- Alternate Character Interpretation: The Girl who rescues Dorothy at the Beginning whom Dorothy sees as Ozma at the end. Is she just Ozma's real world counterpart like how the other characters are, and if so did she drown? Is she Ozma's soul reaching out to Dorothy, thus making her the same character? Or is she Ozma's soul appearing to her as a figment of her imagination, as she get's into closed rooms, and the Doctors never seem to acknowledge her? If that's the case, can she interact with the real world in a limited capacity, seeing as she untied Dorothy, or was that also imagined, and she just wasn't tied in well?
- Awesome Music: The whole soundtrack can go from eerie to sad or magnificent, and sprouts a wide variety of music, going from orchestra to silent era piano to a creepy mandolin or a modern techno for the Nome King.
- Complete Monster: Princess Mombi is a deranged, tyrannical sorceress who usurped control of the Emerald City by trapping the true ruler inside an enchanted mirror. A narcissist whose looks are fading with age, Mombi collects the heads of beautiful women and swaps her own head for one of theirs every so often. When not in use, the heads are kept alive and conscious. When Dorothy arrives in the Emerald City, Mombi has her imprisoned with the intention of adding her head to her collection once she becomes an adult.
- Cult Classic: A failure with audiences and critics alike when it came out, it's now remembered as a nostalgic classic for 80s kids.
- Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The film did well in Japan, possibly because they marketed toward its dark side.
- Harsher in Hindsight: The Nome King's door opening as a series of hands in the wall to welcome Dorothy in looks like a well-known shock site...
- Hilarious in Hindsight:
- Before that, the Nome King was serving limestone pie.
- Fairuza Balk battling Wicked Witches is hilarious if you know of her role as a crazy black magic practitioner in The Craft. Not to mention that she owned an occult shop in real life. She also plays the main character, who is a witch in the 1986 version of The Worst Witch.
- Mombi saying that she'll keep Dorothy locked up for a few years until her head becomes acceptable to take. Just try and see Mombi taking on Nancy from The Craft!
- The Nome telling the Nome King that Dorothy has A CHICKEN!! True, it makes sense given the context, but unless you've read the book, that context isn't provided until much later in the movie.
- The Nome King rising up gigantic and surrounded with flames as the embodiment of satanic evil and the first line that comes out of his mouth sounds like "S'UP!!!" in a deep rumbling voice (he's actually saying "STOP!!!").
- Additionally him revealing that he has the Ruby Slippers. Yep the Big Bad king revealing he's wearing a pair of glittery red high heels.
- The Wheelers are scary...until they have to speak.
- Narm Charm: Tik-Tok hugging Dorothy and shedding green oil tears should be ridiculous. It isn't.
- Older Than They Think: Due to Adaptation Displacement concerning the MGM, the Truer to the Text elements of this film often get mistaken for creations of the film. Jack Pumpkinhead, the Wheelers, and other scoffed at elements are from the original Oz books.
- Retroactive Recognition: Fairuza Balk is Dorothy.
- Rewatch Bonus: When she's in the hospital, Dorothy gets locked in Room 31. In Oz, Mombi keeps her original head in Cabinet 31.
- Ugly Cute: Jack Pumpkinhead.
- Uncanny Valley: Dorothy on the 2004 DVD cover. The designers attempted to make her smile, but the results don't look convincing.
- Visual Effects of Awesome: The Nome King (pre-human transformation) and his minions were animated by Claymation master Will Vinton and they appear to complete come out of the rock.
- What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: The film is meant to be seen as a kids' adventure film, yet there are the infamous scenes such as shock therapy, the disembodied heads of Mombi, the Wheelers turning to sand and of course, the Nome King.
- The Woobie:
- Dorothy must face no one believing her about her adventures in Oz, and her family nearly give her electro shock therapy over it. When she returns to Oz, she sees it partially destroyed and her friends captured.
- Jack was abandoned by his mother who's actually Ozma imprisoned by Mombi and has been alone ever since he was born.
YMMV / Return to Oz