This wonderful animated series is unique. It features a puppet-like CGI Dorothy and Toto, opening the story and explaining what is to follow, but then the animated parts features many still animated images, along with narration by Dorothy and music to lend drama to the tale. The animated stills are nicely done. And the CGI Dorothy looks like a little girl, as she is missing a front tooth!
This film features 7 Chapters, with each adventure becoming more and more tension filled. In the first chapter, titled “Tip Manufactures a Pumpkin Head,” many viewers will be introduced to a new character they will not know, unless they have read the books. The character of Tip, a young boy, doesn’t remember his mom but he must confront a witch named Mombi. His life has been simple, as he has worked in a cornfield, climbed trees, searched for bird eggs, and chased rabbits. Tip doesn’t like Mombi, who is his guardian, and he decides to make a jack-o’-lantern to frighten her. Tip had never heard of putting a candle inside its head, so he decides to make a form of a man and to place the pumpkin head on it! He fashions a wooden body and does just that. He finds clothes to dress it in and he dances in boyish ecstasy, and names him Jack Pumpkinhead.
In Chapter Two, titled, “The Marvelous Powder of Life”, the witch stumbles across Jack and speaks to him, saying, “Good evening, sir.” She soon realizes he is not alive, but she uses her magic powders and words to bring him to life. She yells as she uses her magic and, suddenly, she hears Jack say, “Don’t yell like that!” “He lives!” she cries. “He lives, he lives, he lives!” Mombi plans to have Jack work for her. Tip has gone hungry, and the question soon becomes – will Mombi turn Tip into a marble statue? She says she is going to plant a flower garden next spring and she will put him in the middle of it for an ornament!
Chapter Three is titled, “The Flight of the Fugitives,” and is about Jack and Tip fleeing, heading southward. They head toward the Emerald City, and in this chapter we are told the colors of the various countries. Oz is green, the Country of the Munchkins is blue, the Country of the Quadlings is red and the Country of the Winkies is yellow. We also hear of the story of Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion.
In Chapter Four, titled, “Tip Makes an Experiment in Magic,” Tip manages to use Mombi’s magic powder to bring a sawhorse to life! The horse can offer a ride for their journeys. Chapter Five is aptly titled, “The Awakening of the Sawhorse,” and Tip fashions ears out of wood for the sawhorse so it can hear him. “I mustn’t make them too big,” says Tip, “or our horse will look like a donkey!” And Tip, Jack Pumpkinhead, and the sawhorse find the yellow brick road.
In Chapter Six, titled, “Jack Pumpkinhead’s Ride to the Emerald City,” they face a river and a ferryman says they can ride the seahorse across but Jack Pumpkinhead would probably not make it. But they find a solution. Eventually, a soldier leads them to His Majesty, in the Emerald City which is, by this time, the Scarecrow. Chapter Seven is titled, “His Majesty the Scarecrow,” and a character names Jelia Jamb, a short maiden, helps Jack and the Scarecrow to communicate.
The film does a good job in showing that there is good and evil in the world, and its characters display this, such as Jack being a good character, and Mombi the witch being evil. It also shows how important it is to find a way to reach your goal or journey’s end despite the obstacles that come along.
THE DOVE TAKE: This imaginative movie fuels the imagination and has clearly defined good and evil characters in it, and the entire family can enjoy it.
Dove Rating: This movie has earned our Dove seal for All Ages. It is a wholesome film with nothing overly frightening, and it endorses the help of good friends in a time of need.