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Return to Oz
     

Return to Oz

4.2 19
Director: Walter Murch

Cast: Nicol Williamson, Jean Marsh, Fairuza Balk

 

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Get ready for a strange voyage back to a strangely familiar fantasy land with Disney DVD's release of this belated sequel to The Wizard of Oz. Presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, the image is clean and nearly flawless. Sporting solid blacks, even skin tones, and little evidence of edge-enhancement, this disc will look great no matter how it's viewed. The

Overview

Get ready for a strange voyage back to a strangely familiar fantasy land with Disney DVD's release of this belated sequel to The Wizard of Oz. Presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, the image is clean and nearly flawless. Sporting solid blacks, even skin tones, and little evidence of edge-enhancement, this disc will look great no matter how it's viewed. The Dolby Digital 5.1 remix rings through loud and clear, with no hiss to speak of, offering a great showcase for David Shire's wondrous score. Of course, Return to Oz wasn't exactly a box-office phenomenon when originally released in 1985, but that hasn't stopped Disney from including some interesting extra features. It's great to hear Fairuza Balk recollect her first major role in a candid and easygoing interview, and it's obvious that everyone involved in the production truly believed in the film. In addition to addressing issues of stratospheric audience expectations, Balk also talks about her longtime relationship with director Walter Murch and the grueling audition process she endured to land the coveted role of Dorothy. Though original TV spots and a theatrical trailer are also included, the television spots are in particularly poor shape and appear almost completely desaturated in addition to sporting onscreen timecode.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Andrea LeVasseur
A dark fantasy-adventure, Return to Oz follows in the tone of the original L. Frank Baum books, Ozma of Oz and Land of Oz, rather than posing as a sequel to the classic of all family films, The Wizard of Oz. While seeming pretty creepy for younger viewers, older audiences may just be disturbed at the faded post-apocalyptic settings and bleak story when compared to the cheery and bright Technicolor of the 1939 Judy Garland Hollywood version. Opting for depressing and evil characters in lieu of the beloved simple types of the first is only one example of how a comparison puts this new version at a disadvantage. However, Return to Oz is stylistically compelling, doing its best to cinematically render Baum's original character drawings of the Tin Man and the Scarecrow. Will Vinton (creator of the stop-motion California Raisins) did some award-winning work on some of the creatures and special effects. By avoiding the musical genre trappings and casting a Dorothy (Fairuza Balk, in her first screen role) of actual kid age, it doesn't seem to patronize the youth audience with sugar-coated moralizing. Not known for his work in family entertainment anyway, writer/director Walter Murch previously worked as an editor and sound designer for Apocalypse Now and The Godfather. By offering a family-friendly way into a nightmare fantasy, Return to Oz is one of the few creature-laden '80s movies that allowed curious kids to venture into the dark side.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/03/2004
UPC:
0786936233780
Original Release:
1985
Rating:
PG
Source:
Walt Disney Video
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Time:
1:50:00
Sales rank:
16,245

Special Features

"Fairuza Balk Returns to Oz" interview; Original TV spots; Original theatrical trailer; French-language track

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Nicol Williamson Dr. Worley/Nome King
Jean Marsh Nurse WilsonIPrincess Mombi
Fairuza Balk Dorothy Gale
Piper Laurie Aunt Em
Matt Clark Uncle Henry
Sean Barrett Tik Tok's Voice
Tim Rose Tiktok
Mak Wilson Bilina
Denise Bryer Billing's Voice
Brian Henson Jack Pumpkinhead
Stewart Larange Jack Pumpkinhead
Lyle Conway Gump
Steve Norrington Gump
Justin Case Scarecrow
John Alexander Wheeler
Emma Ridley Ozma
Sophie Ward Mombi II
Fiona Victory Mombi III
Pons Maar Policeman,Nome Messenger
Rachel Ashton Wheeler
Robbie Barnett Wheeler
Alisa Berk Actor
Bruce Boa Policeman
Cheryl Brown Dorothy's double
Susan Dacre Supporting puppeteer
Tansy the Dog Toto
Peter Elliott Actor
Roger Ennals Wheeler
Geoff Felix Supporting puppeteer
David Greenaway Supporting puppeteer
Michele Hine Wheeler
Mark Hopkins Wheeler
Swee Lim Supporting puppeteer
Alison Lynn Dorothy's double
Nicola Roche Dorothy's double
Deep Roy Tin Man
Colin Skeaping Wheeler
Ken Stevens Wheeler
Michel Sundin Tik Tok
Philip Tan Wheeler
Robert Thirtle Wheeler
Sarah White Dorothy's double

