Despite the iconic position held by The Wizard of Oz in film canon, the actual source works of Frank L. Baum have barely been touched by Hollywood. With 14 books to choose from (and that only includes those written by Baum himself), one would think that the Oz series would provide ample material for adventures on the big screen.
The upcoming animated feature Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return seeks to correct this imbalance somewhat, pitching itself as a direct sequel to the original Wizard of Oz. Once known as Dorothy of Oz, the movie takes a similar tack to Oz the Great and Powerful by loosely adapting and remixing elements from later novels in Baum's series. A new, full-length trailer for the film shows off its big name voice cast and quirky sense of humor.
This preview is a distinctly different creature than the movie's first teaser, eschewing mythology for gags and general silliness. Despite being lengthier than its predecessor, this trailer also shows less of Legends of Oz's distinct visual style and implies a rather lighter tone.
These aren't necessarily bad things. After all, the 1985 quasi-sequel Return to Oz is infamous among Millennials for its darker tone and nightmarish imagery – aspects that made it unsuccessful at the time of its release.
Legends of Oz looks to be as middle-of-the-road as children's animated fare can be, incorporating many well-worn modern children's movie tropes. Though it may be perfectly adequate early-summer matinee material, the true question is whether Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return will be able to stand up alongside other entries in the venerable series.
Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return is directed by Will Finn (Home on the Range) and Dan St. Pierre. The movie features an all-star voice cast that includes Lea Michele (Glee), Hugh Dancy (Hannibal), Patrick Stewart (X-Men: Days of Future Past), Kelsey Grammer (The Expendables 3), and Martin Short (Inherent Vice), among others.
Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return will go over the rainbow and into theaters on May 9th, 2014.