Film Review: Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return

Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return

Animated feature Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return is suitably entertaining fare for young children, although older viewers may demand more.

After Dorothy wakes up back in Kansas, it is not long before she must return to Oz. Her old friends Scarecrow, Tin-Man and the Lion need her help when Oz faces a new threat…

L. Frank Baum’s Oz stories offer such a rich volume of fantasy, it cannot be surprising that another feature based on his works has been produced. Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return smartly chooses to encompass elements which have been featured in various Oz films, but never in one single film. In this sense, there is something complete about the film.

Nonetheless, Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return is not without its issues. The script needed to be sharper to make the film truly enjoyable. There is not enough humour in the film, and some of the expository dialogue feels awkward.

The characters that are featured in the film are interesting enough, but require more investment. Dorothy and her friends have already been established in previous incarnations of the story, therefore more could have been made of the supporting characters. The antagonist in Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return is weak, which does not help to keep the narrative engaging.

The animation has a generic CGI quality to it. Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return is more reminiscent of a television cartoon rather than a feature film. The songs that are included simply are not memorable. There is no hook to reel viewers in.

Lea Michelle is in fine tune vocally, but the actress fails to exude a range of emotion. Martin Short is decent enough as the Jester, although like other actors he is hampered by the script.

If it was a cartoon made for television, Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return would be watchable, although not terribly exciting. As a cinematic feature, the film disappoints.

Frankenweenie Press Conference

Director Tim Burton, executive producer Don Hahn, producer Allison Abbate and stars Martin Landau, Catherine O’Hara and Martin Short came together to discuss London Film Festival opening film Frankenweenie today. The panel were on good form, with Martin Short impersonating Burton and Martin Landau doing an impression of Alfred Hitchcock. Burton talked about working with the close-nit group. The director has worked with all of the panel on at least one previous occasion. The panel were asked to each offer their first impressions of Burton, which ranged from Catherine O’Hara being late for their initial meeting to Martin Landau seeing Beetlejuice at the cinema and him wanting to work with Burton because of the film.

Tim Burton also spoke about the importance of shooting Frankenweenie in black and white, stating that it gives the film the feel of an old horror movie, even for those too young to have watched them. The director remarked that he still considered himself to be outside the mainstream, despite the commercial success of his films. Martin Landau likened working with Burton to a ‘playground’, while Martin Short praised the director for giving actors the opportunity to express their thoughts.

The BFI London Film Festival runs 10-21 October 2012. Frankenweenie opens in cinemas on 17th October 2012.