Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Wonderful Wizard of Ha's

VeggieTales never fails to entertain! And now, their latest offering offers many entertainments for Oz fans as well. The Wonderful Wizard of Ha's is a re-telling of the parable of the Prodigal Son, set to a parody/tribute of MGM's The Wizard of Oz. (In the "Making the Land of Ha's" bonus feature, Phil Vischer does mention the L. Frank Baum book.)

The story tells the tale of a boy named Darby (Jr. Asparagus) who want to visit the Land of Ha's amusement park. His father, Farmer O'Gill (Mr. Asparagus), tells Darby that they can't afford go this season. Stubbornly, Darby takes the piggy bank full of the money that his father was saving for his college, when Darby is caught out in a tornado! He hides in a trailer, despite Tutu's (Darby's pig, who he calls a dog) opinion that they should lie flat in a ditch. (Which, they stress in the bonus features, is what you should do.)

Darby is blown to Munchieland, where the trailer crushes a machine called the Munchie Muncher. For freeing the Munchies (Oui! It iz ze French Peas!), Splenda, the low-fat fairy (Madame Blueberry) advises Darby to follow Old Yellow McToad to the Land of Ha's.

Along the way, Darby and Tutu are joined by Scarecrow (Mr. Lunt), Tin Man (Larry), and Lion (Pa Grape). But little do they realize that they are being watched...

All in all, this is an entertaining episode, and you should get some laughs out of it. In the VeggieTales tradition, hosts Bob and Larry (who are both technically fruits, not vegetables) make refrences to God and the Bible, and their computer QWERTY displays 1 John 3:1, which is also read by Bob. VeggieTales has always been a Christian series, expecting it to be something else just isn't going to work. I'm fine, because it's not overbearing.

Also, watch the end credits to see Mr. Lunt sing "Over The Rainbow," or you can watch it as a special feature.

AND ON THE SUBJECT OF SPECIAL FEATURES, VeggieTales has also never been one to skip on those, either! You can find Easter Eggs on the main menu, and on the Bonus Features menu. (I won't say what they are or how to find them.) There are two audio commentaries, one with the people who made this episode, and a five minute clip show with Mr. Lunt and a previously unseen character doing commentary. There is a behind-the-scenes feature, "Making The Land of Ha's." The "Studio" Commentary features writer and VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer (who also voices Bob/Mr. Lunt/Pa Grape/Dad Asparagus/Archibald Asparagus) and director Brian Roberts exposing all the secrets of the writing and casting and how budget affected what you see onscreen. (They also expose how they paid a tribute to Baum's original book in their story and why.)

There is also a section of trivia games (winning the hard game earns you a deleted scene), a "Munchieland Peas" Game, which will earn you a bonus clip, a story book feature that isn't "Ha's," a singalong, and instructional videos on how to draw Darby and Tin Man.

There is also a special feature section for parents.

All in all, the DVD is worth the price. The episode shows affection for both of the original stories, and should be worthy addition to your Oz video and DVD collection.

"How could I go over the rainbow? It's water droplets refracting sunlight." - Darby

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