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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Wizard of Oz sequel features old favorites and introduces new ones

Were your grandparents writers?  If so, have you ever considered writing a sequel to one of their stories?  That's exactly what L. Frank Baum did.  His grandfather was the author of the original Wizard of Oz. 

The sequel of the beloved story has been turned into a movie that is receiving mixed reviews.  Here's mine:

Movie Title:   Legends of Oz

PG, 1 hour 28 minutes

Grade:    C

In a Nutshell:   

The talented Lea Michele from Glee brings to life a Dorothy who has returned to Oz to fight another colorful villain and save the day.  The cast of legendary voices includes Martin Short, Patrick Stewart, Bernadette Peters, Dan Aykroyd, Oliver Platt, Jim Belushi, Kelsey Grammer, and Megan Hilty.  Unfortunately, the story doesn’t measure up to their tremendous talent, but offers a diversion for young children who want to see what’s on the other side of the marketing rainbow.

This sequel has a Cirque du Soleil: The Mystery of Mystere feel to it, introducing new characters and throwing a spin on the old ones.  In a nutshell: harmless, but charmless.

Uplifting theme: 

  • Loyalty, service to others, fighting evil, friendship
  • Dorothy said “There will always be a rainbow when you need one most.”
Things I liked:

  • I liked the visual details of the grass in between the yellow bricks.
  • I got a kick out of the tree with pinecone earrings and the other one with the Reggae dreadlocks.
  • Fireflies ARE magical.
  • Nice design on Tugg’s sail.
  • I LOVE details in animation.  China Princess had the most delicate little lips that quivered with emotion.
  • There were some 3D gags which little ones will enjoy.
Things I didn’t like:

  •  The songs aren’t catchy enough to convince young girls to stop singing the soundtrack from Frozen a million times a day.
  • It doesn’t have the heart of the original The Wizard of Oz .
  • It lacks clever wit and magical charm.
  • The China Princess is not an endearing character that little girls should emulate.  Glenda, on the other hand, will do well in merchandising because she was so cute and sweet.
  • I didn’t understand the airbrush checkered shirt on Wiser the Owl.  Why?
  • Dorothy’s face looked too old, but I loved her cowboy boots!
  • It was a strange mixture of cartoony animation and more sophisticated drawings.
  • The rolling credits at the end included a gigantic list of names the film was dedicated to.  Doesn't that kind of water down the sentiment?
Funny lines:

  • “You can’t make a person do that against his will.  Dancing is very personal.”  - Tin Man
Tips for parents:

  • It’s a fairly harmless story with a villain who is more mean than scary.
  • Keep watching during the credits to see the rest of the story unfold.