Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return

  • Review Date: May 9, 2014
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 88 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Kids will like well-intentioned sequel, but it lacks magic.
  • Review Date: May 9, 2014
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 88 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

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

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
Not applicable

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:May 9, 2014
DVD release date:August 26, 2014
Cast:Hugh Dancy, Patrick Stewart, Lea Michele
Directors:Dan St. Pierre, Will Finn
Studio:Clarius Entertainment
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Book characters, Friendship, Misfits and underdogs
Run time:88 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:some scary images and mild peril

This review of Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 11 years old December 31, 2014
AGE
6
QUALITY
 

Sequel to the legendary 1939 movie is much less enjoyable

My little sisters wanted to watch it, but I knew it wouldn't be very good. I was right. We all ended up disappointed with the strange plot, once again senseless singing which is often in most kid's movies and doesn't do anything about the bad situation, and kinda weird animation. They also make Glinda look extremely unrealistically thin which is wrong, and the main antagonist acts like a fake wannabe "villain". They also made Dorothy SO Mary Sue. She's recognized everywhere and even avoided the punishment of the law ALL BECAUSE SHE WAS A HERO! What? It makes no sense! And, Marshall Mallow, an orderly, kind-hearted guard, loved the china princess, who was a disrespectful, unpolite woman. It's impossible and just plain strange! And when the china princess was dead, and her body was shattered, just by singing, singing of all things, Marshall Mallow made her alive again! That's like teaching children their dead family members will live again by singing to their corpses if you think about it! They made the "villain" so weak and helpless at the end, even though villains are actually very strong and get away with lots of things without dying or getting injured severely. Many of the sentences used by all the characters are cliche' or cliche' in my opinion. This movie is seriously not worth it. It's bad compared to the 30's movie, which is actually better than this movie.
Kid, 10 years old September 3, 2014
AGE
9
QUALITY
 

Legends of oz dortheys return

The Best Movie Tip if you start the film Late At 10:00 pm It Will End At 12:05 Am The Next Day
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 12 years old July 11, 2014
AGE
7
QUALITY
 
Passable. Oz The Great And Powerful was better, so was the classic. At least Martin Short as the Jester wasn't bad.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence

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