Saturday, April 23, 2011

Return to Oz





 When I was a child I was simultaneously enthralled and frightened by Return to Oz.  The thought of a witch/princess taking my head for her own scared me half to death. But at the same time, it was a pretty thrilling adventure.  And the inspiration for The Lava Game at my house.  But I the actually storyline isn't too memorable in my head.  So when Jordyn suggested watching Return to Oz at almost ten tonight, I agreed. And even though she fell asleep within the first few minutes, I decided to continue watching after I put her to bed. 

The witch still scares me. Actually, the staff at the mental institution does as well.  It's kind of a creepy movie! The character of the witch reminds me a lot of The White Witch from Narnia, actually, what with her turning people into stone and the way she talks to Dorothy is similar to the way The White Witch talks to Edmund. This witch, however, is solely a princess and is subject to the Gnome King. 

Return to Oz introduces an entirely new cast of characters, such as Belinda the Hen, Jack Pumpkin Head, and Tik Tok.  They are not as lovable as Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, or the Scarecrow, but she still calls them "the best friends anyone could have." It really is beneficial to think of it as a movie version of the book as opposed to a sequel to the movie.  The movie is actually much clearer with knowledge of the novel.  Solely having seen The Wizard of Oz  is not enough, and gives you much different expectations.  The quality is very different, and the feel is not nearly as magical. It is much more focused on saving Oz than her journey home. Even when Dorothy saves the Scarecrow, he looks worse than the original.  It is very much a low-budget Disney film from the 80s. And the whole concept of Princess Ozma is not made clear until the very end, and I'm not sure I even really understand the purpose of the character in this film.

Return to Oz is a fun watch for me, as a memory into my childhood of a movie I feared, but it is certainly not the greatest film out there. I'm not quite sure why I was fascinated with it as a child, but Jordyn seems to love it, so perhaps it's just a kid thing.  So if you see it at the library or it's on tv, give it a try.  Otherwise. . . .  

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