs to get to the Emerald City, this time enlisting the help of an overweight owl, a prissy princess made of bone china, a marshmallow soldier and a talking tree that gets turned into a boat.
This time around it’s not a Wicked Witch that’s causing the trouble but the brother of one, the Jester, who’s got a massive inferiority complex from being overshadowed by his sibling, but now wants to take on the wicked mantle – and he’s kidnapped the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion to help with that.
Dorothy’s Return is a bit of an odd one, as once it becomes clears it’s essentially the classic Oz tale but giving Dorothy different companions, it makes you wonder why they didn’t just make a Wizard Of Oz movie, but I suppose it does add a little variety.
Not that it matters too much. While neither the storytelling nor the animation is up to the standards of the likes of Pixar and Disney, it’s still quite fun and trips along in a bright and cheery fashion (after a slightly rocky start). You can feel the spirit of Oz in its story even if it’s slightly uneven.
And with Glee’s Lea Michele playing Dorothy, it shouldn’t be a surprise to discover there’s a fair amount of singing going on. Most of the tunes are pretty forgettable, but there are a couple of good ditties, even if none of them are going to rival Over The Rainbow. And it’ll be a surprise to many just how good a singer Martin Short is.
This certainly won’t enter the pantheon of great Oz adaptations, but it’s likely to keep the younger members of the family happy.
Overall Verdict: It may take a little while to get going and the animation may not be particularly amazing, but Dorothy’s Return soon becomes a cheery trip back to Oz that should put a smile on youngsters’ faces.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac