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"Legends of Oz": Not legendary at all

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Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return

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Just when you thought it was safe to go back into a sequel, "Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return" shows us that some things are best left alone. Based on a novel by Roger S. Baum (L. Frank Baum's great-grandson), "Legends of Oz" features an all-star cast and D-list animation and music.

Dorothy (Lea Michele) is back in Oz and this time she means business. Actually, she's abducted via a rainbow transportation beam by her friends the familiar Lion (James Belushi), Tin Man (Kelsey Grammer), and Scarecrow (Dan Aykroyd). Although only a few minutes in earth time has passed since Dorothy's witch killing visit, years have passed on Oz. We see the trio fighting for their lives against the Jester, a bit of a Joker clone who was the wicked witch's kid brother. He's got an ax to grind and the Witch's broomstick converted to a scepter to terrorize all of Oz. That's where Dorothy comes in.

Upon her arrival to Oz, Dorothy sees how things have changed. People live in fear of the Jester and although it's hard to gain allies to face him, she eventually does. Her crew consists of an overweight owl named Wiser (Oliver Pratt), the conceited princess of China County (Megan Hilty), her would be love, Marshal Mallow (Hugh Dancy). Yes, he's a soldier made of marshmallow, but there are worse things in life. Finally, there's Patrick Stewart as Tugg, an elderly talking tree who volunteers to make a difference in his fading years. As he says, he "doesn't have many rings left."

The voice cast is great. It's unfortunate that you only see the trio of the Lion, Scarecrow, and tin Man together only at the opening and closing minutes of the film. Their bromance was the most entertaining interaction of any of the characters. Martin Short's over the top Jester is also a treat as he goes from the slapstick to the psycho as if to stick his nose at MPAA ratings. Of course, it's mostly downhill from there. The CG animation looks creepy, especially on the humans in the film (Dorothy and her parents). It's not quite "Mars Needs Moms," but it still looks unnerving. Although, there's a cute romance between Marshal Mallow and the Princess, it's one of the film's few bright spots. The songs are forgettable, which will be a disappointment to fans of Lea Michele....or just fans of music.

Little kids may like "Legends of Oz," but it's best to wait until it comes out on video. "Legends of Oz" is not a trip that you'd want to spend retail on.

"Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return" - MPAA Rated: PG for violence. Running time: 92 minutes. In theaters nationwide.

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