(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from Return to Oz)
Doug (vo): Well, I've talked about this film a ton of times, now I'm gonna talk about it again. Return to Oz. This has started to get a cult following as that film that's scared the shit out of you as a little kid, but we all really liked. And...yeah, that's kind of my memory, too. I don't remember being so scared that I was crying at this film or anything, but, yeah, I do remember it being pretty damn creepy and unsettling. But it was okay, because it drew me back in with such a nice main character and such nice side characters, and a lot of creativity, and...yeah. You know what? I really like this flick, even if it does have a lot of dark, creepy elements. Speaking of which, let's look at the story.
Doug (vo): Dorothy, having returned from Oz, talks all about the world she's been to to Auntie Em, but, of course, everybody doesn't believe her. At first, they think it's childish play, but she just keeps talking about it and they're getting more and more concerned, and then she starts to fall into a deep depression. So they're gonna take her to a doctor to try this new method that apparently is gonna fix her up right away. It's called...shock therapy! Oh, yeah, I can see a lot of good things coming from this. But, one of the nurses...or was it patients? I was never quite sure...saves Dorothy and sends her out in the middle of a storm. Actually, it might have been safer just to leave her there. But, when she wakes up, she's back in the land of Oz. But the Scarecrow's no longer in charge like when she left. Instead, it's taken over by this evil queen with a million heads, and the Gnome King, who soon will have control over all of Oz, and Dorothy is the key. Along the way, she comes across some interesting characters like a robot named Tik Tok, another Scarecrow-ish creation called Jack Pumpkinhead, a talking chicken, and even a flying couch. Yeah, how's that for an out there cast of characters?
Doug (vo): And that's the word to describe this movie, "Out There". There are some strange, creepy creations in this. Like the Wheelers. Oh, my God, when these things first pop up, they'll scare any kid. A lot of the shots and imagery in this film a lot of critics complain are too scary and...yeah, okay, I'm not gonna act like I don't see where they're coming from. But in my opinion, it never goes too far. It never goes bloody, it never goes too gritty, it never goes sexual, it never goes into anything that's ethically bad, it's just...creepy. But, yeah, a lot of kids can handle creepy stuff, and if your kids are frightened by this, yeah, I'll understand. I'm not recommending it for everybody, but, let's be honest, there's a lot of kids out there that like to be afraid. I was one of them, I know plenty of people that were, too. And the fact that this film does have such a following from people that love it not because it's "So bad, it's good", but because it's "So good, it's good".
[The characters are shown]
Doug (vo): There is a charm to these characters and there is a kindness, and Dorothy is very likeable, and Tik Tok is a great character, and Jack is so likeable, and just...I like these characters!
[The world of Oz is shown]
Doug (vo): And I like this world, even if it is kind of in ruins. The whole movie has sort of this surreal dreamlike quality that both ranges from really pleasant nice dreams into horrific nightmares. But I think there's a lot of kids and adults that can relate to that. If it was nothing but hardships all the way through or it didn't have a good nice main character, then it probably wouldn't have worked but, there are some decent moments and there are some nice creative times and there is a lot of kindness from our main cast. And like I said, the creativity is wonderful. There's a lot of stop-motion in this film, and it looks really great. It actually reminds me a lot of the Harryhausen days, it just looks really good. And the rest of the effects are damn impressive, too. There's so many puppets, there's so many giant sets, it's just a great-looking film. I think for me, when I was a kid, I respected films like this, because I felt like they were giving me a chance to feel a little older, they were trying to scare me, they were trying to make me a little tougher. And, I didn't mind that, I wanted something that was gonna challenge me a bit. And for kids, something that's scary but engaging is kind of challenging. How can we like something that we assume is bad for us and gonna scare us but yet we keep watching it? I did a whole editorial about this, and if you wanna hear more about it, go watch that.
Doug (vo): But that's not why I'm here, I'm here to review this movie. And in the end, I think it's a damn good movie. I think it's charming, it has a lot of heart, and, yes, it has a whole lot of scares. But they're creative scares and they're fun scares, and in my opinion, they never go too far. Is it like the last cinematic Wizard of Oz? No, it's something entirely different and is based more on the books, which could get really dark and really grim. But the reason they worked back then is because there was this charm to them, and there's a charm to this movie, too. So I can't help but really enjoy it. If you're curious for yourself, check it out, and get ready to have the childhood bejeezus scared out of you.
[The film's final scene, showing Dorothy and her friends in the newly restored Emerald City, is shown]