Close your eyes, click your heels, and return to the cult classic!
Return to Oz is a film by Walt Disney Pictures from 1985. It was produced by Paul Maslansky, and directed by Walter Murch from a screenplay by Murch and Gill Dennis. Star Wars veteran Gary Kurtz was executive producer.
It is based loosely on Baum's second and third novel of the Oz series of the fourteen books Ozma of Oz and The Marvelous Land of Oz. The film was thought by many to be a sequel to the classic 1939 film, to which it bears little resemblence other than having the more popular Ruby Slippers appear in the story instead of the original Silver Shoes in the books. During it's release in 1985 it was considered a controversial flop, labeled as "too scary and intense for children". After the picture was shown at Radio City Musical, the majority of main stream media sadly forgot about it, "Putting out of their heads". Except for those to whom the film spoke too. Despite it's box office failure, Return to Oz has grown a huge fan base over the decades, has received praise for it's faithfulness to Baum's original work and has become a true and official cult classic with fans all across the world, from America to Japan.
"In a famous story known as THE WIZARD OF OZ, a little girl from Kansas named Dorothy Gale and her dog Toto, had many wonderful adventures with three unforgettable friends, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion in the land of Oz. In this story, Dorothy returns to that magical place with Billina the sassy wise cracking Hen and meets many other new friends. Together they are up against new evil villains who demolished the yellow brick road and the Emerald City, kidnapped the Scarecrow, stole the Ruby Slippers and want to destroy Oz! It's up to Dorothy and her new gang of companions to save Oz's fate from a villianess Princess, and an evil rock King and unveil a long lost secret to the Heir of Oz's throne." -Return to Oz Synopsis
Return to Oz-Detailed Summary
It has been six long months since the tornado hit the Kansas prairie and carried the farm house away, and a depressed and broken down Uncle Henry is trying to build a new one. The Gale farm is in ruins and in a state of poverty and despair. Billina, the yellow hen, isn't laying eggs for Aunt Em (Piper Laurie) to cook to feed the family anymore. The farm is in mortgage with winter coming in soon. Dorothy (Fairuza Balk) has become melancholy, suffers from insomnia, hasn't slept, or played with her pet dog, Toto, since her return from the magical Land of Oz. And no one believes her stories about her amazing adventures. One day, she finds a key in the barn that has "Oz" engraved in it after seeing a magic shooting star the previous night. She is convinced it is from Oz and that her old friends there may all be sending her a sign that they are in trouble. Concerned for Dorothy's mental state, a worried Aunt Em takes her to a hospital and seeks the help of a psychiatrist so she can sleep again. Dr. Worley, (Nicole Williamson) after listening to her story about Oz, decides to use an electroshock therapy machine on her to cure her of all her Oz delusions. Aunt Em kisses her niece goodbye and tells the girl that she will back for her the next day, when Dr. Worley is done treating her as his patient. And she even promises to bring Toto along when she comes back. The head nurse, nurse Wilson, (Jean Marsh) a stern face woman dressed in all black takes Dorothy to an empty dark waiting room after Aunt Em leaves to return to the farm to Uncle Henry before nightfall.
There she meets a mysterious and pretty young girl (Emma Ridley) around her age, who happened to come out of nowhere. The girl is dressed in an old fashioned hospital gown of all white with ruddy blonde hair. She ask Dorothy why she was brought to the hospital and gives her a little pumpkin with a carved face as Halloween is right around the corner. Screaming and yelling can faintly be heard in the back ground somewhere in the hospital. The strange girl disappears and Dorothy is left all alone in solitude. Hours later nurse Wilson finally fetches her, she ties her to a stretcher and she is rolled away to a room where the electroshock machine is held. Just as Dr. Worley is about to use it on her, a terrible thunderstorm hits which causes the power to go out. Dr. Worley and nurse Wilson leave to check the generator. Dorothy is left all alone in the dark again, and the screaming and cries in the distance can be heard more clearly now. Shortly after the other girl Dorothy met earlier mysteriously arrives to help her quickly escape, revealing that the screaming she heard earlier wasn't just her imagination but real. Dr. Worley's machine has mentally damaged and has driven most of his patients mad and insane. The girl also says that Worley, along with the help of nurse Wilson has locked them all away in a cellar to keep people from knowing the truth and finding him and nurse Wilson out of their crimes. However, when the girls leave out of the room, and rush towards the exit, they are seen and caught red handed by nurse Wilson who glares at them and becomes infuriated. She pursues to chase after the girls, along with other staff.
