Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Revision of Oz
For those of you who don't live in New York City and have been plastered with thousands of ads for the Sci-Fi mini-series Tin Man, and those who didn't understand the ads, it's a reimagining of "The Wizard of Oz" that brings back much of the darker tone of the books, rather than the treacly sing-song of the 1939 movie. It's more of a nod to the books rather than actually using the story. Nearly every familiar element of the books is included, but not always literally. The place where D.G. (rather than Dorothy Gale) landed is not Oz, but rather the O.Z. or Outer Zone. D.G. is played with part innocence and part sarcasm really well by Zooey Deschanel. The scarecrow isn't stuffed with straw, but rather he's the former queen's advisor, Glitch (played by Alan Cumming), who had his brain surgically removed by the new Queen (don't worry, only half, and his head now zips shut to keep it in). She needed it to find the information about how to stop the O.Z.'s two suns behind the moon causing eternal darkness. That is the quest that D.G. and her posse head out on - to stop the Queen's ability to stop the sun. D.G. doesn't want to get back to Kansas, because she finds out really early that she's not from Kansas, but was taken from the O.Z. as a child and raised by nurturing robots in Kansas because her sister (the new Queen) tried to kill her to prevent a prophesy from being fulfilled that only one of them can rule. On her trip, D.G. meets a man imprisoned in an iron suit, and when they let him out find out he's a "Tin Man" or security agent for hire. Rounding out the famous foursome is Rah, a beasty-looking creature who can read minds but has been tortured by the new Queen (so she'll know how to stop the suns) and lacks the courage to do much now. There are all kinds of magical elements throughout the series, and as D.G. pursues her quest, she has flashbacks to when she was a little girl living in the O.Z. with her parents and sister and the magic she knows. The flashbacks are encouraged by her former tutor (who she called Toto as a kid), and she realizes that her sister was taken over by a witch when she was a child, and that her sister wasn't responsible for all the treacherous things the new Queen has done. With the help of her parents, D.G. is able to save the O.Z., of course. Overall, it's a wonderfully dark, but magical story that amazes with its ability to channel The Wizard of Oz. Oh, yeah, and Richard Dryfus plays "The Mystic Man" (aka the Wizard) who gives D.G. the advice and wisdom to defeat the new Queen with her quest. There are some very funny scenes with all the minor characters that come into the story in ways you won't expect, but will definitely recognize them as their Wizard of Oz counterparts. I give the story 4 of 5 stars, and recommend you catch it on the Sci-Fi channel or on DVD someday soon. It's not scary, just dark, and while not geared toward young kids, it really is great for almost anyone.
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