Lion of Oz

Movie review by
Barbara Schultz, Common Sense Media
Lion of Oz Movie Poster Image
Oz prequel has sweet message, cloying songs.
  • NR
  • 2000
  • 74 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

The Wizard of Oz is a classic touchstone in the worlds of film and literature, and kids will learn that there was more to the series than the familiar 1939 movie.

Positive Messages

True friends are never lost.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The lion lacks self-confidence, but he is a devoted friend. Wimsik is caring and wise and has faith in others' goodness.

Violence & Scariness

The lion and his friend Oscar are caught in a lightning storm, and the lion falls (safely) out of a hot air balloon and into Oz. In Oz, the Wicked Witch of the East and a menacing mist creature called Gloom threaten to capture the lion's friends and create dangerous obstacles for them along the way, such as taking away a bridge that would get the friends past a waterfall. There are a couple of suspenseful situations wherein a character has to be rescued from a river or from a magic spell.

Sexy Stuff
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Lion of Oz is an animated prequel to the familiar book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which inspired the beloved film The Wizard of Oz. This movie is based on a novel by Roger S. Baum, grandson of L. Frank Baum, who wrote the original Oz series. This adventure explains how the Cowardly Lion got to Oz (though he is simply called Lion here). Although this movie doesn't include enough music for it to be considered a musical, the characters sing a few times. The only concern for parents here is cartoon scariness, as the villainous Wicked Witch of the East, her flying monkeys, and her partner in crime -- a skull-faced mist creature called Gloom -- threaten Lion and the friends who're trying to help him. However, any child who's comfortable with the level of scariness in the 1939 classic film can handle Lion of Oz.

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What's the story?

LION OF OZ is an animated prequel to the familiar book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which inspired the classic film The Wizard of Oz. When the movie begins, the central character, Lion, is the main attraction in the Omaha Magnificent Circus. Most people fear the lion, but Oscar, the man who takes visitors on hot air balloon rides, is friendly to Lion, and one night, he lets Lion out of his cage and takes him up in the balloon. A storm hits; Oscar loses control of the balloon, and Lion falls out and lands in Oz. As with Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, Lion meets an evil witch, as well as friends -- in the form of the caring and optimistic girl Wimsik and her talking toys -- who journey with him to find the powerful Flower of Oz, which holds the key to protecting Lion's friends, old and new.

Is it any good?

The animated film Lion of Oz follows the Wizard of Oz formula, and young Oz lovers will enjoy the magical characters and familiar elements. The movie's emphasis on friendship, courage, and believing in what's possible are nice and very positive, and the story is sure to please its intended audience. However, adults will find the character of Wimsik overly sweet, and the music is strictly B-list. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about courage. How does Lion show he is brave? Does he need his badge of courage?

  • Have you seen other Oz movies? Which is your favorite?

  • If you like the Oz movies, read the original series of books by L. Frank Baum.

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love classic tales

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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