Oh my hell. How did I miss out on watching Return to Oz when I was a kid?!? Oh my freaking poop nuggets! I am so speechless, well sort of. When we started watching this flick last night I was instantly in love. This is the best Oz movie, if not one of the most interesting kids movies of the 80’s, and it was freaking made by Disney. How the hell did that happen?
First off Return to Oz was one of the darkest children’s movies I’ve ever seen. Between the opening of the film where Dorthy is set to have electroshock therapy to cure her of her Oz fantasies, to the amazingly dark and well done practical effects of the post Emerald City Oz, this movie never fails to disturb or be interesting. The puppetry for a lot of the main characters was done by the Henson Company, or at least Brian Henson and friends, so the Tick Tok Man, Jack the Pumpkin Man, and the chicken (no Toto on this adventure folks) are astounding. This movie feels like the secret love baby of Time Bandits and Edward Scissorhands with a dash of Hellraiser to boot.
This is the kind of kid’s movie Neil Gaiman would write, and honestly I just can’t believe it exists. If nothing else, it goes a long way to showing how the main actress Fairuza Balk turned out to be the gothed out crazy person she appears to be.
There are so many cool things in the film, from a headless witch who has an entire room of spare heads to choose from, to a reanimated moose head that just want to be dead, to underground rock Gnome kingdoms full of amazing claymation.
Do youself a favor, if you have never seen this film and are a fan of either Tim Burton, Terry Gilliam, or Neil Gaiman, rent this movie. You will not be disapointed.
“She has….A CHICKEN!!!”