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Creepy animation undermines mediocre 'Legends of Oz'

“Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return” features a big-name cast and … well, that’s about it. If there’s a lesson to be taken from this film, it’s that celebrity voice talent is not enough to make a quality animated fe
Josh Terry, Deseret News Modified: May 7, 2014 at 2:45 pm •  Published: May 9, 2014
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“Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return” features a big-name cast and … well, that’s about it.

If there’s a lesson to be taken from this film, it’s that celebrity voice talent is not enough to make a quality animated feature.

As one might assume from the title, Summertime Entertainment's “Legends of Oz” is an animated sequel to the 1939 classic "The Wizard of Oz," bringing Dorothy back to that magical land where she encountered witches, flying monkeys and Munchkins. Since Warner Brothers still retains the rights to the original film (the book it’s based on is in the public domain), here Dorothy wears stylish cowboy boots instead of ruby slippers — and that might be a good thing. Any reminder of those magic slippers will only encourage audience members to tap their heels and make their way for the exits.

Here is why Dorothy (Lea Michele) has to return to Oz: The demise of the Wicked Witch of the West has created a villain vacuum, and The Jester (Martin Short) has stepped into the role of local agitator. He’s using a magic scepter to wreak havoc all over Oz and has also managed to capture Scarecrow (Dan Aykroyd), Tin Man (Kelsey Grammer), Cowardly Lion (Jim Belushi) and Glinda the Good Witch (Bernadette Peters), but not before they are able to send a distress message to their good friend in Kansas.

Things aren’t going well in Kansas, either. Tornadoes have been laying waste to Dorothy’s home town, leaving her family and her neighbors destitute and on the verge of selling their homes off to a conniving speculator (also Martin Short), who somehow manages to drive around in a beat-up 1970s Thunderbird even though everything else suggests that we’re still in Dust Bowl-era Kansas.

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