Legends-of-Oz-Dorothys-Return-post-6Following on from Sam Raimi’s endeavour into the fantastical world of Oz last spring, we now have another spin-off from the treasured and widely renowned world created by author L. Frank Baum. This time, adapting his grandson Roger S.Baum’s novel, directors Will Finn and Dan St. Pierre bring us Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return, delving into this surreal universe in computer animated form.

Though biding her time in Kansas, Dorothy (Lea Michele) is alerted to the danger ongoing in her beloved Oz, with the dastardly Jester (Martin Short) wreaking havoc in the name of the Wicked Witch of the West, turning innocent civilians into marionettes. Transported back magically with the help of the Scarecrow (Dan Aykroyd), the Tin Man (Kelsey Grammer) and the Cowardly Lion (James Belushi), Dorothy then has a task on her hands to reach the castle, embarking on an adventure across Oz alongside her new friends Marshal Mallow (Hugh Dancy) and Wiser the Owl (Oliver Platt) amongst others, to put an end to this mayhem once and for all.

On first impressions, the somewhat displeasing animation style is off-putting when settling down to watch this production, proving to not be particularly easy on the eye, detracting from what is a relatively entertaining narrative. Meanwhile, the songs are the worst aspect to this film, which is such a shame given the two directors can boast working on the likes of Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King and Aladdin between them. In this instance, every time you think you might just be getting into this story, suddenly an atrocious song is thrown in your direction that sours everything.

The voice cast do a fine job however, with an array of stars attached to the project, which also boasts the likes of Patrick Stewart and Brian Blessed, making for a fun game of spot the celebrity voice, which maintains your attention at the very least. The story itself is also easy to follow and though somewhat conventional, it has its moments and builds towards a grand finale as you’d expect. The leading joke, however, is that the Tin Man has too many emotions, the Lion far too much courage and the Scarecrow is now a mastermind, and though certainly mildly amusing at first, it’s overdone and grows somewhat tired as we progress through the story, as one of many quite contrived nods towards the renowned Wizard of Oz picture. However unlike the aforementioned title, there is a distinct lack of munchkins on this occasion, and the film inevitably suffers as a result.

If anything, however, Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return bears more resemblances to Alice in Wonderland than anything else, in the way this young girl navigates her way around a surreal dreamlike world, meeting various quirky characters along the way. This film is very offbeat and psychedelic in that regard,¬†though regrettably not nearly as accomplished or engaging as the aforementioned production.