Return to Oz
Submitted by FaustoTHE CHARACTERS
Dorothy - Fairuza Balk! Troubled 9 year old, either a total nutcase or an actual visitor to a land over the rainbow
Billina - Dorothy's pet hen, has somehow mastered the ability to talk, but not to shut up
Tik Tok - The robotic royal army of Oz; possibly the bastard result of a mating between R2-D2 and C3PO
Jack Pumpkinhead - Gangly man constructed out of twigs and a jack o' lantern, searching for his real mother
The Gump - Mooselike hunting trophy tied to a sofa and brought to life with magic powder; pretty useless regarding matters other than transportation
Princess Mombi - Vain and evil sorceress of Oz; found an interesting route around the "bad witches are ugly" rule.
Ozma - The original king's daughter and the rightful ruler of Oz; appears as a ghost in Mombi's castle.
The Nome King - Arch villain of Oz; seeks to become human by transforming citizens into tacky ornaments, has a secret fetish for wearing high heels
The Wheelers - Mombi's personal army, Cirque de Sole rejects from hell with wheels instead of hands and feetLESSONS LEARNED
* There is nothing wrong with talking to chickens, as long as they talk back
* Shock therapy is an acceptable cure for bad dreams
* In certain respects, claymation kicks CGI's ass
* Nomes are not fans of poultry
* You should always tell a woman she looks beautiful, especially if she happens to be a witch with interchangeable heads
* Michael Eisner is a c***suckerNOTABLE QUOTES
Dorothy: "Why do you have to tie me down?"
Nurse Wilson: "So you dont fall off."
Dorothy: "I rode here all the way in the buggy and didn't fall off."
Dorothy (to Billina): "If you dont start laying eggs, Aunt Em's gonna stew you up for supper."
Tik-Tok: "I have always valued my lifelessness"
Mombi: "You will be rather attractive, one day...not at all beautiful, you understand, but you have a certain prettiness...different than my other heads...I believe I'll lock you in the tower for a few years, until your head is ready. Then I'll take it."THE PLOT
In 1959, the Disney company bought out the film rights to L Frank Baum's remaining Oz books (The first having been made into the classic "The Wizard of Oz" in 1939) with the possible intent of producing a series of television specials, presumably starring the then popular mouseketeers. For whatever reason, the project was shelved and forgotten about, and it wasn't until the early 80's that Disney thought to do something with the rights before they expired. Walter Murch, Academy Award winning cinematographer of films such as Apocalypse Now
, was given his first (and, to my knowledge, last) directorial duties, working the second and third books (The Marvelous land of oz and Ozma of oz) into a useable script. With puppeteering and effects by the Jim Henson company and Will Vinton's claymation, the resulting film was released in 1985...and was both a commercial and financial disaster.
Dorothy Gale has problems. Its been six months since the tornado that trashed her family's farm, and her continuing stories about talking scarecrows and yellow brick roads are beginning to cause her Aunt and Uncle to question her sanity. Aunt Em has a plan, though: she's going to take the girl to Dr Worley, who's famous "electric cures" are supposed to be effective in such cases. Unfortunately, Worley turns out to be a quack, and Dorothy's escape from the hospital of horrors (with the aid of a mysterious girl) into the darkness of a storm lead her back over the rainbow.
Oz, however, is nothing like she left it. The munchkins have vanished, the yellow brick road is torn up, the emerald city is now a dirty slum and all the residents have been turned to stone. What remains is now under the rule of Princess Mombi, an evil woman with a collection of 30 heads, which she can wear interchangeably on her neck ("Number four will do for this afternoon..."). With the aid of Billina, a talking chicken, Tik-Tok, a one-robot army, Jack Pumpkinhead, a...whatever the hell he is, and the Gump, Dorothy escapes the witches castle and makes her way across the deadly desert (which turns anyone who touches it into sand) to the mountain of the Nome King, a tyrant who Kidnapped the scarecrow as punishment for allegedly stealing emeralds. The motley crew is then forced to play a dangerous game: if they win, the scarecrow goes free, and its a happy ending. If they loose, they spend the rest of eternity as furniture.
This is one of those movies that you see as a kid and it stays with you for the rest of your life. I could never understand why it wasn't more popular in its time, especially considering it was released in the decade of films like the Labyrinth, the Neverending Story, and the Dark Crystal. There are three explanations for this: first, the film was widely considered to be too scary for children, with its themes of severed heads, eerilly realistic characters, and disturbing situations (in its defense, all of these elements, from concept to character designs, are taken directly from Baum's books, although there they were more whimsical than scary). Second, the comparisons to The Wizard of Oz, which is a classic and which no other film could ever measure up to, especially one made decades after the fact (once again, this is strictly an adaption of the books and not meant to emulate or outdo the original in any way). The third, and arguably the most important factor in the film's failure is studio politics. At the time of the film's release, Michael Eisner was taking over as head of Disney, and the new regime had to justify their existence with a process known as "dumping", in which good reviews are discouraged, advertising funds are cut, and theatrical releases are shortened considerably. As a result, the work of the old regime looks bad, and a film that could have succeeded fails miserably.
Anyone interested in a deeper, psychological look at the film should check out this: http://lyberty.com/encyc/articles/ReturnToOz.html