Sunday, June 21, 2015

A brief tribute to Return to Oz

30 years ago today, Walt Disney Pictures released an ambitious film titled Return To Oz.

A thrilling fantasy film with a capable lead in child actress Fairuza Balk, creature effects by the Jim Henson Company, Claymation by Will Vinton, and a beautiful musical score by David Shire all under the directorial debut of Walter Murch, the film did not sell well at theaters. Audiences were unfamiliar with a dark take on Oz that actually tried to bring L. Frank Baum's world into the 1980s fantasy film spectrum.

Critics called it scary and dull, but the audiences who gave it a chance on release or on television and home video would have their imaginations stimulated, even with the terrors Dorothy faces in the film.

And in 30 years, Hollywood has not tried such a bold take on Oz again.

1 comment:

Sam A M said...

They say that "Return to Oz" was ahead of its time . . . if that's true, then Disney was still a bit behind.

Even if it had been made "at the right time" (whenever that would have been) with a budget not constantly cut, I doubt it would have been as good as it is.

Still, while I love it, I wonder how much greater/different it would have been without interferences ...