The two girls run in fear for their lives and flee the hospital grounds, out into the night storm as lightning strikes and thunder fills the sky. The girls accidentally slip down a muddy landslide and fall into a raging river nearby. They try to hold on to a large brantch but it breaks off and the two girls are pulled into the tide of the river further and further away. Nurse Wilson jumps into the water to try and grab one of the girls but is unsuccessful. The mystery girl seemingly drowns as she is pulled underwater, while Dorothy luckily finds an old wooden chicken coop, large enough to fit inside like a playpen which was floating nearby. She grabs ahold of it, climbs safely inside, and falls fast asleep as the coop floats off into the abyss carried by the strong current and into the unknown.
The next day, Dorothy wakes up nice and dry to see Billina from the farm in Kansas at her side within the coop. Strange enough, Billina can magically talk, and Dorothy realizes that she must be in a fairy land, possibly even Oz. They notice that they are not in Kansas anymore, and surrounded by nothing but sand and rocks. Dorothy also takes caution and remembers that if she is back in Oz, it's four corners are surrounded by a great and vast deadly desert that separates Oz from the real world. Anything living that touches it dies, and instantly turns to grains of sand. Dorothy climbs out of the old coop, balances on rocky stones on the ground so she doesn't touch the sands. And hops to the land nearby. The land awating them is a grassy green meadow filled with rich trees and little flowers. They finally make it safely on the shore of the meadow and go exploring, and see if Dorothy can find any of her old friends to reunite with, specifically the Scarecrow who is the King of Oz.
The Nome Messenger who is a look out to spy on Oz, sees that everything is going according to plan as Dorothy has returned to Oz after all this time. He immediately informs his majesty the Nome King, the King of the Nomes who rules in a foreign realm that neighbors the Land of Oz across the desert. He is glad to hear Dorothy has returned but also enraged to find out that Dorothy has a pet chicken with her. After a tasty meal from a lunch pail tree, Dorothy and Billina reach Munchkinland, only to find it completely deserted, desolate and very gloomy, surrounded by a thick dark forest instead of the lovely colorful place she remembers. They eventually find her old farm house that landed on the Wicked Witch of the East, and discover that the Yellow Brick Road has been destroyed. The bricks have been pulled out of the ground and lay jumbled up and broken. Dorothy follows it running as fast as she can with Billina running behind her in a panic. Hours later, the two finally arrive to the Emerald City to find that it has had all of its precious emeralds stolen and is in apocalyptic state of decay by the catastrophe. Everyone of its citizens has been turned to stone, including the Tin Woodman and Cowardly Lion. And the dancing slave girls of the city have lost their heads. Dorothy and Billina are suddenly attacked by the Wheelers, a gang of scary looking, creepy, and psychotic creatures with wheels instead of hands and feet. They viciously terrorize and bully Dorothy and she runs as they chase after her. They run down a dark allyway only to reach a dead end with a locked door. Billina reminds Dorothy about the key she found at home, so she can get inside before the Wheelers catch them. Safe inside the tiny dark room, the two find a mechanical man of copper named Tik-Tok who is the royal army of Oz and runs on clockwork. She winds up his thinking, speech, and action. And he explains to her that the King Scarecrow placed him there before he disappeared and told Tik-Tok to wait for Dorothy Gale. To thank Dorothy for winding him tightly back up, he promises to be her obedient servent as long she keeps his clockwork going. So she, Billina, and Tik-Tok then leave the allyway and go back onto the city grounds. Tik-Tok defeats the gang of Wheelers in a battle. He captures the lead Wheeler, who tells them that the Nome King conquered Oz, stole all of the city's beautiful emeralds after a war, and turned everyone to frozen stone. And that Princess Mombi is the only one left in Oz who might know the whereabouts of the King Scarecrow. The lead Wheeler leads them to Mombi's tall tower in the middle of the city, the tower is also the only standing building of the entire city. Obeying Dorothy's comands, Tik-Tok releases him, he and Dorothy enter the tower after knocking on the giant door with no response other than their own