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Return to Oz

Old 08-15-05, 11:25 AM
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Return to Oz

Return to Oz is my all-time favorite movie. I grew up watching it and really enjoy the fact that it was daring in staying closer to the look and feel of the books version of Oz than the 1939 film. They went back to the original book illustrations to design the characters and scenery. I've been reading a lot of behind the scenes articles courtesy of the website:returntoozthemovie.com. Sadly, there were a great deal of problems that went on during filming including Disney's lackluster support of the film, technical problems, and overall the film was a big theatrical letdown. For a while, it seemed like it was one of Disney's dirty little secrets since they put a lot of effort and money into the project and it didn't deliver in whatever way they were looking for. Now, however it has developed a big following and would certainly do better if it were released today.

I would just love to know everyone's thoughts on the movie. I think it was and still is, very well done, and it's one of the few fantasy films of the 80s that don't have too much 80s influence on the look of the film such as Labyrinth did (and I adore this film as well). This is setting aside the influence of the technology at the time. I would put something like Return to Oz in the category as The Neverending Story. It really took itself seriously and wasn't trying to be cute or too tongue in cheek.

Now, I wonder when the next time someone will take on a film version of Oz? I know there's been talk about a McGee's version, but I would certainly like it if it went back to the original source. Knowing how beloved the 1939 film is though, I don't really see it happening in this lifetime.
Old 08-15-05, 11:48 AM
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nothing beats MJ's version of Oz... .... kidding
Old 08-15-05, 12:10 PM
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i like the film. however i think it has a lot of 80's production vaule to it. The wheelers, the make up for the witch, The moose head puppet. Its a fun watch.

I doubt a mcgee version will arrive anytime soon. I'm not sure who holds the rights to make another OZ movie, I assume disney (since they did return, and the newest muppets incarnation.) and no way they would make that...furthermore i wouldn't want to see it. I had heard they had talked about doing another movie a few years ago, and the only name i remember being attatched was Drew Barrymore.

I think doing a big budget OZ scares many studios...how can you compare to one of the most classic movies of all time. No doubt there is plenty of source material, and if they started a new franchise you would almost have to lock in a harry potter like deal to have people returning for 3-4 movies.
Old 08-15-05, 12:31 PM
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I like "Return" because it's much truer to the original "Oz" series than the Judy Garland movie ever was, and I'm a big fan of the original dozen or so books by Baum. I remember seeing it when I was 13 or so when it came out in theaters and digging it, even though it was a big bomb. Watched it again on DVD a year or two ago and it's charming in a very low-fi kind of way... There's some tremendously cheesy effects but it's kind of heartfelt and kitschy. Reminds me a lot of "Labyrinth" from the same timeframe, another movie that may not be technically perfect but it's still kind of great anyway. I do wonder if they'll ever make another Oz flick, but part of me is scared at the notion and worries they'll turn it into "Extreme Ozzz" or so forth with a Goth Tin Man and heroin-shooting Scarecrow...
Old 08-15-05, 03:37 PM
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I agree that there should be a series of new Oz movies based on the books, not the musical version from 1939. As great as a movie that was, it really hurt the potential for an Oz franchise more than anything. It's too bad people have an inferior interpretation to cloud their opinion of something that tries to get it right.

But with many of the major franchises ending, or soon to end, I don't see why somebody doesn't revisit the idea of doing new Oz movies based on the books.
Old 08-15-05, 04:01 PM
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A great many people found this movie frightening when they grew up and often times they revisited it and found they had overcome their fear. I was never really frightened by anything in it, but I do remember my school watching it on video (a special treat) when I was in the second grade and after the headless Mombi ran after Dorothy, they pulled the plug on the movie! Perhaps some of the teachers complained, but at any rate, they said the tape had messed up. I knew that wasn't the case because I had myself rented that same copy after that and found it to be in fine condition.

