Return to Oz Image

Mixed or average reviews - based on 11 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 18 Ratings

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  • Summary: Dorothy finds herself back in the land of her dreams where she makes delightful new friends like Tik Tok, Jack Pumpkinhead, and the Gum, as well as dangerous new enemies, the creepy Wheelers, the head-hunting Princess Mombi, and the evil Nome King. With every twist in the yellow brick road, Dorothy's struggle to return home becomes more challenging and foreboding. And the future of Oz rests in her hands. Will Dorothy be able to restore its rightful heir to the throne of the Emerald City? (Disney) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 11
  2. Negative: 4 out of 11
  1. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    First of all, it has no music. That aside, it doesn't have any wit, joy, or drive. Children who haven't had the pleasure of seeing The Wizard of Oz might enjoy this film, but it will also frighten them. There are some fine, Oscar-nominated special effects, but the excitement just isn't there.
  2. Everyone who grew up with the full range of the Oz books is deeply in Murch's debt. However, the framework surrounding Return to Oz is dark and, I suspect, terribly frightening for very young children. [21 Jun 1985, p.1]
  3. Reviewed by: Ian Nathan
    It’s enthralling as well as rambling, you do miss the songs, but there is clearly no place for them here. Best to see them as individual films with nothing in common apart from source material, one a classic, the other a strong enough picaresque amongst some decent fabulation.
  4. The inventiveness that has gone into this, and into turning Oz into a land of lavish special effects, will be lost on anyone with a fondness for the 1939 musical classic. That film will always enchant adults and children alike. This joyless new Return to Oz isn't likely to appeal to the former, and may give many of the latter a good scare. Children are sure to be startled by the new film's bleakness.
  5. Dorothy's friends are as weird as her enemies, which is faithful to the original Oz books but turns out not to be a virtue on film, where the eerie has a tendency to remain eerie no matter how often we're told it's not. [22 Jun 1985, p.E3]
  6. 38
    The Nome King looks like a moveable Mt. St. Helens and he alone is magical. In fact, he blows Dorothy and her tacky-looking friends off the screen. So we end up liking the Nome King and hating Dorothy and her crowd, which I doubt was the intention of the L. Frank Baum series. [21 Jun 1985, p.1]
  7. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    Dorothy encounters a pumpkin with stick limbs, a tin soldier and something called a Gump, which looks suspiciously like your basic moosehead. They are all mechanical marvels, not actors, which means they can do anything except win an audience's heart. Still, it would defy the gifts of an Olivier to find interesting, amusing life in a context as charmless and joyless (and songless) as the one Murch and his design team have concocted. [1 July 1985, p.63]

See all 11 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 7
  2. Negative: 1 out of 7
  1. May 10, 2014
    Having read eleven of the fourteen original oz books including the two this movie was based on I found it a perfect and fairly accurate combination of the second and third book in the Oz series. It was never meant to be a sequel to the beloved classic but simply a different adaptation of the next books which happen to be a bit darker. Even the Wizard of Oz book was much darker that the movie. Return to Oz strived more for accuracy. Expand
  2. Aug 2, 2013
    A wonderful imaginative movie! Amazing special effects for the time, lovable side characters and a lovely soundtrack. Do not try to compare it to the musical. It is its own unique creation. Anyone who thinks that it is too scary for children is not giving them (the children) enough credit. My favorite movie when I was three and still one of my favorite movies today. Expand
  3. Nov 1, 2010
    Ignore the critics. this movie is beast!
  4. Jan 12, 2013
    Return to Oz is a fantastic horror movie for children. Witches that can remove their heads, mutated rollerblading punks, evil rocks that spy on you, ghosts trapped in mirrors, electric shock therapy... This is scary stuff for kids! But not too scary, however, making it an excellent treat come Halloween. Expand
  5. Oct 5, 2012
    The wizard of and Return to Oz are great !!! the Return to oz is more Scary i give a 5 ,the actress Jean Marsh did a great job and this movie is too scary to show to a new younger audience. Expand
  6. Aug 8, 2011
    this movie has no storyline very scary for younger kids boring as!!! it shames the original! i love disney but they must have been drunk and made this by mistake!! Expand