Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return Movie Poster Image
Kids will like well-intentioned sequel, but it lacks magic.
  • PG
  • 2014
  • 88 minutes
Parents recommend

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 8 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Children will learn a little about what happens after a disaster, since Dorothy’s family is shown dealing with the aftermath of the tornado. A streak of activism runs through the film, as Dorothy fights for her family’s right to stay in their home and rebuild.

Positive Messages

Power corrupts, and so can hungering for it. Also, you can do anything you want if you set your mind to it. So think positively!

Positive Role Models & Representations

Dorothy is brave, humble, and caring, and she wants to stand up for what's right. Her friends also embody positive character traits, including courage, determination, generosity, and commitment.

Violence & Scariness

In 3D, some of the battle scenes (even if they're between flying monkeys and chocolate soldiers) can be intense, especially for very young children. After one skirmish, a character is injured severely, and younger viewers may be upset. The Lion, the Tin Man, and the Scarecrow are tortured by a villain; his "punishments" include submerging the Tin Man in water and attaching the Scarecrow to a spinning wheel surrounded by fire. Kansas is shown as having been ravaged by the tornado that originally transported Dorothy to Oz.

Sexy Stuff

Innocent romance between two of Dorothy's new friends.

Language

Words like "fool" and "knucklehead" are used to disparage others.

Consumerism

Although there are no product placements in the actual film, Legends of Oz has lots of merchandise/tie-ins available.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return is a sweet, if unoriginal, 3D animated musical that boasts a cast of characters who will be familiar to fans of the original Wizard of Oz, as well as many new ones. This time around, Dorothy (voiced by Glee's Lea Michele) returns to Oz to help face a new calamity. Expect some battles that may be scary for younger kids (especially in 3D) -- the flying monkeys are, as always, menacing, as is the central villain, the Jester, who essentially tortures the Scarecrow, the Lion, and the Tin Man. Another character is gravely hurt after a skirmish, and Dorothy's Kansas home is shown as having sustained a lot of damage from the tornado that first took her to Oz. On the up side, there's no swearing (though words like "knucklehead" and "fool" are used), sex, drinking, or other iffy stuff.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMovie Review Maven June 1, 2014

Was Dorothy's return worth the wait?

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 returne... Continue reading
Parent of a 8 year old Written byMLC May 16, 2015

This movie was terrible

This is a terrible adaptation that has far too much violence and romance for younger viewers. The musical numbers are awful. Don't waste your time on this... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byPeacefulMaster May 14, 2014

Ugh....

Not appropriate for 6 year olds. CSM review is extremely inaccurate. 10+ is a good rating. My very mature 6 year old sister was absolutely terrified. She had ni... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old May 20, 2014

Legends of Oz review

I went to this movie hoping for a light comical movie and was very disappointed. I feel that this movie was not well written and seemed lacking in plot develop... Continue reading

What's the story?

Dorothy (voiced by Lea Michele) is back in tornado-struck Kansas, but not for long: Her Oz friends -- the Scarecrow (Dan Aykroyd), the (no longer) Cowardly Lion (James Belushi), and the Tin Man (Kelsey Grammer) -- need her help. The brother of the Wicked Witch, called the Jester (Martin Short), has imprisoned Glinda (Bernadette Peters) and turned her into a marionette, taking the magic broomstick and all its powers with him. Now Dorothy must find her old friends (who have also fallen prey to the Jester's evil plans) with the help of new ones: Wiser the Owl (Oliver Platt), Marshall Mallow (Hugh Dancy), China Princess (Megan Hilty), and Tugg the tugboat (Patrick Stewart). But it's no easy feat: The Jester is formidable, and the flying monkeys are angrier than ever.

Is it any good?

Like the edible wonders of Candy County, LEGENDS OF OZ: DOROTHY RETURNS is sweet, and it means well. But will it achieve the icon status of its legendary predecessor? Not likely. For one thing, the story is a retread of the original, with Dorothy picking up a different motley crew on her way back to the Emerald City. For fans of the original Wizard of Oz, that will either feel like an homage or a decided lack of originality. And the songs aren't nearly as compelling or memorable, aside from a catchy duet sparked by the budding romance between Marshall Mallow and the China Princess. (As an aside, given how sarcastic and superficial she is, it's a puzzling flirtation, though she does ultimately become more pleasant.)

The sidekicks from the original story -- the Lion, the Tin Man, and the Scarecrow -- aren't given much to work with, and we miss them, especially given the talented voice actors who portray them. But at least we get lots of Martin Short, who's fantastic. And the animation, while not up to Pixar standards, bathes the film in nostalgic glow. Keep expectations in check, and you'll enjoy the film for what it is: a harmless return to Oz.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return compares to the original Wizard of Oz. Is it as scary? Scarier? Why? How does the fact that this movie is animated (versus the original's live action) affect the impact of the more frightening scenes/creatures?

  • Dorothy makes new friends on this adventure. Are they similar to or different than the Tin Man, the Scarecrow and the Lion? What are the lessons she learns this time around? Are they different from the original?

  • Should some movies be left alone without a sequel? Or is it fun to see Dorothy's story continue?

Movie details

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