UNMAGICAL Can the wizard give us those 88 minutes of our life back?
Credit: Weinstein

As unnecessary, uninspired Wizard of Oz revivals go (see also: Oz The Great and Powerful, Return to Oz, the Wicked Witch parts of Once Upon a Time), this 3-D animated off-brand tale isn’t exactly wicked — it’s just a little short on brains. Dorothy (voiced by Lea Michele) is now a cowboy-booted country girl fighting to keep her family’s home in Kansas, and she’s teleported back to Oz by the Scarecrow (Dan Aykroyd), Lion (Jim Belushi), and Tin Man (Kelsey Grammer) to rescue Glinda (Bernadette Peters) from the grips of the evil Jester (Martin Short). On her way to the Emerald City, Dorothy runs into a slew of new Ozzies, including an oversize owl named Wiser (Oliver Platt), the brave and squishy Marshal Mallow (Hugh Dancy), and a snooty China Princess (Megan Hilty), whose royal fortification — a literal great wall of China — is one of the movie’s best throwaway gags.

Based on the book Dorothy of Oz by Roger Stanton Baum (great-grandson of Oz creator L. Frank Baum) and featuring so-so original music by Bryan Adams and co-writer Jim Vallance, Legends should serve its presumed purpose of hypnotizing kids. Its rainbow-hued animation is like a CG Candy Land board come to computerized life. But there’s barely a trace of the magic of 1939’s The Wizard of Oz; the bricks are still yellow, but the road doesn’t lead anywhere special. C

Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return

  • Movie
  • 88 minutes
  • Will Finn