Return to Oz

Return to Oz ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Director: Walter Murch. Cast: Fairuza BalkNicol WilliamsonJean Marsh 

This is a lot better than people gave it credit when it was first released. It’s certainly not the musical/sequel that many people were expecting, nor your typical happy-go-lucky Disney fair. I guess back in the 80s people were not quite ready for this story to take such a dark turn and didn’t quite know what to make of it. However since then “RETURN TO OZ” gained quite a cult status and I can see why. Watching it tonight after many years I was impressed not just by how macabre it is and by the many nightmarish images it conjures (the spooky hospital at the beginning, the wheelers, the desert that turns people to sand, the people petrified and of course the hall with those screaming heads which really beats them all), but also by how well it manages to walk that fine line between a fairy tale and the dark side of the original Oz stories.There’s no escape from the fact that the film creates an overwhelming sense of dread throughout (which us possibly why people found it difficult to stomach) and leaves very little space for laughters or even smiles, but somehow that’s also its strength as it makes it all feel very real. Those first scenes in the hospital are so incredibly tense!! The film is also constantly exciting, intriguing, full of ideas and great inventions and it’s mostly very well made too. some of the blue screen is a bit ropey for today standards, but the art direction is still very impressive and so it its cinematography.On the whole this might just be the closest thing to a horror for children, which doesn’t insult the intelligence of an adult too. In fact, there’s a certain pleasure in noticing, as a grown up, all the many little clever details of how things from reality morph and find their place in Oz.Not a masterpiece by all means and probably not even a full 4-stars movie, but way better than a lot of the “family garbage” we get these days and certainly in need of a re-evaluation…

And it’s directed by Walter Murch, the legendary film editor behind films like “Touch of evil”, American Graffiti, Apocalypse Now, Godfather II and the Talented Mr Ripley and so many others!


Agree with this take? Disagree? Let me know if you have a second.

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