If another Oz movie or set of movies were made I would want this kind of feel to it. As Calhoun07 pointed out, the 1939 movie really did hurt the potential of other Oz movies being made, much less in a different mood or atmosphere as was in the original books. There really is a lot of potential there, and it's a shame that it won't/can't be visualized on screen.
Old 08-15-05, 05:24 PM
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I could never get over the fact that Dorothy got electo-shock treatment in this film...guess that was true to the book, but kind of rough for a kid to sit through. That was the most disturbing part to me...didn't have a problem with anything that happened while Dorothy was in Oz.
Old 08-15-05, 05:31 PM
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I have never seen Return to Oz. Is there a trailer available anywhere online? I looked, but could not find one.
Old 08-15-05, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by fryinpan1
I have never seen Return to Oz. Is there a trailer available anywhere online? I looked, but could not find one.
http://www.returntoozthemovie.com/mo...rtztrailer.mpg
Old 08-15-05, 09:01 PM
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I too caught this in the theater. It was quite an interesting movie, and I didn't realize until I looked on IMDB several years later that Dorothy was played by Fairuza Balk. Apparently this was also the longest gap between an original movie and its sequel.
While I know many would probably detest an extreme version of Oz, I think that its time will eventually arrive, whether it be as a completely CGI version or a blend. I remember seeing a toy of what I guess were the McGee version that had a rather adult looking Dorothy in bondage gear atop a creature being pulled by a munchkin.
Old 08-15-05, 09:58 PM
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I have to admit that when I saw this as a kid it scared the living crap out of me...the witch with multiple heads, the wheelers etc... I'm 25 now and still don't have the guts to revisit it, but that's a story for my therapist

Dr. DVD: Didn't they make a made-for-tv sequel to Gone with the Wind a few years ago that took the spot for longest time between original and sequel. Funny, both 1939 films.

Last edited by GoldenJCJ; 08-15-05 at 10:02 PM.
Old 08-15-05, 10:26 PM
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I liked Return to Oz from the moment I saw it when it first came out and I could not understand the negative reviews except that it was a bunch of critics grumbling that "it wasn't like the first one."

As far as a new film I think we will see either a nonmusical or musical (based on the Broadway musical) version of the book Wicked before another true Oz movie. I just read it and, while it was quite interesting and intriguing, it was nothing like Baum's Oz.

If Return to Oz had been received as I think it should have been it very well may have started a string of films. That it didn't I think is a loss to Oz and movie fans.

Last edited by movielib; 08-16-05 at 08:29 AM.
Old 08-15-05, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Shannon Nutt
I could never get over the fact that Dorothy got electo-shock treatment in this film...guess that was true to the book, but kind of rough for a kid to sit through. That was the most disturbing part to me...didn't have a problem with anything that happened while Dorothy was in Oz.
IIRC, Dorothy never received electroshock treatment in any of the Oz books. While Return to Oz was much truer to the Oz books than The Wizard of Oz, that part was added by the filmmakers.

I liked it, it was one of the things that gave the film a little bit of an edge.

Last edited by movielib; 08-17-05 at 05:00 PM.
Old 08-15-05, 10:40 PM
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I liked it but haven't seen it in 15 years or so... can't remember it at all. All I remember is that I liked it.
Old 08-16-05, 04:42 AM
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Originally Posted by movielib
IIRC, Dorothey never received electroshock treatment in any of the Oz books. While Return to Oz was much truer to the Oz books than The Wizard of Oz, that part was added by the filmmakers.

I liked it, it was one of the things that gave the film a little bit of an edge.
Well, in that case, it's a reason to not like the movie...it bothered me as a kid (I was 15 when Oz was released, so it wasn't like I couldn't deal with it), and I'd probably still find it a bit unnverving.
Old 08-16-05, 05:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Shannon Nutt
thanks
Old 08-16-05, 09:49 AM
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A lot of effort was made to make the movie appear a lot like the John R. Neill illustrations from the books. You could really tell that they were going for a very turn-of-the-century look, even in Oz itself as that was when L. Frank Baum wrote the books. I enjoyed that attention to detail, whereas the 1939 film looks very much like it was made in the 30s.

I think you're right movielib. If the movie had done really well, they might have continued making Oz movies and created a kind of franchise.
Old 08-16-05, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by calhoun07
I agree that there should be a series of new Oz movies based on the books, not the musical version from 1939.
But with many of the major franchises ending, or soon to end, I don't see why somebody doesn't revisit the idea of doing new Oz movies based on the books.
There's certainly an audience for it with Lord of the Rings being a sucesss and The Chronicles of Narnia due out soon.

