Monday, January 18, 2010

Movie Review #3: Return to Oz (1985)

*I'm so sorry that this post is a bit late, I've been a bit ill and adjusting back to school. Enjoy the post!!

Do you remember your first visit to the magical world of Oz? My mom bought the first ever VHS copy of the 1939 classic for me when I was only 3. From that moment on, I remember sitting on my carpet and being completely in love with the Emerald City. I would forever continue to return to that world time and time again. But, when I was 7, having a sleepover with my best friend at the time, she pulled out an odd looking tape titled "Return to Oz". Not knowing what exactly lay ahead of me, I exclaimed my interest in seeing this new chapter of Dorothy's adventures on screen. What I came to find was something completely different, something that original frightened me so much, that I never wanted to see the film again. So, when it came time to come up with ideas of movies to review (that also went with the theme) this film, though originally hesitant, seemed like the perfect choice.
But why review this movie? Why go back to something that wasn't exactly positive when I have my own liberal free choice to review something different? Well, I felt it wrong not to go ahead with this review. Why? Purely because Dorothy is the American lolita icon. The UK has Alice, Japan obviously has lolita itself and it's many famous celebrities, as well as other countries having their own Lolita related characters of fame. In America though, Dorothy is our frilly lady. From the mind of L.Frank Baulm, this young country girl from Kansas has entered into the pop culture mind set all over the world. She embodies innocence in it's purest gingham dressed form, and continues to inspire anyone that comes near her stories. With that in mind, I now bring you today's review of..... Disney's Return to Oz starring Fairuza Balik.
Now, due to the lengthy and sometimes confusing plot of this movie, I'm not gonna go into the details, but just the important things to know. So we begin our story with seeing Dorothy in her bed. 6 months have past since her trip to Oz, and all she can do is think about the marvelous world. Her Aunt and Uncle (looking a bit too young for my taste) begin to panic, and consider doing electro shock therapy on Dorothy to make her go back to normal. As her mind reaches to go back to the Emerald City, Dorothy returns to her once yellow brick road to find it turned into a mess. Oz is completely disembodied, and her friends (Lion and Tin Man) are turned to stone while The Scarecrow, the king of Oz, has been kidnapped. It's now up to Ms.Gale to rescue her friends and Oz from it's current state.
On her way, Dorothy meets new friends. Instead of her usual Toto, Dorothy's new sidekick is a talking chicken named Bellina. She also meets Jack Pumpkinhead (who I can't help but think of a Mr.Skellington when I hear his name), Tik Tok, and Gump (a talking head of a moose). Aside from them, the most interesting character would be one of the villains, The Nome King. Though he visually is very frightening, he is still very compelling, and more interesting then the original Wizard himself.
Though there are a lot of reasons to prove that this movie is beyond creepy, the most obvious sequence is when Dorothy goes to retrieve the magical powder (that will make Gump come to life) and is in a way "attacked" (but more mentally then physically, which also goes for the audience) by a hall of disembodied heads and a headless body. The scene can be watched here.

But why with all it's scary images and story, would be people continue to return to this version of Oz? Because, though the 1939 version is the most well known and loved, this is by far the most realistic and faithful film adaptation of the Oz stories. I don't think Frank L.Baulm was thinking of a happy go lucky musical when he wrote the story. The Oz stories weren't meant to be something that was completely devoid of the realities of life. It was meant to help children grow up in a more creative way, even if that way involved life's most intimate fears. Though others may believe otherwise, if you can to see the true vision of Oz, I recommend this.

So what kind of frilly lady would enjoy this? I recommend it more for either Sweet lolitas (with a bit of a more twisted taste) or gothic lolitas. It has the sort of sarcastic and meek undertone that works well in some prints and ideals, sort of like a Atelier Pierrot design or a more toned down Alice and the Pirates creation.

Overall I give the movie 3 headbows (3). Visually it's great to watch, but I wouldn't recommend it for the weak of heart. Thanks for reading this weeks post, and sorry for the delay. Next week will be the last 80's fantasy review, and here's a preview to keep you interested.

1 comment:

  1. I love Return to Oz. The scariest thing to me were the Wheelers though. My god I had nightmares about those things.