Not much legendary about this 'Oz' tale
“Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return” is a harmless, but almost charmless, adaptation of a book by L. Frank Baum's grandson. It's a derivative hash of grandpa's story, set in the present day, given forgettable new tunes by pop songsmiths such as Bryan Adams that are sung by the likes of Lea Michele, Martin Short, Hugh Dancy and the operatic Megan Hilty of TV's “Smash.”
And it's in 3-D, of course.
This work, animated at Prana in India, has decent production design — a dark, abandoned Emerald City, a shiny, porcelain sheen in Oz's Dainty China Country and luscious-looking 3-D sweets in Candy County.
And the animated characters are beautifully rendered, even if their faces don't have the expression and plasticity that Pixar, Blue Sky, Disney and Sony have managed in their recent films.
Dorothy (Michele), Toto, Auntie Em and Uncle Henry survive a tornado that trashes their corner of Kansas. An unscrupulous real estate hustler (Martin Short) is ready to buy out the whole shattered town. But before Dorothy can stop this foreclosure fraud, a rainbow snatches her and drags her back to Oz — her and her little dog, too.
Scarecrow (Dan Aykroyd) has smartly summoned her to save the land, which is under the thumb of The Jester (Short, again), the evil brother of the Wicked Witch of the West.
And brother carries a grudge.
Dorothy teams up with Wiser, a chatterbox owl (Oliver Platt); a candy soldier, Marshal Mallow (Dancy); and the haughty China Princess (Hilty) and sets off down the ruined Yellow Brick Road to save her old friends.
The singing is competent, and rocker Adams' contribution, a build-a-boat-with-beavers tune, “Let's Work,” bounces along. “When the World” is Michele's “Over the Rainbow” moment. But not one song will stick with you past the closing credits.
With unknown animation entities, the rule is that the more impressive the voice cast, the weaker the script. Hire great Brits Patrick Stewart (as a boat), Brian Blessed and Dancy (who croons a tune or two) and maybe you can cover up the startling lack of humor on the page. Except, it never does.
Roger Moore is a staff writer for McClatchy-Tribune News Service.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Prolific horror film writer-director Wes Craven dies at 76
- Check out trailers for Pittsburgh-shot ‘Concussion’ and ‘Love the Coopers’
- Review: ‘Diary of a Teenage Girl’ as rewarding as it is squirm-inducing
- Review: ‘Meru’ is a documentary that soars
- DVD reviews: ‘Citizenfour,’ ‘Two Days, One Night’ and ‘Iris’
- Review: ‘We Are Your Friends’ plays a rather tired tune