Technical Credits
Walter Murch Director,Screenwriter
Charles Bishop Art Director
Gill Dennis Screenwriter
Mike Fenton Casting
Susie Figgis Casting
Michael Ford Set Decoration/Design
Robin Grantham Makeup
Leslie Hodgson Editor
Raymond Hughes Costumes/Costume Designer
Ken Kolb Screenwriter
Gary Kurtz Executive Producer
Marci Liroff Casting
Paul Maslansky Producer
Norman Reynolds Production Designer
David Shire Score Composer
David Watkin Cinematographer
Ian Wingrove Special Effects
L. Frank Baum Source Author

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Opening Credits/A Shooting Star [9:19]
2. Electrical Marvel [9:54]
3. "Run, Dorothy, Run!" [9:23]
4. The Yellow Brick Road [11:59]
5. Princess Mombi [5:41]
6. Jack Pumpkinhead [5:54]
7. Powder of Life [2:01]
8. Crash Landing [10:22]
9. Three Chances [6:11]
10. Scarecrow [1:43]
11. Emerald City [11:49]
12. End Credits [1:58]

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Return to Oz 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
PeterHeimsoth 8 months ago
The Ozzyest movie ever! So many people misunderstand the movie "Return to Oz," including Andrea LeVasseur, the reviewer here. Far from intending to take kids to the dark side, as she asserts, the movie is all about dispelling darkness, in this case the pall cast over the Land of Oz by the Nome King and Princess Mombi. (Le Vasseur also mistakenly identifies L. Frank Baum as the illustrator of the Oz books; he was the author, while John R. Neill illustrated the majority of the Oz books, following W.W. Denslow, who provided the pictures for "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.") In truth, to people who have actually read the Oz books, "Return to Oz" adheres to the style and tone of the books perhaps more so than any other cinematic offering. Again, it isn't a matter of the stories themselves being "dark," but often someone with dark intentions needs to be opposed and either defeated or reformed by the heroes, who restore light and happiness. That's what happens here, when Dorothy Gale, aided by Billina the Yellow Hen, Jack Pumpkinhead, Tik-Tok the Clockwork Man, the Gump, and eventually the Scarecrow, finally breaks the Nome King's evil hold on her beloved home away from home and the Emerald City is restored to a glory that MGM would never have been able to accomplish in 1939. As for the frightening parts of the movie, people have reacted to Margaret Hamilton's Wicked Witch of the West with fright for decades and been none the worse for it. Those who think RtO is unsuitable for children ought to properly read Baum's original "Wonderful Wizard." Speaking of MGM, the only mistake made in "Return to Oz" (in my view) was the inclusion of the ruby slippers, for which Disney had to pay for the copyright. It would have been better to stick to the silver shoes from the book and let RtO be its own animal entirely. But that aside, it is a wonderful film, seamlessly blending elements of the second and third of Baum's books about Oz and sporting a marvelous cast, headed by little Fairuza Balk, whose sparkling performance and amazing empathy with the other characters (most of whom are brought to life through animatronics) hold the movie together. It remains, I think, the best work that Balk has ever done.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
As a fan of the 1939 Wizard of Oz Movie that starred Judy Garland I saw Return to Oz in a movie theater back in the mid 80's and I like it. I have never read the L. Frank Baum books but from what I have heard this movie is actually closer to his books. Yes, Return to Oz is a weird movie but I like weird movies So I enjoyed watching it!
Kukulcan More than 1 year ago
When I first started searching for this movie I could not even remember the title. I think that this is one of those movies that stays with you though... I could remember parts from the movie. Like the witch removing her head and replacing it with one of the others that she has in glass cabinets. It truly is a classic. I love the way this movie was made. The animatronics are great. I like the digital stuff but it goes to show that even back then the movies were just as entertaining. When I ordered this movie I thought it was going to take a long time for it to get to me. I was trilled when I got home the day that it said that I was to receive it and saw it in my mail box. I couldn't wait to open it. I truly recommend this movie to all!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was my ultimate film as a child and i have spent years searching for it in the uk, and im still to find a dvd that will play here. Why r we ignored?
Guest More than 1 year ago
Though this sequel to the 1939 musical is not as widely appreciated as the latter, it is still a must see for Oz fans. Fairuza Balk is darling as Dorothy and the blend of the 2nd and 3rd Oz books works very well. The characters are fun, the story is interesting, and the effects are cool.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I purchased Return to Oz recently because I remembered it as a childhood favorite. I had remembered this movie to be much scarier, but it is not frightening at all. The description claims that it picks up right where The Wizard of Oz left off. This is not so, many of the characters are different and the style of the movie is very unlike the first Wizard of Oz. This doesn't make it any less enjoyable. The characters are wonderful, and I think this is a great movie for younger generations, as well as an 80s classic for those of us old enough to recognize that distinct era's style.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought it kept with the basic Wizard of Oz and my attention. It was very creative and enjoyful! The new characters were a total surprise and very inventive.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This movie was mistakenly designed with scary images and horrid scenes. It did not present scenes suitable for young children (grandchildren 2 and 4). it tries to gain attention by techniques to make the viewer afraid. It is complete flop as a movie for young children. We turned it off 1/4 of the way through.