You think Faruza Bulk would be interested?
Old 08-17-05, 10:18 AM
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I agree riley_dude, Lord of the Rings' success has shown us that a fantasy film can be taken seriously and can also be a successful true adaptation. The problem with Oz sadly is that the 1939 film version of Oz is so ingrained into our culture. It would be a big gamble for a motion picture company to take on Oz again. I could see some movie company calling up Disney and asking them about the trials and tribulations of making Return to Oz, and they'd tell them to just not go there, ever.

However, I think this time around they would find that people would be more open to a darker/more faithful interpretation of Oz. It's a shame that so many people probably haven't read the original Wizard of Oz book. I remember things such as how the trip down the Yellow Brick Road was a very perilous journey, and it seemed to take them at least a month to get to the Emerald City. Besides a threat here or there by the witch, it never seemed like the 1939 movie implied much danger from the trip itself.

To me, Return to Oz is how I would like to think L. Frank Baum wanted Oz to be like in film version. It's not necessarily always a lighthearted place, but it is filled with endearing characters. It's just that the popularity of stage musicals were such a hit with the public, that it influenced the silent films and then the 1939 version of Wizard of Oz.

I thought Fairuza Balk was a fantastic Dorothy. She wasn't a high-strung weepy teenager in the books like she was in the 1939 film, and I was happy to see they dropped her age back. However, there is one part where I have to admit I think Fairuza was channeling Judy Garland. It's where she's talking to Billina the hen about the broken Yellow Brick Road.


It's funny how certain things that the MGM created that they couldn't let go of for Return to Oz such as the Ruby Slippers, and the use of Kansas counterparts in Oz. There are a TON of other things seen in Kansas that transfer over to Oz, and it's all listed on the returntoozthemovie.com website.

Does anyone remember a tv movie about how L. Frank Baum wrote The Wonderful Wizard of Oz? It was called The Dreamer of Oz and starred John Ritter. I always thought it was a good all around production.
Old 08-17-05, 03:35 PM
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You know, I blame the marketing. I don't know how Return to Oz was marketed, but if studios can put spins on the lousiest movies like Garfield and get people to buy enough movie tickets and DVDs to justify a sequel, then those same marketing gurus should be able to sell America and the world on a darker and more faithful series of Oz movies.
Old 08-17-05, 03:57 PM
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Actually, a movie on the American McGee video came is in the works. Sarah Michelle Gellar signed on to star back in June:

http://movies.about.com/od/gellarsar...lice062105.htm
Old 08-17-05, 04:11 PM
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That's based on the Alice game, not Oz.
Old 08-17-05, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Caricature80
That's based on the Alice game, not Oz.
*smacks head*

Nevermind.
Old 08-17-05, 04:25 PM
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You know it's funny, since Alice in Wonderland was mentioned, I just thought about how Disney's version of that tale (the cartoon) has never been one of their biggest hits. They often had a hard time deciding how they wanted the story to be portrayed, and it has become one of their animated films that doesn't really seem to fit with the other ones (i.e. the traditional Disney formula). It usually gets forgotten when most people think about Disney animated films of the '50s.

We've certainly seen a lot more versions of Wonderland than Oz, and it's no real surprise that the McGee's version will/can be made, even if it's been in the "works" for a long time.

I think with Return to Oz, they could have simply done a remake of The Wizard of Oz instead, and if the 1939 film wasn't so popular, it very well could have been that way. It's been said many times that Return to Oz was more of a sequel to the original Wonderful Wizard of Oz book, yet it's only natural that it was looked upon a sequel to the MGM film as well. It has the things mentioned above such as the Ruby Slippers instead of Silver, and the Kansas counterparts to the characters. It puts RTO in a difficult position: a hybrid sequel for the book AND the film.
Old 08-17-05, 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Sierra Disc
Goth Tin Man and heroin-shooting Scarecrow...
I'm not a huge Oz fan but I respect a numer of classics and enjoy adding them to my collection. I'm against any type or remake or other intertrptation but I do enjoy these:





Does that make me a bad person?

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