If you are a fan of “The Wizard of Oz” film from 1939 this movie is a very colorful follow-up. Made in 1985, this movie is not a musical and is drastically different in its tone and mood. It’s a darker and almost nightmarish movie at times. Brought to us by Disney, this movie gives us more content from the L. Frank Baum novels.
Dorothy Gale, played by Fairuza Balk, is living in Kansas after her first adventure to Oz. Her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry think she is crazy so they put her in a nuthouse and she is about to get electroshock therapy when a storm blows her and her pet chicken, Billina, into Oz. In Oz Billina can talk. Together they find the yellow-brick road in ruins and the Lion, Tin Man, and citizens of the Emerald City turned to stone. Dorothy must face the evil head-swapping witch Mombi, and the Nome King to save her friends and return home.
The acting is so-so. Fairuza Balk is a young girl so you can excuse some of it. However, she does a good job with the act of the melancholy she brings at the beginning of the movie. Most of the characters that are villains are memorable because of the effects that enhance them.
The effects are pretty cool. The stop motion on the Nome King is amazing to watch. The creepy heads of Mombi are very memorable and the wheelers that roam the road and fall into the deadly desert will be certain to give your children nightmares. The fact is this movie is very memorable and is like the more mature follow up to 1939 film.
All in all I think if you liked “The Wizard of Oz” you’ll like this. It’s dark and it’s depressing but it’s also creative and lovely as well. It’s more mature and certainly if you are into stories that are a bit creepy and a bit magical like “The NeverEnding Story.” You will most likely enjoy this movie.