If you ever wondered about what happened after Dorothy saved Oz and returned to Kansas to find out everyone there thought she was a klutzy girl with an overactive imagination, you're in luck with "Legends of Oz: Dorothy Returns."
If you wanted a good movie to explain what happens, well, your luck has expired.
"Legends" takes place in Oz years after Dorothy killed the Wicked Witch of the West. Since then, her brother, Jester, voiced by Martin Short, has taken control of Oz by stealing his dead sister's broomstick and attaching an orb which magnifies magic to make him extremely powerful - but not powerful enough to remove the jester costume his sister cursed him to wear.
Shown is a scene from “Legends of Oz:?Dorothy Returns.” The Scarecrow communicates with Dorothy by sending a rainbow in this film.
Yet because time differs between worlds, Dorothy wakes up the day after the twister to find her Kansas home destroyed, the house having been blown right off the foundation. Two strange men come to condemn the house, along with all of her neighbors' houses, but our star, voiced by Lea Michele, says they can fix them.
After proving that she cannot be trusted to fix anything by entrapping chicks and almost dropping a sign on her horse, she runs away to a hill where she is chased by a rainbow. Yep, the Scarecrow can bring Dorothy to Oz anytime he wants by sending a rainbow after her.
Now to be fair, I never have read "Dorothy of Oz," written by Roger Stanton Baum, the great-grandson of the original Oz books' author, Frank L. Baum. Yet if it is anything like the movie, I plan to stay far, far away from it.
The plot follows the basic plot of the original story. Dorothy finds herself in Oz. She needs to get to the Emerald City by way of the Yellow Brick Road.
Along the way, she meets quirky new friends: an obese, chatty owl named Wiser; a timid marshmallow soldier named Marshal Mallow, looking for someone to order him around; and a bossy porcelain doll named China Princess. Together they all use their talents to save the day - although Mallow's only talent is taking bits of himself to glue the equally useless China Princess back together.
The emotionless Sims-like characters distracted me from the big-name actors featured in the film, such as the aforementioned Short and Michele, Dan Aykroyd as the Scarecrow, James Belushi as the Lion, Kelsey Grammer as the Tin Man and Bernadette Peters as Glinda.
As a huge fan of Michele from before her "Glee" days, I have to say she never should have been picked to play the lead in an animated film because she is an actress who uses her body to express her character's emotions. Just having her voice was not enough to really make the audience feel what Dorothy felt. I just felt bored.
Still, she put her everything into the dull songs that awkwardly popped up throughout the movie, as did Hugh Dancy as Marshal Mallow and Megan Hilty as the China Princess.
Peters, a remarkable Broadway star, was wasted as a voice actress because she did not even get a song out of the role. Patrick Stewart also was wasted as a suicidal talking tree that would rather be turned into a boat.
If I could just look at the background animation and ignore the character animation, plot and songs, I probably would have enjoyed the movie more.
A lot of detail clearly went into the background animation. The forest looks incredible where the talking trees live (remember those apple-flinging trees from the original movie? They're back and get mad when Dorothy tries ripping off their limbs.). The Jester's castle also looks wonderful.
Still, if someone does force you to see this movie, you will have to do more than watch the background for 88 minutes. You can try to decide whether an overweight Woody from Toy Story makes a cameo as a marionette. You also can ponder whether the Scarecrow replicated the inside of the "Doctor Who" T.A.R.D.I.S. to make his Rainbow Mover. I vote yes for both.
One star out of four unless I can give half of a star because this movie was good only because the theater was empty so I could make really loud, snarky remarks.
1 star out of 4.
Rated PG for some scary images and mild peril.