Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Toto Review - Legends Of Oz - Dorothy's Return

Well, of COURSE Dorothy and I had to go check this movie out. It's got US in it. Do you guys have any idea how weird it is to see a portrayal of you on a giant giant movie screen? It's REALLY strange. This must be what Presidents of countries think when they see pictures of them in every magazine. I dunno.

Anyhow, Legends Of Oz - Dorothy's Return has Dorothy and Toto returning to Oz in what we're told are days after her first adventure. Scarecrow has beamed her and me back to Oz to help them overthrow the evil Jester, who's gotten a hold of the Wicked Witch's Broom and some multi-colored crystal something or other and has turned Glinda and a few other Ozians into puppets.

Dorothy and me go on a convoluted journey, first to Emerald City, then to the Jester's place (Why couldn't we have just gone to the Jester's place first?) and pick up new companions along the way, like Wiser the Owl, General Marshal Mallow and China Princess, to fight the Jester and save Oz.

I loved the production design, Candy Country, China Country, the Emerald City Castle, all of it. There's plenty of fun in the details, from the Great Wall Of China, to the red licorice trim on Marshal Mallow's uniform.

But honestly, there's a lot of things that don't make sense in the story. While Scarecrow busts out a few mental gymnastic plans, Tin Man and Lion don't act especially loving or courageous, which is odd.

Dorothy barely spends any time with her old pals – Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion. And yet we don't get an emotional bond between her and her new pals – Wiser, Marshal Mallow and China Princess (who's pretty hard to like in the first place) to make us want to root for them to succeed.

But what little emotion is in this movie comes from the relationship between Marshal Mallow and China Princess. She's haughty, cold, and a Not Very Nice Word, but Marshal Mallow's gallantry and growing love for her (to the point where he sacrifices parts of himself to put her back together) is quite touching to see.

The movie is bookended by scenes of Kansas, and Dorothy fighting off a callous con man trying to condemn her tornado-wrecked homes and those of her neighbors. But Dorothy already sees him as a fraud before she leaves, and unmasks him when she gets back. She didn't learn any new lessons in Oz that would help her back home, so why have the bookends? Dorothy's not learning any lessons, old or new. So we came out of the movie feeling like we hadn't seen anything new.

I was pleased to see that the onscreen version of me does a few heroic things here and there. But the onscreen Toto prominently sports a tag with the letter “D” on it. But it's never remarked on in the film. What does the “D” stand for? Dog? Why would I wear a tag announcing my species? Is it supposed to stand for “Dorothy?” Dorothy's not my name. If it's supposed to be one of those love token things, Dorothy doesn't wear a necklace with the letter “T” on it for Toto, so it still doesn't make sense.

And the fact that I spent the majority of the movie wondering about that, instead of being enthralled by the story, probably tells you everything.

But I do have to give the movie major major props for not featuring a single cat. So maybe this movie's all right in my book. ;)

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