‘Dorothy’s Return’ first children’s movie of 2014 with female protagonist

Tonight, I took 4 kids to see ‘Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return,’ the first children’s movie of the year (yes, it’s May) to feature a female protagonist. For that reason alone, I recommend ‘Dorothy’ for your kids. There will be a total of 18 children’s movies starring males in 2014, while just 6 will star females. Your kids will get a handful of chances to see a female be front and center. Note that in the poster below, Dorothy is insulated by 8 male characters, making her a Minority Feisty. The china doll on the right is another Minority Feisty. The third MF in the movie is Glinda, who spends most of the movie as a puppet.

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Crowd scenes were male dominated, whether they were soldiers, flying monkeys, judges, police, or trees, females mostly went missing. But, Dorothy is the star of this film. She is heroic, she’s “the one” to save Oz, and she saves her hometown too. All this is a rarity in children’s movies, so I hate to write this, but there’s something almost unbearably bland about Dorothy. I wish she had more personality, was funny or silly, something. I never, not for one minute, lost myself in this movie.

Every time I see a mediocre Oz movie (recall last year’s James Franco vehicle) I pray Hollywood will make a movie about Ozma, the rightful ruler of the land over the rainbow. I’ve adored Ozma since I was a kid, she’s such a great character. Hollywood, are you listening?

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Beggars can’t be choosers. Also, I’m 45, and the kids with me, ages 5 – 10 seemed into ‘Dorothy,’ so Reel Girl rates ‘Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return’ ***HH***

7 thoughts on “‘Dorothy’s Return’ first children’s movie of 2014 with female protagonist

  1. “Hollywood, are you listening?”
    No. No they’re not. Not to you or the other 10,000 blog authors exactly like you who base their opinions on movies on how many female characters they has and nothing else. And thank God for that.

  2. It’s interesting that in almost every adaptation of Oz, the male characters become far more heroic and central to the plot than they are in the books. Even in the beloved Judy Garland version, helpless terrified Dorothy has to be rescued by the Scarecrow, et al, whereas in the book, she destroys the witch all by herself, and then frees the Lion and retrieves the remains of the Tin Man and the Scarecrow. In the James Franco version of course the witches primarily become sex objects competing over the Wizard. “Wicked” is more female-centric, but of course there has to be a love interest for Glinda and Elphaba to compete over; none of the lead females in the Oz books shares power, (or screen time) with a mate. L. Frank Baum, (the husband and son–in-law of suffragettes) was unusual in his determination to write adventure stories with female leads and villains; the gender balance in the Oz books written after his death shifts woefully towards the conventional. I wonder if this is why his Oz books don’t get adapted; Hollywood is simply not comfortable with such girl-centric stories

    • Hi crankylibrarian,

      Great analysis. I got through conflict sometimes over whether I should refer to a female protagonist as a Minority Feisty, and it’s because of repetitive gender splits like this that I sadly conclude yes, Dorothy is an MF in this movie and in the original movie.

      Margot

  3. I’m with you on Ozma; she’s always been a favorite of mine, too! I’d be too worried about them screwing up an Ozma movie, though.

    Now I’m curious if you’ve ever seen the 1985 Return to Oz. It’s one of my favorite movies ever and, while the cast is still dominated by males, Dorothy and Ozma make for great female characters (with Dorothy in the lead, easily, using cleverness and determination to save her friends) and there’s a powerful female villain in Queen Mombi. I’ve been told my my cousins who I used to babysit for that it’s a bit scary for younger kids, but I think that’s why I loved it so much growing up.

    Maybe worth a look if you haven’t seen it already. I find so few people have even heard of it, which is sad-making.

    • Hi L.S. Engler,

      I have not seen this movie but now I will. Thanks for the rec! And yes, I worry about them screwing up Ozma too.

      Margot

  4. What did you think of the film itself, particularly the plot and the music? I wasn’t that encouraged by the animation in the trailer but I do like the actors involved and, like you, I’m willing to give a film with a female protagonist more of a chance.

    • Hi Cat,

      I really thought this movie was awful. It’s weird– right when it started (I cam in about 5 minutes late) I could tell it was bad. Dorothy was in the middle of some bland song and the were showing the scarecrow, lion, tinman, and they, too, all seemed bland, the animation, which is almost always great in these kids movies, didn’t pop. It was flat. Flat and bland.

      Margot

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