I was reading reviews of this movie and wasn't sure if I'd ever seen it when I was a child. I think I may have at least once (on cable?), because some of the scenes sounded familiar to me. I've always liked the MGM Wizard of Oz movie, but I've never read the Oz books, so many of the characters in this movie were unfamiliar to me. I wasn't sure what to expect or what I'd think of it, and I actually liked it more than I thought I would.
It is definitely a sequel to the first film--the title alone says it. Dorothy is returning to Oz, only to find that it is not what she-or the audience of the first movie-remembers. Spoilers ahead, so don't keep reading if you don't want to know some of the story. Only 6 months have passed from when Dorothy returned to Kansas, but a LOT has changed in Oz. The Emerald City is broken and deserted, except for some residents that have turned into statues-including her friends the Lion and the Tin Man, who look different than we remember, but we get the idea so it doesn't really matter. New characters-mostly villains-are brought in. The people at the mental hospital who Dorothy escapes from with the help of someone. The Wheelers, Princess Mombi, and the Nome King are all trying to stop Dorothy from saving the Emerald City. Somehow her chicken from the farm is with her, and can now speak. She meets some new friends too-Tik Tok, Jack Pumpkinhead, Ozma, and the Gump.
I can see how the movie did not do well. People were expecting certain things from the MGM film we all know so well. I don't mind seeing the new characters. I just had to get used to Dorothy looking younger/smaller in the beginning and then I didn't give it another thought. The only thing I would have liked to see included in this one is Glinda. I thought it was her as the prisoner in Mombi's castle-for a brief moment it looks like Glinda's crown and dress. I wonder if the filmmakers did this intentionally so we would think it was Glinda at first. She was a very important part of the first movie, as were the Munchkins, and you can't help wondering while watching this one-what happened to them? It is naturally the first thing you think about when you see Dorothy first discover her old house and the broken yellow brick road. But it doesn't really detract from the movie while you are watching it because there is so much going on to keep you interested. But afterward, you can't help thinking about it again. I have not read the books yet so I don't know how this all plays out in the stories. But given that the first movie is so famous and how important Glinda was as a character, it would have been nice to see her. I'm glad they brought the ruby slippers back for an interesting appearance-and of course the Scarecrow. As others have mentioned, he only has a few lines, and he, Tin Man, and the Lion are not shown very much. I don't mind that they have small roles in this. The movie is very different and it doesn't really matter as long as they ARE there at some point. To omit Glinda is weird. I'll have to watch it again, perhaps I missed a mention of her.
But the movie is good anyway. I liked seeing Fairuza Balk as Dorothy. She starred in a staple of my childhood, The Worst Witch. Both movies fit in with 80s favorites like Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, The Goonies, and Neverending Story. There is also a dvd bonus interview with Fairuza as an adult. I was hoping she'd mention TWW, but she didn't. It's interesting though. There are a few scenes in the film that may scare very young children, it's a bit creepy but I didn't find it to be as bad as some people do.
I watched the movie with my mother who also grew up with the MGM film of course. We both enjoyed this one. One of our favorite scenes-the lunch pail tree. How cute!