Book: Return to Oz

Return to Oz
Joan D. Vinge
1985

This is the novelization of the 1985 Walt Disney Pictures movie “Return to Oz”. The movie was based on the second and third books in the Oz series by L. Frank Baum. I’m not generally fond of movie novelizations, but this one wasn’t awful. It didn’t offer anything new, and the movie gave more insight to the characters’ heads than did the novel, but the story was laid out simply and well.

The movie had a delightful Oz feel to it (even the darkness was very Ozian). The novel, however, with it’s dry retelling of the movie events, somewhat missed out on that. The story is perfectly straightforward with few little mistakes. The problem is just that, there is no personalness to the story, no character. Each action is meticulously described, but not the reasoning or feelings behind it. I have no idea what was going through Dorothy’s head when she was conceiving of the Gump plan or choosing trinkets in the Nome King’s vault. The book was so transcribed that it was hard to care what happened. It completely lacked a human touch.

This book is a good reference for the story of the movie, but as a novel it fails miserably. I wouldn’t recommend it.

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