Not many films can really rival 1939’s The Wizard of Oz in terms of greatness or iconicness. There have been many prequels, sequels, and spinoffs even before the 1939 masterpiece, as they’re all based on books by author L. Frank Baum, who died about twenty years before Judy Garland amazed us all. But that was a MGM movie, Disney did this “unofficial sequel” but they also made many twists so I suppose they wouldn’t be outright sued by MGM.
Such as in this film, Dorothy Gale is about ten years old, very similar to her age in the books. Though she does remember the ruby slippers instead of the book’s silver slippers. She has bad dreams and insomnia after her first battle in Oz. Her aunt and uncle get a doctor to help her, but things go wrong and sure enough, she’s back in Oz. But things are different.
She learns from Princess Mombi that almost everyone in Oz that was living had been turned to rock. One of the few lucky ones was the Scarecrow (the Cowardly Lion and the Tin Man were known casualties seen by Dorothy herself) but he’s gone. But she makes new friends with Tik-Tok, a robotic creature of sorts, and Jack Pumpkinhead, a creature of good but he would probably scare children around Halloween if they had no idea.
She learns that the source of this terrible evil was the Nome King. He’s a being mostly comprised of rock and minerals, but he’s a powerful magician. But even he knows and fears the hidden “powers” of the famous Dorothy Gale of Kansas. Can sweet little Dorothy Gale break the curse and save her friends? Or will the Nome King have an eternal rule over the land of Oz?
Overall Return to Oz is a flawed film. I actually disliked the first half of the movie and thought it dragged on for quite a bit. Though after you see the magic of Oz come back (as the Nome King literally ripped all the magic from the land) slowly but surely, the film starts to get better. I always wonder why I had never seen the film, but it did so poorly at the box office, Disney probably was pretty embarrassed.