‘Legends of Oz’ gets modern musical makeover

By Nicholas Jimenez

“Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return,” is an American 3D computer-animated musical film that is loosely based on “Dorothy of Oz” by Roger Stanton Baum.

In the latest chapter of the Oz legacy, Dorothy (Lea Michele), returns to Kansas only to find it devastated by the tornado that had whisked her away to Oz.

The townspeople are packing up and moving out of town.

Shortly after arriving, she is magically transported back to Oz.

She finds out that Oz is in trouble and the people there need her help.

Dorothy’s old friends have disappeared and Oz is in a state of decay.

As she journeys to find her friends, she encounters a number of new companions and problems.

Scarecrow (Dan Aykroyd),  Lion (Jim Belushi), and Tin Man (Kelsey Grammar) return to help Dorothy in her quest to once again save Oz.

New characters are introduced as Dorothy returns to Oz and tries to make her way to the Emerald City, where an evil Jester, terrifically voiced by Martin Short, is wreaking havoc.

Just like in the original 1939 film, Dorothy first encounters and then wins over new characters as she makes her way down the yellow brick road.

Her new trio of pals are a helpful, tubby owl (Oliver Platt) Marshal Mallow (Hugh Dancy) and Tugg (Patrick Stewart) a talking tree that turns into a boat.

From the opening credits, which imagined the tornado sequence from the 1939 Wizard of Oz, that viewers have seen dozens of times, the characters, the songs and the storyline are captivating.

It was refreshing to have a brand new set of characters that have their own unique personalities.

Each one was written carefully, and they were not copies of the original Oz characters.

The songs were cute and catchy.   The soundtrack is sure tohave children singing along.While Michele did not sound like Judy Garland (the 1939 Dorothy), her voice was powerful. She exhibits the same charm and wonder as Garland’s potrayal as Dorothy.

This is a great kids movie, though there are a few moments where it drags.

It was a touching movie with the heart of the original firmly in tact retaining the youthful quality.

Yet, it was too predictable at points, falling into the cliche trappings most children’s film tend to fall into.

However, the target audience, children between the ages 6 to 12, won’t even notice the common cliches and will enjoy the coloful characters and vibrancy of the film has to offer.

This is a film that a whole family can find charming and fun, despite the predictability that can happen at points.

The film itself is only 88 minutes and it is the perfect length to tell the new Oz story while keeping the attention of young moviegoers and adults alike.

“Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return” was released on Friday.

This film is rated PG for some scary images and mild peril and the running time is 87 minutes.

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