Watch the whole thing HERE!
Watch the whole thing HERE!
So says a character in “Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return,” a new family film that adds a chapter to L. Frank Baum’s “Wizard of Oz” series.
Where there are flying monkeys you can bet there’ll also be a Scarecrow (Dan Aykroyd), the Tin Man (Kelsey Grammer) and a Lion (as played by James Belushi he’s no longer cowardly and now suggests tearing his enemies “limb from limb.”) and, of course, witch killer Dorothy (Lea Michele) and her little dog Toto. All make appearances but this time around they’re up against a different foe—an evil Jester (Martin Short).
The movie begins several Oz years after Dorothy vanquished the Wicked Witch of the West. In her time, however, only hours have passed. When she wakes in her bed in Kansas the tornado from the original story has just laid waste to her town, but before you can say “Well, howdy, Miss Gulch,” the young girl is sucked up by a giant rainbow and transported to the world of Oz. “You guys,” she says, “dragging me into a giant rainbow really scared me!”
Trouble is, things aren’t so wonderful in Oz. The Emerald City is in turmoil at the hands of a power hungry Jester who is turning the citizenry into marionettes. Dorothy, with the help of new friends Wiser the Owl (Oliver Platt), Marshal Mallow (Hugh Dancy), China Princess (Megan Hilty) and Tugg the Tugboat (Patrick Stewart) must stop the Jester and rescue Scarecrow, the Tin Man and Lion before they are turned into puppets.
There are some good messages for kids in “The Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return” about working together—as heard in the clumsily rhymed “out it all together until the job is done, it should be easy, it should be fun”—and the importance of friendship. It’s just too bad they are wrapped up in a film so saccharine it would give the Wicked Witch of the West a sugar rush.
The flying monkeys are still kinda scary but the rest of the movie practically redefines the term “family friendly,” and not in all the best ways. It plays it safe to a fault throughout, smoothing over any edge until there is not much left but some poppy tunes (by Bryan Adams among others) and a story that relies on the goodwill of characters created several generations ago.
“The Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return” won’t give Pixar a run for their money and might be best saved for a rainy day rental.
In a summer jam packed with remakes, reboots and retro 80s nostalgia, along comes “Glee: The 3D Concert Movie,” and exercise in instant nostalgia. “Remember when we could sit around and watch “Glee” on TV every Tuesday night… Wait! We can do that now!”
“Glee: The 3D Concert Movie ” literally sings to the choir. If there ever was a movie made for fans, this is it. A concert film, with real life fan testimonials tucked in between the pop songs and show tunes, the music loses most of its context when there isn’t a storyline to play off of. What’s left is essentially karaoke with some nifty dance moves thrown in.
First the music. Highlights include Lea Michele warbling through a Barbara Streisand tune, and a dirge like “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” sung with great charm by Chris Colfer but when Mark Salling sings “Fat Bottom Girls” it doesn’t sound so much like a Queen classic as it does the death of rock and roll. Ditto a truly odious version of “Safety Dance” that recreates a pivotal moment from Glee’s first season. Finally, when the entire ensemble sings “Don’t Stop Believin’” I really hoped that, like the season finale of The Sopranos, the screen would fade to black and someone would whack all the performers.
Better are the interstitials, the “Glee” testimonials provided by hardcore fans of the show. A host of real life Gleeks begin their stories with lines like, “Glee changed my life,” and, by inviting us into their lives tell us how the show has helped them through hardships. It’s all a bit Oprah, but the stories–told by a young gay man forcibly outed in grade eight, a woman with Asperger syndrome and a little person–have resonance.
I get the appeal of the show–a group of outsiders who sing inspirational song—but as they say in the movie, everyone can see themselves in the cast of “Glee,” but unless you are a fan already, I don’t think you need to see this movie.