echoes. Once Inside they meet Princess Mombi who apparently lives alone in isolation. She is found sitting on her royal throne playing angelic music to entertain herself and past the time. Her palace is vast and magnificent in size and struture. The design is breathtaking. All made of solid gold with hanging crystal chandeliers that lite the entire room up with a glow. The walls, floor and ceiling are made out of spotless mirrors at every angle, so the Vain Mombi can always have her reflection to look at and admire herself all day long. Mombi is lovely indeed as she sits on a gold and red velvet chair dressed in a elegant ball gown. Yet she is lazy, with a terrible temper and keeps 30 changeable, young and beautiful heads in her private bed chambers, so she can change her appearance to match her mood and look whenever she pleases, having gotten and stolen them all from the dancing slave girls of the city. Dorothy kindly ask her what happened in Oz and all of it's people. Mombi takes Dorothy by the hand and tells Tik -Tok and Billina to stay and wait outside of her rooms. Dorothy is taken down a long hallway of locked golden cabinets, each constructed of solid gold and glass with a head of an attractive girl inside. Mombi switches her head and picks head number four, which has dark wavy hair in an updo and porcelain skin. Mombi then explains to Dorothy that the Nome King conquered the Emerald city. Then he collected all of his emeralds back, kidnapped the King Scarecrow, and took him to his Nome mountain before turning every living thing in Oz to cold hard stone. Mombi, looking at Dorothy strangly, then pursues her and says that Dorothy isn't beautiful but has a unique look, different from her other heads and has a "certain prettiness". She tells her that she will proceed to lock the girl away for a few years until her head is fully grown and ready, then take it to add to her own collection. Dorothy objects and cries out for Billina and Tik-Tok to help. They try to stop Mombi, but Tik Tok freezes as his action winds down at the last second stopping him dead in his tracks. Mombi laughs at them cruelly and she takes Dorothy and Billina up a long staircase in a passageway, opened by a secret trapped door. Mombi locks Dorothy and Billina in the tower at the highest room filled with old antique decor and dusty furniture covered in cobwebs. Now virtual prisoners, they meet the sweet and gentle Jack Pumpkinhead, who also was locked away and eventually forgotten about. He is made of tree branches and sticks to form the figure of a man. He is dressed in mixed-match clothing who has a giant pumpkin for a head. He says that his "Mom" built him to scare the awful Mombi before she vanished. Jack says Mombi then decided to use her Powder of Life on him, which she got from some Magician. This gives Dorothy an idea for how to escape. When Mombi falls asleep later that night and all is silent, Jack unlocks the tower's door and he and Dorothy sneak down to also winds up Tik-Tok's action. TiK-Tok and Jack return to the top of the tower, and with Billina they begin to build a flying machine using two old sofa's pushed and tied together, palm tree leaves for wings, and a Gump's head. Dorothy tip toes into Mombi's bed chamber as Mombi and her heads are getting beauty sleep. Dorothy carefully unties the black silk ribbon on Mombi's ruby key that she wears around her wrist, even when she is asleep and Dorothy unlocks Cabinet 31, in Mombi's hall of collections. There her original head and Powder of Life are, surrounded by other magic potions and Voodoo dolls. While reaching for the powder, Dorothy accidentally knocks something over, waking up Mombi who begans screaming; "DOROTHY GALE!!! This wakes up all of the other sleeping heads of Mombii's collection and they began screaming also. Mombi tries to bite her hand when Dorothy grabs the container that holds the powder of life. But Dorothy slams the cabinet door in her face. Mombi's headless body awakes from It's sleep also and begans to reach out for Dorothy to stop her. Dorothy quickly dodges the headless wondering body and runs off and returns to the top of the tower. Tik-Tok's thinking has wound down, causing him to go bonkers and rant complete nonsense as he speaks jibberish bouncing around the room, slowing down the process. After Dorothy winds him up again, she says the magic words and uses the powder to bring the Gump head to life. They all escape moments after an angry Mombi, with her original head, enters the room. Dorohy and the gang fly over the ruins of the Emerald city and towards the direction that Nome King dwells which was straight ahead.
