Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return
Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return is a 2013 American-Indian 3D computer-animated musical fantasy film loosely based on the book Dorothy of Oz by Roger S. Baum, the great-grandson of L. Frank Baum, the original author of the Oz series.
The plot begins as Dorothy returns to Kansas to find it devastated by the tornado that sent her to Oz. Before she can react to the destruction of her home, she is transported back to Oz, where her three friends (Scarecrow, Lion and Tin Man) have disappeared. She meets a charming man made of marshmallows who can't quite think for himself, a tiny china doll princess whose bossiness is a cover for her fragility, and a tugboat with as many personalities as he has pieces. Dorothy must help this group band together against the Jester, a wicked new villain who believes that all of Oz should be under his control.
Why It Sucks
- The film has no consistency with its "predecessor"; not just leaving the iconic ruby slippers unmentioned, but also changing the setting entirely from the 1900s to the 21st century, since there are a ton of modern day vehicles seen in the background of Kansas.
- The returning sidekicks, Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion, have been watered down to the point where they become one-dimensional and often annoying.
- Marshal Mallow (oh ha ha) and the China Princess have a pointless romantic subplot that only serves as filler.
- The songs don't have the timeless feel of the original music and instead substitutes it for generic pop songs.
- The story is practically a beat-for-beat retelling of the original classic, just with new characters and locations.
- Jester had some decent ideas for a villain, but it gets ruined by being portrayed as a poor man's Joker.
- The film can get unintentionally horrifying at times, especially with Puppet Glinda.
- The voice acting is awful, especially with Lea Michele and Martin Short.
- The jokes are dreadful, with the majority of them being abhorrent puns such as "what a great wall of china!".
- Most of the problems in the film are solved by the opponents learning that the girl they're dealing with is Dorothy, who is said to be one of Oz' greatest heroes.
- The film's producers, Roland and Ryan Carroll, had a shady history of finding ways to swindle their way into financing movies, often earning them cease and desist letters, and this film was no different.
- There's a random use of product placement for Peeps.
- The film's production was practically a scam. The investors had to dip into their retirement funds to raise money for the film (and considering the fact this film bombed at the box office, chances are they won't be able to get it back), and many of them (presumably up to 2200 investors) were left unaccredited.
- Ironically, the Appraiser, the other villain of the film, scammed the people of Kansas and tried to sell their houses.
- One of the film's investors, David Yancey, blamed the film's box office failure on a big Hollywood conspiracy about the industry paying critics to dissuade moviegoers from seeing it because they don't want any new competition, so it's relatively clear that the people behind the film can't quite take criticism.
- It wasted the talents of Lea Michele, Dan Aykroyd, Martin Short, Kelsey Grammer, Jim Belushi, Patrick Stewart, Bernadette Peters, Tom Kenny, Debi Derryberry, and others involved in the film.
- The animation is at least decent, and the new portrayal of Oz is rather fascinating.
- There are a couple of funny moments.
- As previously stated, the Jester's backstory where he's been cursed by his sister (the Wicked Witch of the West of all people) to always be the fool is at least interesting.
- Wiser is a likeable character.
- Some decent songs such as "Even Then".
Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return received generally negative reviews from critics as well as mixed responses from audiences. It currently holds a 16% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes, as well as a 68% audience score, with its critical consensus saying, "Faced with the choice between staying in or seeing Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return, most filmgoers will be forced to conclude that there's no place like home." It hold a 5.1 on IMDb, as well as a 25 on Metacritic, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews." Audiences also gave the film an "A" on Cinemascore. The film bombed at the box office, with only $20.1 million being grossed over its $70 million budget.
- Even though the film bombed at the box office, Greg Centineo, one of the producers of the film, said in 2014 that there were two sequels and a television series in the works. However, nothing else has been announced since then.
- This was the only film to be produced by Summertime Entertainment, as the company apparently went out of business a year later following the box office failure of this film, along with websites about the company and this film being shut down.