Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Genre Character of the Week: Dorothy Gale from Return to Oz

Last weekend I saw the new Alice in Wonderland movie and while I had a lot of great things to say about it, in my review I compared it in concept to the film Hook. The thing is, when I think back to movies about people returning to magical lands they visited as kids, my favourite has got to be Return to Oz, and in no small part because of its main character Dorothy Gale.

For those of you who looked at the title of my post, yes, I am specifically talking about the Dorothy from Return to Oz, and not the one from The Wizard of Oz - that movie was fun with lots of singing and dancing, but Dorothy doesn't really do very much in it: she meets a lot of friends, gets knocked out, gets kidnapped, and defeats the wicked witch by dumb luck.

Dorothy in Return to Oz (played wonderfully by Fairuza Balk) however, is full of pluck and bravery, she meets challenges, solves puzzles, takes risks, and in possibly the scariest scene I have ever seen in a Disney movie, walks down a hallway filled with 31 sleeping human heads on display (pictured right) to steal a magical powder from a case containing the original head of Queen Mombi (which is still alive, just sleeping) and ends up accidentally waking them up - seriously, writing about it right now freaks me out a little.

In a lot of ways, I view this movies Dorothy Gale as a predecessor to Neil Gaiman's Coraline, another little girl trapped in a frightening world who decides to do something about it. So to wrap up - Dorothy from Wizard of Oz, great singer. Dorothy from Return to Oz - Genre Character of the Week.

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