Return to Oz



     This is the old house! The one the tornado blew away. This is how I got into Oz the first

              time.  That used to be my bedroom, and in there was the kitchen... And that's where

             I landed on the Wicked Witch of the East. But where all the munchkins?


It has been six months after the events of The Wizard of Oz and Journey Back to Oz, and Dorothy Gale (Fairuza Balk) cannot stop thinking about the experience and her friends the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion. One night Dorothy sees a shooting star, and the next morning while checking for eggs from her hen Billina, Dorothy comes across a key that she thinks was sent from Oz on that shooting star. Aunt Em (Piper Laurie) is concerned over Dorothy's inability to sleep since her return, so she sends Dorothy to stay overnight at Dr. Worley (Nicol Williamson)'s clinic in Cottonwood Falls to "cure" her by electro-shock therapy. When waiting in her assigned room that night, Dorothy is visited by a mysterious blonde girl (Emma Ridley) who later helps Dorothy escape from the clinic when she reveals that patients have been driven insane by Worley's treatment. However, they are pursued by Nurse Wilson (Jean Marsh), and the two girls fall into the nearby river; Dorothy manages to climb aboard a chicken coop, but the other girl presumably drowns.

Dorothy awakens to find herself back in Oz with Billina, who now can talk (Denise Bryer). The two venture across the Deadly Desert, and upon entering the nearby forest, discover the yellow brick road destroyed. Dorothy follows it all the way to the ruins of the Emerald City, which has been deprived of all its emeralds. All its civilians, including the Tin Woodman and Cowardly Lion, have also been turned to stone. The Scarecrow, who was King of Oz, is missing. The city is policed with Wheelers, humanoids with wheels instead of hands and feet. Hiding in a secret room accessed by the key obtained at the beginning of the film, Dorothy and Billina meet the Royal Army of Oz, Tik-Tok, a clockwork robotic man. After beating up the Wheelers, Tik-Tok makes one talk and take them to Princess Mombi, who is now the ruler of the city. Mombi, who is a witch and has 31 interchangeable heads, explains that the Nome King was behind the destruction of the Emerald City and the kidnapping of the Scarecrow.

Mombi locks Dorothy and Billina in the attic, where they meet Jack Pumpkinhead, a friendly stick man with a pumpkin for a head. He explains he was brought to life by Mombi's Powder of Life, and this gives Dorothy an idea to escape. Dorothy and Jack restore a wound-down Tik-Tok, who helps Jack build a flying machine using sofas and the head of a Gump, a moose-like animal. Dorothy steals Mombi's Powder of Life to bring the Gump to life, but Mombi catches her in the act. The group escapes on the Gump, who is able to fly. After flying all night, they later crash-land on the mountain of the Nome King. The Nome King explains to Dorothy that the Scarecrow "stole" the emeralds of the Emerald City, and he only reacted accordingly. The Nome King also reveals that he is now in possession of the Ruby Slippers, which allowed him to conquer Oz.

The Nome King takes pity on Dorothy when she cries, and offers her a chance to set things right. One by one, Dorothy and her friends venture into the king's ornament room, to search for an ornament that the Scarecrow has been transformed into. They each have three guesses, but if they fail, they themselves become transformed into ornaments. All fail except Dorothy, whose last guess frees the Scarecrow from his enchantment. Dorothy's friends are restored one by one, when an enraged Nome King attacks. He tries to eat Jack, but Billina, hidden inside Jack's head, lays an egg which falls down the king's throat, killing him (due to the fact eggs are poisonous to Nomes). Reclaiming the Ruby Slippers, Dorothy wishes for all her friends to escape the mountain, and to restore the Emerald City and all its citizens.

The citizens of Oz celebrate Dorothy's triumph and ask her to become the Queen of Oz, but she declines in favor of returning to Kansas. The blonde girl from the clinic, seemingly drowned earlier in the story, then appears in a mirror behind Dorothy. It is revealed that she is Princess Ozma, the rightful ruler of Oz, who was sealed away by Mombi and the Nome King. Ozma ascends the throne of Oz and Dorothy is returned to her world, where she is found by Toto, Uncle Henry and Aunt Em. Aunt Em reveals that Dr. Worley's clinic burned down during the night and he died trying to save his machines. A jail cart travels by, with Nurse Wilson imprisoned inside. The film concludes with Dorothy's new house being finished, and Ozma and Billina appearing in her bedroom mirror, hinting that her adventures in Oz may not be just a dream.



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Directed by Walter Murch
Produced by Paul Maslansky
Written by Gill Dennis
Walter Murch
Starring Fairuza Balk
Nicol Williamson
Jean Marsh
Piper Laurie
Matt Clark
Music by David Shire
Distributed by Buena Vista Distribution
Release date(s) June 21, 1985
Running time 113 min.
Language English
Budget $25,000,000