Most of us know the 1939 version of the Wizard of Oz staring an innocent 15-year-old Judy Garland very well…Its a classic and never really seems to date much!!
Return to Oz is very different. I don’t particularly like it. The story begins in Kanzas. It has been 6 months since Dorothy has been in Oz and everything is very much changed. She has been having bizarre dreams and is diagnosed with delusional depression. He tries to treat her with an ‘electro-shock’ technique in an asylum. She is rescued by a mysterious girl who the leads her back to Oz to begin her new adventure.
She comes across new characters such as “tick tock” who seems to be a spin-off idea from the tin man and Jack Pumpkin head who is similar to the scarecrow. It’s very dated now and the special effects are pretty poor, I’d almost go as far as saying that they are more impressive in the 1939 film !!
Like in the first film they encounter problems but new ones ; such as the “wheelers” who are freaky men on wheels. Dorothy and Billina hide in a secret room from them and meet “tick tock” the mechanical man. Tick-tock takes charge stating that the scarecrow is missing. The three meet a scary “head changing” witch called Mombi who is the nurse from the asylum. They end up being imprisoned and meet Jack Pumpkin head who thinks Dorothy is his mother ! He states that he was created by Mombi’s “powder of life” Dorothy steals some from the witch and they escape the Nome King’s mountain by flying across the Deadly Desert, Mombi and the wheelers follow them underground.
Things start to go very wrong when the flying machine falls apart and they all fall upon “The Nome King’s mountain.” The whole film just gets more confusing at it goes along. I’d say that its definitively not suitable for younger children however, the story does have a happy and less cynical ending….not one of my favourite films!!