Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
United Kingdom/USA, 1985. BMI (No. 9) Ltd., Oz Productions Ltd., Silver Screen Partners II, Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Productions. Screenplay by Gill Dennis, Walter Murch, based on the novels Ozma of Oz and The Land of Oz by L. Frank Baum. Cinematography by David Watkin. Produced by Paul Maslansky. Music by David Shire. Production Design by Norman Reynolds. Costume Design by Raymond Hughes. Film Editing by Leslie Hodgson.
Those expecting a continuation of the Victor Fleming classic starring Judy Garland will be severely disturbed by this dark fantasy. Fairuza Balk plays young Dorothy, a little girl troubled by odd dreams of tornadoes and witches that her doctor believes he can cure with intense electroshock therapy. Before this can happen, she is rescued and taken back to the magical land of Oz, where the evil Nome King has transformed all her old friends into immobile creatures and taken over the now-destroyed Emerald City. Dorothy and her faithful chicken Billina (not quite the scene-stealer that the terrier was, but no matter) team up with Tik-Tok of the royal army, Jack Pumpkinhead and others to travel once again to the Emerald City and set things to right. The adventures she encounters, including a witch who changes her head every day, are creepy, frightening, and a macabre delight. Young children, however, should be kept far away! This one isn’t for the easily upset, but L. Frank Baum’s devoted readers will enjoy seeing a more complicated fantasy version of his imagingings on the screen.
Academy Award Nomination: Best Visual Effects
One thought on “Return To Oz (1985)”
“Return to Oz” is a favorite (pre-CG) film of mine, as well, especially for its excellent production design and terrific score. I have been blogging about the animatronic puppetry in the film: