Australian Council on Children and the Media

Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return

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Not recommended under 5; parental guidance recommended 5-9 due to violence and scary scenes.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return
  • a review of Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 2 September 2014.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Not recommended due to violent and scary scenes
Children aged 5 to 9 Parental guidance recommended due to violent and scary scenes
Children aged 9 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild fantasy violence and some scary scenes
Length 93 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return is an animated musical  based on the adventure stories of Roger Stanton Caum. The film follows Dorothy (voice of Lea Michele) as she awakens in a post-tornado Kansas, after which she is whisked away to Oz in order to save her old friends: the Lion (Jim Belushi), the Tin Man (Kelsey Grammer), the Scarecrow (Dan Aykroyd) and Glinda the Good Witch (Bernadette Peters). They are joined by several other friends in their fight against the villainous Jester (Martin Short) as they venture through the colourful land of Oz in an effort to restore peace and happiness to Emerald City.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Friendship, love and relationships; good versus evil

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in the film, including:

  • Several characters, joined by a group of toy soldiers, fight flying monkeys with spears, sticks and their fists – no blood is shown, but the sky is darkened and the scene is quite frightening.
  • The straw man removes the metal arm of the tin man, using it as a weapon to throw at a monkey. The tin man’s head is removed also, being utilised as a machine gun that shoots out sticky gumballs that pin down and trap some of the monkeys.
  • When criminals come to Dorothy’s town and inform her that the residents must be evicted for safety reasons, her dog bites one of them on the leg and proceeds to chase the other away.
  • A large hand breaks through a wooden door towards the camera – three monkeys fly through and proceed to tie up Glinda and take her to the evil Jester. The Jester then turns her into a marionette and puts her in a display case where she cannot escape.
  • Dorothy and Wiser are arrested by soldiers for eating candy. A judge initially sentences them to death, but retracts the sentence soon after.
  • The lion, tin man and scarecrow fall off the roof of a castle, and are required to use a large cloth as a parachute. Once kidnapped by evil monkeys and taken to the villainous Jester, they are put into cages that cause specific harm to each of them (e.g. a tank of water that causes rust for the tin man).
  • The lion and tin man get into a physical altercation, during which they shove each other.
  • An ape uses a magic broomstick to shock himself – sparks fly off his body, and his skeleton is visible temporarily as his image flickers due to the shock.
  • The Jester threatens Dorothy, telling her ‘Do as I say, or die!’

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • A large magic-looking cloud appears during a thunder storm. It twists around like a tornado, lifting and carrying away the evil Jester.
  • Dorothy and her dog are chased by a giant magic rainbow. A human hand extends out of the rainbow, grabs the two and carries them into the sky. They are then magically transported to Kansas city as the rainbow twirls around them like a tornado. 
  • A red carpet that is unrolled in front of a castle comes to life, slurping Dorothy up like a giant tongue. She remains unharmed.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • Several of the creatures either sacrifice themselves for the sake of others (e.g. when the old tree allows himself to be used for wood to craft a boat), or are harmed accidentally (e.g. the china princess is broken into many pieces after the boat comes into trouble at sea).

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Most children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this movie.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

Nothing of concern

Sexual references

Nothing of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

nothing of concern

Use of substances

The film contains mild references to substance use, including:

  • In one scene, the film presents sugar as a powerful drug – the Jester forces Dorothy and her owl to read a sign that states ‘eat everything’, and they proceed to eat candy until they pass out, being completely unable to control their desires.

Coarse language

None of concern

In a nutshell

Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s return is an animated musical which is a twist on a classic story that presents the distinction between good and evil. It shows how friendships may enrich the lives of individuals and how families and communities may provide invaluable assistance to one another through hardship. It also highlights the need for passion and determination in fighting for things you strongly believe in.

The film is likely to be too scary for children under five and some slightly older children, especially in the 3D version. Children up to the age of 9 may need parental support with some scenes.

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