Yes, 'The Wizard of Oz' is the Clint Eastwood of Hollywood Golden Age classics.
However, that has not stopped people from playing in the Oz playground, with clever deconstructions like Gregory Maguire's novel 'Wicked' and the amazingly popular Broadway musical it inspired and sequels like Walter Murch's slightly infamous 1985 'Return to Oz,' which traumatized just about every child who saw it. Heck, even Sam Raimi is dancing around a prequel about the titular Wizard himself.
Now, The Hollywood Reporter has debuted the first look at the upcoming CG-animated 'Dorothy of Oz,' an adaptation of a novel by Roger S. Baum, son of original 'Oz' author L. Frank Baum, which takes off right where the original film ended: Dorothy returns from her journey to Oz only find her Kansas home devastated by the tornado that sent her over the rainbow in the first place. Then she finds herself magically transported back to Oz, only to find her friends missing and the land in ruin. Naturally, only her and a new group of companions can save the day.
Before we go any further, can we all agree, even though it is based on 1989 novel, that this sounds uncomfortably similar to Tim Burton's disastrous 'Alice In Wonderland,' which acted as a quasi-sequel to the original story by having an older Alice return to Wonderland on a trite Hero's Journey quest? Because it does. Oh boy, it does.
'Dorothy of Oz' appears to be the first film from Summertime Entertainment. Like many lower budget, animated indie films ('Igor' and 'Happily N'Ever After' come to mind), the production has managed to assemble a pretty crazy cast of names that are recognizable, but not too expensive. You've got Dan Aykroyd, Martin Short, Patrick Stewart, Hugh Dancy, James Belushi and Kelsey Grammar crowding the voice roster, with Broadway star Lea Michele taking on the role of Dorothy. A full cast list and a detailed synopsis can be found over at the film's official site.
What can we expect? Forgettable fluff that's attempting to harvest our warm feelings for the original film? Or will director Dan St. Pierre, a former Disney animator and director of the instantly forgettable children's film 'Everyone's Hero', surprise us and deliver a fun film in the spirit of the original?
Check out the rest of the images over at The Hollywood Reporter.