Directed By: Nick Willing
Written By: Jill E. Blotevogel and Steven Long Mitchell
Adapted From The Novel: The Wizard Of Oz By L. Frank Baum
Staring: Zoey Deschanel, Alan Cummings, Neal McDonough, Kathleen Robertson, Raoul Trujillo, Callum Keith Rennie, Richard Dreyfus, Blu Makuma, Anna Galvin, Ted Whithall, Rachael Pattee and Alexia Fast as Young Azkadellia
I haven’t been here before, but I know this place… -DG
There was an immediate concern that this movie would be either a cheap rip off of the wonderful tale of The Wizard Of Oz, or that it would be a poor individual story that only used the basics to create it’s own Oz. Those concerns were wiped away once DG flew into the OZ, or Outer Zone. The story perfectly integrated a new dangerous interpretation of a beloved tale with the basics set up decades ago without becoming dependent or reliant on the original story, but also staying true to it’s basic nature. It made it captivating and down right exciting to watch.
This is not the Oz most of us remember. In fact, it’s a creation all of it’s own, changed and altered with years past, with many different evil witches, beautiful queens, wizards, and variations of the land so richly described in L. Frank Baums original story. This Oz has been taken by a vicious sorceress, with plans set on destroying the entire world and making it enveloped in complete blackness. Between her sorcery and army, the resistance fights a losing battle until a girl from the Other Side comes into the O Z. DG is naive and unknowing but becomes quickly hardened by the rough world surrounding her, though is not alone as she has found companions to aid her in her mission, which doesn’t become completely clear until you are already involved in a great amount of the side plots. It’s a story of adventure, betrayal, love, and friendship, and doesn’t take a breath for even a moment.
The main characters that were both old and new, were easy to latch on to because of the familiarity with them, but distinct enough in their own right that you weren’t constantly comparing them to the characters their likenesses were developed from. The small beats that did allude to the original creations were cute and symbolic rather than obvious and obnoxious.
The plot and theme itself was gargantuan in size and it truly made sense to make it a three part story. For all the character developments to flow naturally and the transpiring events to occur in an even exciting momentum, it was best done this way. The massive scale the story incorporated set the boundaries of the story in a million different directions and allowed it to create a massive adventure that made the finale always feel near the cusp, but always just missing with even more adventure left. The actual finale arced perfectly and left the ending triumphant and satisfying closed on this particular story.
The visual imagery of the OZ was just astounding. The sets were enormous and made with such delicate intricacies. The CGI used to show a massive amount of the wide shots was exploited in a creative and tasteful way that didn’t stray too far into the fantasy world and away from a feeling of reality. It never bordered looking cheesy or cheap. It and the soundtrack as well, gave the story and it’s adventure the third dimensional texture it needed to make this OZ into a world very much so real.
The only real complaint I have for a film of this genre is the lead actress Zoey Deschanel. From her first line to her last I cannot comprehend her being cast other than her physical appearance. Her acting and delivery was a basic nuisance to brilliantly paced, written, and for the most part: cast story. Her bland reactions and inability to emote any real feeling through her performance severely crippled important moments between characters throughout the story. Luckily the rest of the cast and the story was well enough done, that this became a minor annoyance and actually funny to laugh at in certain points, instead of ruining the entire move. But if the rest wasn’t structured so strongly her performance was bad enough to ruin it all. In contrast to her, the rest of the cast was flawless in their performances and made the story that much more the take in.
Tin Man turned out to be a wondrous adventure into a world we are all familiar with, but on very different terms. It was a refreshing pleasure to take in. The level of dedication to it’s creators and all involved is evident in it’s final display. For a made for television movie, I can honestly say I can’t think of one I enjoyed more or was better done. Thanks to Wicked for opening the proverbial door into entertaining new ideas about stories we love, by still giving them their due credit and making something new. The Sci-Fi Channel hit this one right out of the park.
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