“Legends of Oz Dorothy’s Return,” from Summertime Entertainment, brings to the screen a new take on a classic favorite as Dorothy Gale returns to Oz and in the course of her travels meets new friends and rescues old ones.
Led by the voice talent of Lea Michele, “Legends of Oz Dorothy’s Return,” also features the incomparable voice talents of Kelsey Grammer, Dan Ackroyd, Jim Belushi, Martin Short, Oliver Platt, Bernadette Peters, Hugh Dancy, Megan Hilty and Patrick Stewart.
“Legends of Oz Dorothy’s Return,” was written by Randi Barnes and Adam Balsam and directed by Daniel St. Pierre and Will Finn with the stunning CG led by Prana Studios.
As the film begins Dorothy is awakening in Kansas surveying the aftermath of the tornado that swept her off to Oz. As in the original, time travel is instantaneous, and Dorothy’s journey through the Yellow Brick Road, slaying the wicked witch, securing the brain, courage and heart for her dearest friends, and returning home all happens in a matter of hours. The back-story is well known and not shown.
The home of Auntie Em and Uncle Henry, along with the other town residents, after the tornado is condemned and as tragedy often does, left the three homeless. Absent of possessions they are not without heart, courage, brains and determination.
Our three unusual friends, Scarecrow, Lion and Tin Man, voiced by Dan Ackroyd, Jim Belushi and Kelsey Grammer respectively, are now emperors of the Kingdom Oz and are running into another nemesis, The Jester, voiced by Martin Short, cousin of the slain wicked witch.
Needing objectivity, they decide to summon Dorothy and through the magical powers of Oz, send a multi colored rainbow, funnel cloud, to transport her and Toto, back to Oz.
Along the way, as in the first, she meet new friends, along the Yellow Brick Road, including Owl, voiced by Oliver Platt, Marshal Mellow, voiced by Hugh Dancy, China Princess voiced by Megan Hilty and Tugg voiced by Patrick Stewart.
Without moving any further, “The Legends of Oz,” truly equates to a bi-polar film-making, to which as stunning, brilliant and vibrant the colors and 3-D imagery is presented, the story is miserably limping along with barely a blimp of laughter.
As it is an attempted animated sequel to a timeless classic it truly fails to seamlessly weave an entirely new set of characters and circumstances into the old and come off without bruises, bumps and slips on the journey back to Oz.
The film just wasn’t able to make the jump, the jokes fell flat, the comedic timing seemed off, and quite honestly even the sparkling, vibrant eye popping neon colors, the most advanced and vivid 3-D I’ve seen recently only pointed to the obvious disparity of the poorly written story.
It could have been sound booth editing with the voice talent, just that, and still, no cohesive comedic timing with the Cowardly Lion, Tin Man and Scarecrow. Martin Short was funny, however, rendering his enemies to marionettes, honestly, reminded me of a horror film.
It is important to say “The Legends of Oz Dorothy’s Return,” could stand alone as an entertaining animated feature. There were many good moments created by the CG animation. Taking inanimate objects, such as teacups and building the Great Wall of China and the Princess and court figurines all beautiful.
“The Legends of Oz Dorothy’s Return,” opens everywhere May 9, 2014.