It's Harry's third year at Hogwarts; not only does he have a new "Defense Against the Dark Arts" teacher, but there is also trouble brewing. Convicted murderer Sirius Black has escaped the Wizards' Prison and is coming after Harry.
Upon moving into the run-down Spiderwick Estate with their mother, twin brothers Jared and Simon Grace, along with their sister Mallory, find themselves pulled into an alternate world full of faeries and other creatures.
Lucy and Edmund Pevensie return to Narnia with their cousin Eustace where they meet up with Prince Caspian for a trip across the sea aboard the royal ship The Dawn Treader. Along the way they encounter dragons, dwarves, merfolk, and a band of lost warriors before reaching the edge of the world.
It has been six months since Dorothy has returned home from Oz and she still cannot sleep. She has been going on about imaginary places and people so much that Aunt Em takes her to see a doctor. She promptly escapes from the mental hospital and wakes up in Oz where her pet chicken, Billina, can now talk. There she meets a whole new bunch of friends and they set off to rescue the Scarecrow from the evil Nome King who has found her ruby slippers and used them to lay waste to the Emerald City and take over Oz. Written by
In order to include the ruby slippers as part of this film, Disney had to pay royalties to MGM, the studio which had produced The Wizard of Oz (1939). The ruby slippers did not appear in the original novel "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz"; they were invented for the 1939 film to better take advantage of the newly developed Technicolor process. Interestingly enough, in "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," Dorothy wore a pair of magical silver shoes which were actually destroyed when she used them to return to Kansas. In the subsequent novel "Ozma of Oz," one of the books on which this film is based, Dorothy and her friends meet the Nome King who possesses a magical belt with properties similar to those of the silver shoes. Early drafts of the script for Return to Oz reflect this, with the Nome King possessing a magical ruby belt which had been created from the ruby slippers. See more »
When Mombi wakes up and walks around headless, it is obvious by her stiff jerky movements, and the way she glides rather than walks, that is an animatronic puppet and not Jean Marsh. See more »
We're off to see the Sequel, the wonderful sequel of Oz
Cherubic Dorothy Gale is catapulted back to the magical world of Oz in this enchanting, but very atypical Disney Production that got released 46 years after Victor Fleming's original (none of the original cast-members lived long enough to ever see this sequel!). In the story, however, only six months have passed since Dorothy was brought to Oz by a tornado. During some medical tests, performed because she keeps talking about her unbelievable journey, a mysterious girl helps Dorothy escape from the hospital and back to Oz for a new adventure! The screenplay, based on two L. Frank Baum novels at once, introduces a large amount of imaginative new characters that are either Dorothy's loyal friends or malicious new enemies. It soon becomes clear that she was called back to Oz for a reason, as the evil Nome King has turned everyone to stone and the mad Princess Mombi is after more human heads for her collection. Despite the presence of a talking chicken, this is a frighteningly grim and obscure fantasy tale, perhaps not even suitable for the typical Disney-target groups. The events and characters in "Return to Oz" are often quite macabre (decapitation for a hobby, eerie guys on wheels ) and the tone of the film is heavier since there isn't any singing and dancing going on. Perhaps a little too scary for the smallest children but "Return to Oz" nonetheless is a compelling and spontaneous adventure, highly recommended to those who like their fairy-tales sinister. The special effects are really terrific, with stunning stop-motion animations and some very engaging mechanical machinery (Tic-Tok!). The young Fairuza Balk is an unbelievably convincing follow-up to Judy Garland! The talented Piper Laurie ("Carrie") is regretfully underused, though. This film, along with "The Dark Crystal" and "The Neverending Story", was a huge favorite of mine when I was young and they seemly only got better with years. Good stuff.
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