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Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!
This past weekend, Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return, a follow-up of sorts to the L. Frank Baum’s classic tale, was released and bombed. It bombed hard by earning a paltry 3.8 million dollars (with a $70 million budget). Not helping matters were the horrible reviews this film earned (15% on Rotten Tomatoes – how does this happen?). While it was likely never going to make Avengers money, it did have a solid cast consisting of Dan Aykroyd, Kelsey Grammer, Martin Short, Patrick Stewart, and Lea Michele and an always-popular property. What exactly went wrong here?
It is simple: the computer animation looked incredibly cheap. Seriously – look at it! It looks like something that would have been mediocre on video game consoles ten years ago. It doesn’t look fully rendered and there is a shockingly lack of details. While having a simplistic animation style is okay, when we live in a world of Pixar and Dreamworks, any sort of independent company (without major studio backing) needs to push out a good-looking product in order to compete or get people interested. The film, as is, looks like it was meant to be one of those cheap direct-to-DVD cartoons meant to cash in on some other popular, wide-release film.
Not helping matters at all was that the marketing didn’t sell the movie at all. From trailers, the film just looked boring and uninspired, and the humor seemed flat. In short, animation aside, the movie just didn’t look all that enticing to make audiences (mostly children) want to see it. I’m also sure that releasing Legends of Oz the weekend after The Amazing Spider-Man 2 didn’t do it any favors either.
I also wonder if there were any production problems hindering the film (not unlike Foodfight). I first remember reading about this movie back in 2010 when it was originally titled Dorothy of Oz (I’m a fan of The Wizard of Oz, so any new Oz news usually makes a blip on my radar). I remember thinking the film’s story (something about a Jester taking control of Oz after the events of the first novel) seemed a bit misguided.
I would see the occasional update every so often until a few weeks ago, and I was surprised every time that the film wasn’t out yet. I wasn’t anticipating the movie, but it seemed like the film was in production for forever. A few weeks back, I started to notice the marketing promotions, and I couldn’t help but think that this movie already came out. It didn’t. Apparently, it was originally slated for 2012, but for current reasons unknown, it was delayed two years. Not a good sign.
What did they do with that extended two years? Nothing from the marketing suggests a higher quality of computer animation. The story doesn’t seem all that engaging suggesting that re-writes were non-existent (or were just that bad). What was done with that time? Were the producers looking for a distribution deal?
So, this movie bombed and it is going to be forgotten about soon enough. It is probably for the best.