Tin Man (2007– )
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Sci-fi Channel's Tin Man is a work of art on its own, though it uses some of the original characters and locations, it is its very own unique tale, completely rewritten and turned into a fantasy adventure for the MODERN age.
It's not the old adventure, instead of just trying to get home, they have to try and save the O.Z.
Keeps you on the edge of your seat, waiting to see what happens next. Each new episode adds a new twist making you rethink your original ideas of OZ.
It's definitely worth watching if you like to see old stories retold in completely different ways. Not what you'd expect.
if the old Oz was Kansas, this version would definitely be WAY over the rainbow.
It wasn't love of The Oz stories that led me to watch this, despite having watching the Judy Garland version Lord and Lady know how many times as a child. It was curiosity. I wanted to see just how different this would be from the story I knew.
The answer: Different enough to astound me.
The first section of this mini-series is riddled with references to the original story and the musical so many of us grew up with. I was expecting that. But imagine my surprise at the presence of machine guns and chain saws in Oz. Oh, excuse me, it is now called the Outer Zone, or the O.Z. Then, of course, there are hologram projectors, machines that can project what is in a person's mind, and cyborgs.
After the first section, it grows even farther from the old story. There are still references, of course, but it's definitely not what we knew anymore.
Our heroine, DG, was born in the O.Z., but sent away as a child for her own protection. Unlike her somewhat whiny predecessor, this woman has a bit of attitude and brains. And some serious guts, as she demonstrates when she tries to help a family being attacked by Longcoats, the Sorceress Azkadelia's henchmen, armed with only a branch.
I'm sorry to say, though, that Zooey Deschanel didn't do a very good job on this portrayal. I've seen her in other films and know that she can act, so I'm not entirely sure what she was doing here. Half of it was fine, but the rest was just beneath her abilities. (Personally, I blame the director for letting her get away with that.)
Azkadelia is definitely a far cry from the ugly Wicked Witch of the West. She may be beautiful, but don't let that fool you. The old witch has nothing on this new version when it comes to evil and cruelty.
In place of the Scarecrow, we have Glitch. Once a genius and Royal Adviser to the Queen, he has been reduced to a sometimes annoying, but lovable ditz. This, of course, is because he only has half a brain left. Literally. The witch had it removed so that she could use his knowledge for her own purposes. He keeps what marbles he has left sealed in his head with a zipper.
Replacing the Lion is Raw, a strange, but gentle creature with psychic abilities. Despite his timid ways, Raw is very capable of being brave, especially when it comes to his friends' safety.
The Tin Man is Caine. Or, rather, former Tin Man. "Tin Man" is the term used for police in the O.Z. He lost everything when he was discovered to be fighting for The Resistance. Worse, he was imprisoned in a sealed tin suit for years, forced to watch a holographic image of his family being tortured and taken from him over and over again. All he has left is the idea of revenge and keeping DG safe, since she is the only one who might be able to defeat Azkadelia.
The Wizard is anything but wonderful. He might have been once, but has been reduced to a stoner dependent on Vapors, a magic equivalent of ecstasy. Still, in his sober moments he is a big help to the heroes.
The flying monkeys are still in. The old version, ugly though they were, still managed to have a slight cuteness about them. Not these. When they're not out doing her dirty work, they accompany Azkadelia everywhere in quite a surprising way.
Toto is also still in... sort of. The little dog is actually a shape-shifter who was once a teacher to both DG and Azkadelia. After 15 years of imprisonment, he is all too willing to help his former pupil. The question is, which one?
Overall, I was impressed. There are spots that could have been better and things that could have been more thoroughly explained, but the concepts and story are quite imaginative. It *is* really long, but definitely worth at least one watch. (I could have done without those weird turkey-looking people who I think were supposed to replace the munchkins, though. They came off more like Oompa Loompas gone terribly, terribly wrong. I'd also really like to know how Caine could have survived in that metal suit for so long, but I guess it makes about as much sense as how the original Tin Man came to be made of tin.)
However, I must confess, I'm a little confused as to why it is titled "Tin Man." That implies that Caine is the main focus of the story, which he is not, although he is given a much more significant role in this version. Oh, well. It was still good, so I guess it doesn't really matter.
All in all, i've found it to be a good show so far. It's twenty minutes into the second episode and i'm already planning on watching the third part. (Show's on commercial right now.)
The leads do admirable jobs in their roles. I found only the lion to be somewhat boring, probably due to his inability to vocalize very much. He just didn't emote very well, although he did have some decent screen time, I just didn't connect with him at all. Toto was another character that confused a bit. His motivation was questionable considering the devotion he professed to have. I also wish the Wizard was a more prominent fixture, but all in all, I was OK with that branch of the story.
To sum up. Good acting, and I think a good choice on the lead for Zooey. I found her quirkiness and general kind of cute gutsiness refreshing. The special effects are better than average and certainly better than the typical home-made sci-fi look you may be used to. The scenery was also very nice in the movie (albeit with a darker twist). If you enjoyed the original, and you aren't a die hard fan hoping for a rehash of the same old story, then check this one out. It may be worth your time ;)
It really is more of a re-imagining of the story than a modernization. It takes the theme and the characters and takes them in broader directions than the typical, "I wish I had a heart," said the broken-hearted Tin Man.
It's also nice to see that the movie is actually utilizing real sets other than relying on a green screen 100% of the time- Are you listening George Lucas? Honestly, I'm quite liking it. Good pacing. I love Zooey Deschanel. The best thing I can compare it to is The 10th Kingdom, but it's actually much better than that movie too.
Give it a chance. Keep your expectations very low, and you'll be pleasantly surprised.