Mombi makes it outside of her tower at the very bottom to awaken the Wheelers who are sleeping on the stairs and front porch infront of the entrace door. Mombi yells and violently kicks them all to wake up fast. She demands them all to chase after the flying machine, she sends the Wheelers off after she points up above at Dorothy and her companions as they fly across the moon into the night sky. The wheelers do as they are told, but when the Gump flies over the shores of the land and above the Deadly Desert, right out of Oz, leaving it far behind, five of the Wheelers lose control of their wheels and fall into the sand instantly killing them. The seven remaining ones return to Mombi's tower within the city empty handed. The next day, the Gump begins to fall apart, as the rope holding the sofas together began to snap and fall apart, resulting in him, Dorothy, Tik-Tok, Jack, and Billina crashing down, falling from the sky onto the Nome King's mountain. Jack's head falls off in the process, and Billina hides in it before it is reattached. The Gump's head is tide back to the sofa for the Gump can walk. The Nome King appears before them on the high cliff of rock wall and after Dorothy tell him she and her army sre there to conquer the Nome King, he causes an earthquake and makes the ground split apart and break, causing Dorothy and her friends to all falll into his underground royal throne room of rocks and treasures.
The Nome king explains the situation from his point of veiw as Dorothy falls deeper and deeper down, like Alice down the Rabbit hole, into the earth, passing dazzling jewels and other rare gems made for the King by his Nomes. Once Dorothy finally reaches the very bottom she is briefly reunited with King Scarecrow, but for only less than a mere second before Scarecrow is transformed within the blink of an eye into a nic nac ornament and teleported away by the Nome King to add to his decorated collection room. The Nome King tells Dorothy that the King Scarecrow stole his emeralds from him first, and that all those emeralds in the Emerald city really belonged to him first as they were all from his Mountain to begin with. And he was just rightfully taking them all back. Dorothy argues that the emeralds were already there in the city long before the Scarecrow got his brains and became the King of the city. The Nome King decides to let the group each have three guesses as to which ornament the Scarecrow is, and if they guess right, he will be restored along with everyothing else in Oz, and they all will be allowed to leave his mountain.
The Gump goes first, and mumbles to himself and complains the whole way. Meanwhile the Nome King shows hospitality to his guest and caters a yummy refreshment for them all. Limestone pie and hot melted silver. When the Gump ends up guessing wrong three times, he is turned into an ornament as well. Unfortunately on Jack Pumpkin heads turn, he also is just as unsuccessful. Each time someone becomes an ornament, the Nome King becomes more and more human like in appearance. During Tik-Tok's turn, the Nome King reveals to Dorothy that he has gotten a hold of her magical Ruby slippers, which he found and kept as his own. He wears them upon his feet as they sparkle in all their brilliance. And he also confesses to Dorothy that the Slippers magical powers gave him the ability to conquer the Emerald City, destroy Oz and do as he pleased to it's people. He was able to get a hold of the Slippers as they fell out of the sky one day and off of Dorothy's feet when she clicked her heels together and said "there's no place like home!" When she was sent back into the real world. Dorothy was so anxious and excited to get to her family again that she did not hold tight enough inside of the Slippers so they slipped off of her feet and landed on the top of the Nome mountain. And into the wrong hands. Dorothy sadly realizes that what has happened to Oz is part of her fault. Seconds later the Nome messenger appears to tell the Nome King that Tik-Tok seemingly has wound down before he can make his last guess, and