The Sci Fi Channel takes its role as the main provider of offbeat and oddball science fiction pretty seriously. They like to take a story we all know and love, and give it a little shift into another dimension. Tin Man is not your Daddy’s Wizard of Oz. Well, unless your Daddy liked dropping acid to while away the hours with a copy of Ozma of Oz open on his lap.
Tin Man the mini series features a world we know-and don’t know at all. The characters are all sort of familiar, DG-(Zooey Deschanel) is playing the part of Dorothy Gale, but she is not Dorothy-not the Dorothy we know, who makes a cameo late in the series. The Scarecrow is now named Glitch(Alan Cumming) and has a gapping hole in his head which he closes with a zipper-he has no brain and his head is empty. The Tin Man Cain(Neal McDonough) is a policeman who was left imprisoned in a Tin Suit-where he was forced to forever watch the destruction of his family. Our happy little band finds the Cowardly Lion, named Raw(Raoul Trujillo) trapped and about to be eaten-and there is some debate as to whether they should save his life or not. The Yellow Brick Road just ain’t what it used to be.
The convoluted story of Tin Man’s OZ-now called merely The Outer Zone-involved the reanimation of a long dormant witch and our Hero’s sister, who turns pure evil after she encounters the bad witch. There are a lot of flashbacks and a lot of confusion about who is who and what is what. We met the Wizard of Oz, played by Richard Dreyfuss, and he is a drugged and powerless Mystic Man. Tin Man is an odd re-telling of the Wizard of Oz.
But I still liked most of Tin Man, it’s what you expect for the Sci Fi Channel. The effects were very good, if often baffling-there were times when it was not clear what you were seeing or why you were seeing it. The ending of Tin Man was not exactly what I was expecting-but it was close enough. The idea of OZ being turned into a vast wasteland without hope or reason-well, a Hero has to fix that sort of thing-doesn’t she?
Tin Man The Two Disc Collectors Edition is going to be released on DVD on March 11, 2008.