Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return (2013)

2.5 Overall Score
Story: 2/10
Acting: 5/10
Visuals: 2/10

Good vocal cast, some traditional Oz style themes

Bad story, looks cheap

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Legends of Oz:  Dorothy’s Return

Studio:  Summertime Entertainment

Genre(s):  Animated/Musical/Family

Release Date(s):  June 14, 2013 (Annecy International Animated Film Festival)/ May 9, 2014 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG


It’s no double rainbow…

Dorothy finds that her farm has been heavily damaged in the tornado and that she, Uncle Henry, and Aunt Em might be forced to move.  When she gets a call from help from the Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman, and Cowardly Lion from Oz, she finds herself pulled back to Oz in a rescue mission.  Oz has fallen under the control of an evil jester who has taken the Wicked Witch of the West’s broom to control her power, and Dorothy teams with Wiser (the obese owl), Marshal Mallow (the marshmallow soldier), China Princess, and an old tree named Tugg to free Oz once again.


What do you mean people would rather see a live action Wicked!

Directed by Will Finn and Dan St. Pierre, Legends of Oz:  Dorothy’s Return was a 3D animated film which originally was released in 2013 at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival film festival.  Originally planned as a direct-to-video release, the film received a theatrical release in 2014.  The story takes its basis from the 1989 book Dorothy of Oz by Roger Stanton Baum (Baum’s great grandson).  The movie was a critical and financial failure, and Kelsey Grammer won a Razzie for Worst Supporting Actor for his performance in this film along with The Expendables 3, Transformers:  Age of Extinction, and Think Like a Man Too.


I like to stand next to the owl. It makes me feel good about myself…

When I was little I really liked the Oz books.  Other than The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Marvelous Land of Oz, and Ozma of Oz a majority of these books aren’t even readily available.  The stories were always light and fluffy but populated with fun characters on adventures.  While Legends of Oz:  Dorothy’s Return does have some of this L. Frank Baum style writing, the movie is pretty abysmal.

The movie’s story does have some Oz-esque feel to it.  The basic idea is here with Dorothy collecting a rag-tag band of misfits to fight the evil of the jester and the movie does feature characters somewhat adapted from the stories like China Princess and other characters which are close to characters created for the books…but I really don’t understand why the books weren’t crafted into a better story (or even something dark like Return to Oz).  The movie also tries to pair the story with a story for Dorothy and her family on Earth to feel like the original Wizard of Oz.


We’re more worthless than the team assembled by Dorothy…crap!

The shocking thing about Legends of Oz:  Dorothy’s Return is the number of celebrity voices for the film.  The movie features the voice work of Lea Michele, Dan Aykroyd, Kelsey Grammer, Martin Short, Jim Belushi, Hugh Dancy, Oliver Platt, Patrick Stewart, Bernadette Peters, and Brian Blessed among others.  It is shocking that this much talent is wasted on a film so poorly made (plus Bryan Adams provided music).

The movie looks cheap and it does feel like a straight-to-video movie.  With the polished look of the big budget computer animation, you cant half-ass animation and expect it to be accepted by viewers.  This is what Legends of Oz did and since the story wasn’t strong enough, the audience was unforgiving.

Legends of Oz:  Dorothy’s Return was meant to be a series, but I can’t imagine that any more tales would come out after the disaster that overtook this film.  The makers even faced backlash from the investors over the failure.  Legends of Oz:  Dorothy’s Return is little fun, and I don’t recommend this journey back to Oz.

Related Links:

The Wizard of Oz (1939)

The Wiz (1978)

Return to Oz (1985)


Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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