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Return to Oz

740 customer reviews

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(Feb 03, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews

If you loved THE WIZARD OF OZ, you'll love accompanying Dorothy on this second thrilling adventure based on L. Frank Baum's "Oz" books! Dorothy finds herself back in the land of her dreams ... and makes delightful new friends (like Tik Tok, Jack Pumpkinhead, and the Gump) ... and dangerous new enemies (the creepy Wheelers, the head-hunting Princess Mombi, and the evil Nome King). With every twist in the yellow brick road, you'll find awesome new surprises and special effects that will astound you!

Special Features

Fairuza Balk Returns To Oz

Product Details

  • Actors: Fairuza Balk, Nicol Williamson, Jean Marsh, Piper Laurie, Matt Clark
  • Directors: Walter Murch
  • Writers: Walter Murch, Gill Dennis
  • Format: Dolby, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Walt Disney Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: February 3, 2004
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (740 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000DZ3EN
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,212 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Return to Oz" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

426 of 429 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 12, 2002
Format: DVD
I saw this film at its premiere in Seattle (The Emerald City) in 1985. I had read the Oz books for years (including the then-elusive non-Baum books written after his death) and always loved the mix of danger, whismy, and enchantment in the books.
I grew up (like every other person in America)with memories of the 1939 musical--but even as a kid I hated the fact that the MGM musical messed so much with the dangerous and frightening aspects of Oz, turning everything into a candy-coated Technicolor dream.
Thus, when I finally saw RETURN TO OZ (based on two books, OZMA of OZ and THE LAND of OZ), I realized that the filmmakers had actually sat down and read the books. Gone were the happy go-lucky images of a very safe place (was Judy Garland's Dorothy ever truly in danger?!?) and in its place was a fairyland full of dark dreams, scary villains, and entirely unique characters. And yet, most of America kept asking, "Where's the Munchkins?"
In fact, the film critic for our local paper so trashed the film on its release that I (as a lowly high school sophomore) wrote him a detailed letter explaining what he had missed in the film by spending all his time comparing it to the MGM film. He (like most of America) missed some wonderful moments: Fairuza Balk's film debut as a real, brave, and sometimes scared little girl being called on to save an entire country from extinction, the Oscar-nominated special effects that brought to life characters that had only existed on paper (like Tik-Tok, Jack Pumpkinhead, and the Nomes), and the great performances by British actors Nicol Williamson and Jean March as the villains.
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117 of 121 people found the following review helpful By Jay Dickson VINE VOICE on January 6, 2003
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The great film editor walter Murch got the chance in the early Eighties to make a spectacular film compressing the first two sequels to THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ, THE MAGICAL LAND OF OZ and OZMA OF OZ, as a tribute to the Baum books he loved. The film was a popular flop, given that almost everyone who took their children to it expected it to be a sequel to the famous M-G-M film version of 1939. (In Murch's version, there are no songs and the carryover characters from the first film--Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Lion---look like the original illustrations of them by John Neill and W. W. Denslow rather than the way they were portrayed in the 1939 film.) But the film has endured as a cult classic, a master of the film art's tribute to the books and illustrations he loved from his youth.

It's an amazingly beautiful film, but it would be insanity to show it to small children. It starts out with Uncle Henry and Aunt Em, rebuilding their house and farm from the cyclone, take Dorothy, who has been speaking of wild stories of cities made of emeralds and scarecrows who talk, to Topeka for electroshock therapy. The asylum they bring her to is a terrifying chamber of horrors, and when she escapes it for Oz she is confronted with incredible other visual terrors, such as the lunatic Wheelers and the Princess Mombi (a variant of both the old witch Mombi and the Princess Langwidere from the Oz books), who exchanges pretty heads for her body the way other women change dresses. The scene where Mombi's headless body chases Dorothy through her chamber of heads (as the other disembodied heads scream in horror) is one of the scariest things I can imagine a child ever viewing.

But this is really a film for adults, and the creepiness of its details add to the mature viewers' pleasure.
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68 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Monty Moonlight VINE VOICE on July 20, 2001
Format: DVD
This is an AMAZING fantasy film! And I am a loyal fan of the 1939 Judy Garland classic, but let's remember that it's not like that is really the source of the Oz stories! I love both films. They are totally different. While this one is sometimes described as a horror film, it's really not, but it has a lot of very scary moments! It would be interesting to see this film done as pure horror, and the same thing goes for Alice in Wonderland, but while this is scary and may give some kids nightmares, it's not a horror film, it's a magical fantasy that is dark in comparison to Garland's Oz. I've never read the books, not yet anyway, but I hear this one is far more loyal. The effects are wonderful! People who call them laughable must only be doing so out of spite! I notice that a lot in reviews lately. This is a visually stunning movie, and as every other fan here has said, it by no means is a sequel to the '39 version. I realize it's called Return To Oz, but that just means the character has been there before!! Still, there are several throwbacks to the '39 classic for those of us who are loyal fans. While I would never want to change the old classic, Fairuza Balk was probably waaaaay more appropriate for the role, and all the other characters were far more like they would actually appear had it been real as well! This film is done in a serious mode, and that works fine. Just don't watch this thinking it's a Judy Garland sequel! Come on, it's from the '80's! I don't remember if I saw this one in theaters or not, but I think I did. It probably would have done much better had it been released today! By the way, this is a great movie to watch around Halloween, and if you enjoy it I strongly recommend the Worst Witch, also starring Fairuza Balk and made shortly after.
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