therefore is standing perfectly still in the middle of the room. So he sends Dorothy in to wind him back up, and while she is in there, amoung the nic-nacs, she can guess for herself. The Nome King sends Dorothy in, but also tries to manipulate Dorothy into leaving Oz by him using the Ruby Slippers to wish her back home. And tells her that when she goes back, she will never think of Oz again. Dorothy declines the Nome Kings deal and bravely walks into the room with determination to find Tik-Tok and guess correctly. Tik-Tok reveals to Dorothy that he never really wound down and wanted to get Dorothy in so she could see what ornament decoration he turns into for they might receive a clue from it to guess correctly and win the game. However, when he guesses wrong and disappears, she doesn't see what he turns into. Meanwhile, Princess Mombi arrives to the Nome mountain to warn the Nome King about Billina. The Nome King is furious at Mombi for allowing Dorothy to escape from her tower in the first place. The Nome King locks Mombi in a iron prison cage and leaves her all alone to deal with her later for punishment. On her third guess, Dorothy picks the big green jewel she found laying on a table and it luckily turns into the Scarecrow as she cries out "Oz!" She realizes that it is green ornaments she is looking for, as green is the color of Oz. With the Scarecrows help the two restore the Gump to normal. The Nome King is very angry at this and trys to stop the game. He then appears in a giant form just as Dorothy returns Jack Pumpkinhead to normal again also. The Nome King ends the game unfairly and tries to eat the Gump, but Jack, Scarecrow and Dorothy grab hold to his antlers and save his head so the Nome King only eats the sofa he was attached to. The Nome King then tries to eat Jack next, as the group runs away with Nome monsters who all look like Demons come out from the walls trying to claw at them and catch hold of Dorothy and her frightened friends. The Nome King finally gets a hold of Jack, but Billina lays an egg, which falls down his throat. He explains to them that eggs are poison to Nomes and then he and his Nome subjects all die and melt away. The Nome King disintegrates, in flames of red smoke and fire, leaving a pile of rocks and boulders. Nothing is left but the magic Ruby Slippers. Dorothy sees the Slippers sparkle under all the rocks and rubble. Dorothy sticks her hand inside the pile of stones to take the Slippers back. Suddenly the Nome King's mountain begins to collapse and cave in causing havoc all around with things crashing and tumbling about. Quickly she uses the Slippers once more to wish everyone in the mountain including Princess Mombi, over to Oz again, and to restore the Emerald City and its inhabitants to normal. Dorothy wishes this out loud, closes her eyes and clicks her heels together three times.
They are magically teleported back to Oz, in the middle of a grassy meadow and watch the Emerald city restore itself from a far off distance as the city glows and sparkles in the night sky. Dorothy realizes that Tik-Tok was never found. But Billina notices a green medal on the Gump's antlers, which turns out to be Tik-Toks disguise as an ornament. After Dorothy returns him to his original form, they all go to the Emerald City that awaits them. The Wheelers apparently turn nice and behave good, as they are no longer Mombi's slaves and are free. They are happy and among those in the coronation while celebrating and cheering in a Parade inside the city. Dorothy rides upon the back of the Cowardly Lion and smiles and waves to the citizens she saved. The Tin Woodman and Scarecrow walk with the Lion on each side. All of the characters of Oz can be seen marching in the parade. Such as the Patchwork girl, lots of Munchkins, Glinda, Polychrome the Rainbows daughter, Button Bright, the Shaggy man and other unique Ozians. Everyone asks and begs Dorothy to be the officail Queen of all of Oz and stay there forever. The Scarecrow gives Dorothy his King Crown that he wears upon his head for Dorothy may accept the offer.
