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.