Friday, May 9 2014, 03:22 PM MDT
Movie Review: Legends of Oz - Dorothy's Return
1.5 out of 5 Stars
Directors: Will Finn, Dan St. Pierre
Starring: Lea Michele, Kelsey Grammer, Dan Aykroyd
Genre: Animated, Family, Musical
Recommended To: Those desperate for family-friendly entertainment.
Synopsis: Dorothy finds herself back in Oz where she must help her friends the Scarecrow, the Lion, the Tin Man and Glinda defeat the evil Jester who has taken over Emerald City.
Review: There's no way around the fact that Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return looks like a direct-to-video film that has been fluffed up by a 3D conversion for a theatrical run in hopes of cashing in on the fact that there hasn't been a new animated family film released in weeks. The script isn't even based on a L. Frank Baum novel; it's lifted from Roger S. Baum's (Frank's grandson) 1989 book Dorothy of Oz. It's a fairly bland story, but that might have more to do with the lifeless adaptation than the source material. The big problem with Legends of Oz is that its story is too simplistic, its animation too antiquated and its original songs are forgettable at best. The vocal performances range from annoying (Martin Short's shouting Jester is unbearable) to merely passable. The only thing Legends of Oz might have going for it is that the masses love The Wizard of Oz. They love it so much that no one has even dared to try and remake it. Still, we've already been back to Oz via 1989's underrated Return to Oz (which was based on L. Frank Baum's The Marvelous Land of Oz and Ozma of Oz) and last year's topsy-turvy Oz the Great and Powerful and Legends of Oz doesn't really insert anything new or interesting into the equation. In fact, it's pretty boring and could keep the attention of the children in the theater until its final act's major battle. The flying monkeys weren't even cool. How do you make flying monkeys uncool?
If you are going to make a micro-budget movie you absolutely have to have a top notch script and an understanding of your limitations. Legends of Oz seems to think that its D-rate songs, C-grade story and antiquated animation are enough to conquer Hollywood. You'd be better off seeing The Lego Movie and Muppets Most Wanted again or wait to take the kids to Maleficent or How to Train Your Dragon 2.
-Ryan Michael Painter