Return to Oz

Year: 1985
Director: Walter Murch

Summary: Dorothy, saved from a psychiatric experiment by a mysterious girl, is somehow called back to Oz when a vain witch and the Nome King destroy everything that makes the magical land beautiful.

Times Watched: Several times in childhood, once as an adult

My Experience: Probably the first movie to give me nightmares, Return to Oz was one of a handful a movies I watched relentlessly as a kid. The Wheelers creeped me out, as did Princess Mombi when she uh, changed herself. And I remember thinking green things were awesome. I didn’t mind at all that the movie was darker and sort of wished I could retroactively make The Wizard of Oz even creepier. Not that Return to Oz is better. Far, far from it. But I loved the atmosphere.

As an adult, I didn’t enjoy myself much beyond the nostalgia. Mombi’s special effects hold up, but the rest is mostly hokey. It was the only movie by Walter Murch, whose primary job is a sound editor. The cinematography isn’t terrible, but he doesn’t exactly extract top notch performances.


One thought on “Return to Oz”

  1. My review would be strikingly similar. I loved the dark atmosphere, but certainly wish the script was better. My ideal Oz movie would essentially be the original, but darker. Or maybe just the original, because really, one can’t complain much about a 76-year-old movie that still holds the attention of children.

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