Emma Watson as Princess Ozma during the oft ridiculed climax of
Ozma of Oz, the 2005 sequel to 2002’s The
Land of Oz.
Lindsay Lohan as Dorothy Gale in
Ozma of Oz(2005
With the modest success of 1999’s The Wizard of Oz
remake, Warner Bros green lighted a sequel, The Land of Oz,
that would be eventually released in 2002. Staring Emma Watson, Alan Cumming, Eva Green, Nicole Kidman, and Meryl Streep, the film followed a young, tomboyish girl named Tip(Watson), the servant girl of the Wicked Witch Mombi(Streep), as she escapes from her cruel guardian and discovers her true identity as Ozma, the half human, half fairy heir to the throne of Oz, and becoming caught, after the overthrow of the Scarecrow(Cumming), in a power struggle between the scheming Mombi, Glinda the Good(Kidman), who seeks to restore Tip/Ozma to the throne, and a ambitious and power hungry woman named General Jinjur(Green), who leads an all female army, the Army of Revolt, and seeks to rule Oz for her own mysterious purposes.
Released towards the end of 2002, The Land of Oz
was a decent box office hit, despite having to compete with Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
and Star Trek: Nemesis
, with Oz
completely trancing the latter while finishing a respectable 2nd behind the former. The Land of Oz
would receive a reevaluation in the 2010s and 2020s, with trans activists in particular criticizing the removal of the plot point of the original book of Ozma having been transformed into a boy and needing to reclaim her true self. Some feminists would also criticize Jinjur’s character, as some feel her depiction in the book and film came across as sexist to modern sensibilities.
Although not as critically successful as it’s predecessor, the film did was successful enough that another sequel, Ozma of Oz,
would be produced and released in 2005. Again staring Emma Watson as Ozma, now Queen of Oz, she now has to contend of the machinations of the Nome King(John Rhys-Davies), revealed to be the true backer behind Jinjur’s attempt to rule Oz in the previous films. The film would also see the return of Dorothy Gale, now played by Lindsey Lohan, replacing Natalie Portman as she was now too old to portray the still teenage Dorothy, as she and Ozma together face the Nome King, who has kidnapped the Queen of the Land of Ev and her family.
Ozma of Oz
would prove to not be as successful as it’s predecessors, receiving mixed to negative critical reviews and although it would make back it’s budget, it would be trounced at the box office by Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith,
thus leading Warner Bros to shelve plans for any further films based on the Oz books. Lindsey Lohan’s performance would in particular be panned by critics and fans alike, with her wooden, dull surprise acting being vastly inferior to Natalie Portman’s and Judy Garland’s portrayal of the character. Her performance though later revealed to be due to personal problems in Lohan’s life and tensions on set due to said problems. Perhaps the most mocked scene in the film would be the sword and magic fight at the climax between Dorothy and Ozma versus the Nome King. This scene and others would become a source of memes in the 2010s, with comparisons to the climatic duel in Revenge of the Sith
between Obi-Wan Kenobi(Ewan McGregor) and Anakin Skywalker(Leonardo DiCaprio).
Despite this, Ozma of Oz
would become something of a cult classic, especially among, in contrast to the previous film, LGBT fans due to the perceived romantic undertones to Dorothy and Ozma’s fast friendship while it’s climax would invite comparisons to Disney’s Return to Oz(
Many fans would react with dismay when Warner Bros. would announce a reboot of the Oz Trilogy in the 2020s.