The Wonderful Wizard of Ha’s (2007)

Not Rated, 47 minutes, Fantasy

Starring: Lisa VischerPhil VischerMike Nawrocki

There are probably a few dozen movies, short films, and television episodes that are adapted from the 40 plus books set in the Land of Oz. It wouldn’t surprise me if I could continue this series through the rest of the year… but let’s not get crazy. I would rather focus on things I can easily obtain. So imagine my frustration when I buy a DVD, brand new out of the crinkly plastic, and the wife and I sit down to watch it… only to have the audio replaced with the commentary track. Changing the audio settings does nothing. I bought a bad burn. No offense intended towards the production company, but seriously, whomever first thought up the commentary track should go sit on a sharp stick.

Years later, the wife and I decide to give this another go. Libraries are a poor cinephile’s best friend. The DVD works and we’re finally able to watch The Wonderful Wizard of Ha’s. This isn’t your typical Oz rendition and if you’re familiar with the VeggieTales series, that’s par for the course. Our hero, Darby, runs away from home in order to visit an amusement park where he spends all of his savings. Shamed, he returns home penniless to beg for forgiveness.

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A boy and his pig. Dog… No, pig–I’m so confused.

The first thing anyone should notice about this is… well, the vegetable part. But that’s not what I’m concerned with. Darby is a boy–the first male lead in any Wizard of Oz take I’ve seen. His presence should come as no surprise after Bob the Tomato explicitly tells us that this is a version of the Biblical story of the Prodigal Son.

Obviously playing off of the MGM film, the video takes on both visual and musical similarities, with the exception being that home is still in color. Another similarity is the presence of the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion; however, these characters aren’t that close to their literary counterparts. It’s kind of nice: having the same story, but not really being presented with anything close to it. This would lead us to the conclusion that this is just a simple marketing ploy, but at least it’s not another rehash.

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PUPPIES!!!!!!

This story is goofy and full of the lighthearted humor common in the VeggieTales series, but it also has a moral for both children and parents alike as both sides are just as capable of making mistakes. It’s forgiveness that shows love in the end.

Rating: Watch it.

tl;dr
Watch: It’s moral and silly.
Don’t watch: You have to be into this kind of thing.

Images © Big Idea
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