But she decides to not be selfish and do the right thing which is to return to her home in Kansas back to Aunt Em, Uncle Henry, and of course her dog Toto. Dorothy wishes she could be in both places at the same time when suddenly the same mysterious girl that Dorothy met in the hospital in Kansas that was lost in the river appears in a giant mirror dressed elegantly, in a emerald green gauzy ball gown and adorned in precious jewels, and crystals. Recognizing her, the girl walks towards Dorothy gracefully with a friendly smile. Dorothy helps her carefully step out of the mirror and onto her side, the curse is then broken. Dorothy tells the girl how beautiful she is and is glad she did not drowned after all. The girl is revealed to be the long lost Princess Ozma, the child Queen and rightful ruler of all of Oz. The dancing slave girls of the city, now with their heads rightfully back on, explain Ozma's history. Her father was the King of Oz before the Wizard arrived. Ozma was enslaved by Mombi, enchanted, and trapped in the mirror when the Nome King promised her 30 beautiful young heads as a gift if she agreed to his deal. Jack Pumkinhead suddenly then remembers it was Ozma who created him, which would make her his real mother, Jack is so relieved to find his true mother that he passes out and faints as the people around him in the crowd catch him before he hits the ground. Princess Mombi is still trapped in her prison with the iron cage, and Dorothy has her black magic and witchcraft taken away for all eternity. And Ozma declares that a Witch with no magic is a miserable creature indeed. Dorothy gives Ozma the Ruby Slippers as she places them upon her feet while Ozma takes back her kingdom and sits on her royal green and gold velvet throne as the Scarecrow glady resigns as King. Princess Ozma clicks her heels together and uses the Ruby Slippers to wish Dorothy back to Kansas, telling her she will always look in on her from time to time and send her back to Oz should she ever wish to return again to visit in the future, Ozma will make it so. Billina, who throughout the entire adventure was not that fond of Oz, decides not to return to the real world after all, seeing how nice the land of Oz truly is now that things are good again. Dorothy says goodbye and farewell to all of her new and old friends and promises to never forget any of them. Dorothy fades away in a bright shining light and up into the atmosphere. Once Dorothy returns home to Kansas, she wakes up and is found by Toto by the muddy river. Toto is followed by none other than Aunt Em, Uncle Henry, and a Kansas search party. Aunt Em tells her niece that the hospital they visited was tragically struck by lightning and burned down to the ground and Dr. Worley was killed when he ran back in to save his machines. Just then a black jail cart driven by Policemen passes Dorothy and the sesrch party. And it is drawn by black horses, held inside is nurse Wilson imprisoned in it, similar to Mombi's fate in Oz.
Later, the new farm house is finally finished. In Dorothy's bedroom, Princess Ozma and Billina appear in Dorothy's vanity mirror. This indicates that her adventures in the land of Oz were not just a delusion or a dream, though Ozma does not want Aunt Em to know, keeping everything between Dorothy and her a secret. The story ends with Dorothy being much happier again as things seem much nore hopeful and brighter. Dorothy is seen running out onto the Kansas prarie, playing and giggling with Toto on the new farm. The End
- Fairuza Balk as Dorothy Gale
- Nicol Williamson as the Nome King & Doctor Worley
- Jean Marsh as Mombi & Nurse Wilson
- Pons Marr as Wheeler/Worker/Messenger
- Piper Laurie as Aunt Em
- Matt Clark as Uncle Henry
- Emma Ridley as Ozma
- Sean Barrett, Tim Rose, and Michael Sundin as Tik-Tok
- Mak Wilson, Denise Bryer as Billina
- Stewart Larange, Brian Henson as Jack Pumpkinhead
- Stephen Norrington, Lyle Conway as The Gump
- Justin Case as the Scarecrow
- Deep Roy as the Tin Woodman
- John Alexander as the Cowardly Lion
- Bruce Boa as Policeman
- Tansy as Toto
Will Vinton created the Claymation Nome King. Special effects were overseen by Zoran Perisic, as director of the model and process unit and visual effects consultant. The coronation scene at the movie's end includes Oz characters that do not appear elsewhere in the film: the Braided Man, Button-Bright, Cap'n Bill holding the Magic Flower, the Frogman, Glinda, some Munchkins, Notta Bit More, the Patchwork Girl, Polychrome, the Shaggy Man, and even Tommy Kwikstep.
The film was shot in England, on London sound stages plus some exteriors on Salisbury Plain. Freddy Francis, the project's original cinematographer, left after four weeks, unable to agree with director Murch; Francis was replaced by David Watkin. The result was the Francis shot the Kansas material, while Watkin shot Oz. The shoot fell behind schedule, and rumors held that Disney executive Richard Berger wanted to fire Murch. Murch's friends in the business, Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, and Steven Spielberg, visited the set to provide encouragement.
Kurtz worried that the script was too dark, and solicited Murch for revisions. Murch was unenthusiastic, but allowed new writers to be brought in to inject humor and a lighter tone. Little of their work survived into the finished product, however.
The Disney studio regime changed twice during the making of Return to Oz. By the time the film was ready for audiences, Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg were in charge of the company. Kurtz later complained that their new regime abandoned the Oz film, neglecting to promote it effectively, since it was not one of their projects. (Still, Kurtz recognized that the main problem with the film was its grim and "morose" tone.) The film cost $24,000,000 to make, but earned only half that sum at the box office.
The science fiction author Joan D. Vinge wrote a novelization of the movie's script, also called Return to Oz (1985).
- Like some movies, a few minor clips were cut from the film when it was shown on TV, presumably to save time. Though most of these are minor (such as shortening the scene where the Nomes appear, and a bit of dialogue between Dorothy and Mombi in the castle) two semi-critical points are cut out:
- The two lines at the hospital, in which Dorothy asks Ozma about the screaming she was hearing, and Ozma saying that Dr. Worley's patients were damaged and locked in the cellar. This could cause some confusion among those who only saw it on TV as to why they were trying to escape the hospital in the first place, and as to why Nurse Wilson was arrested at the end.
- The headless Mombi smashing Cabinet 31 with a chair to get her original head (since she did not have the key).
- Like The Wizard of Oz, characters outside of Oz have counterparts of characters there, which are portrayed by the same actor. Dr. Worley's counterpart is the Nome King, who shares the same cigar and ruby ring, and who says similar lines ("I know just the thing to cheer you up" and "When you wake up, you'll never think of Oz again"). Nurse Wilson's counterpart is Princess Mombi. Their final fates of mirror those of the Nome King and Mombi.
- While there are no real plot holes beyond Dorothy's knowledge of the Deadly Desert (though someone could have explained it to her) a few aspects are slightly changed. Dorothy seems younger in this film, and many previous characters look slightly different than before. The Cowardly Lion does not stand on two legs in this film either.
- This movie bears some slight similarities to Prince Caspian: Beyond taking place in a magical world with talking animals and unique ways to get there, the main villain is a king (where the main villain of the first film is a witch) who conquers the land while the main character(s) is gone, and unsure as to whether they will return. Also, Princess Ozma and Prince Caspian are both the rightful rulers who must be restored to the throne.
- In a book adaptation of the movie, instead of trying to eat the Gump first, the Nome King eats Mombi and her cage, and Dorothy's wish to restore the Emerald City brings her back to life.
- The majority of the film's plot comes from Ozma of Oz. Dorothy washing ashore in a chicken coop, the Wheelers, a head-swapping princess, Tik-Tok, The Nome King, the ornament room, and Ozma are all culled from the book.
- Several elements of the second Oz book, The Marvelous Land of Oz were worked into the film's plot. Jack Pumpkinhead, the Gump, the Powder of Life, and the Scarecrow's being king are from Land. Mombi is also from the book. She was reassigned to Princess Langwidere's roles, but retained some of her Land roles as well. For instance, she keeps Ozma captive. In the original book, she is Tip's (Ozma transformed into a boy) evil witch guardian. And she also owns a Powder of Life which is later stolen by the protagonist. Also in the film, the people in the Emerald City are turned to stone. Though the Nome King does this in the film, it could be a reference to how old Mombi planned to turn Tip into a statue.
- The Patchwork Girl makes a cameo at the end of the film.
- Anonymous, "Return to Oz Revisited: an interview with Gary Kurtz," The Baum Bugle, Vol. 39 No. 2 (Autumn 1995), pp. 4-13.