This weekend I was diving through Netflix and came across this gem with Zooey Deschanel. It was decent enough to hold my attention, but ended up being way too long as a 3-part miniseries for the following reasons.
The nods to the original Wizard of Oz were almost insufferable. If I heard the nauseating Oh-Zee for Oz, DG for Dorothy, Tutor for Todo, Pap-ay Fields for poppy field , and saw the sorceress unwrap her top one more time to unleash some freakish bat monkeys, I was probably going to roll my eyes so hard that they fell out of my head (seriously at the last one, I couldn’t tell if she was having a hot flash or just liked being an exhibitionist). I would have been much happier if the film didn’t try to distinguish itself that much from the original, but then wink slyly at you to remind you of its source material at every turn.
Speaking of the evil sorceress, her initial fashion choice: AWFUL. I couldn’t get over the fact that it was basically a golden corset with metal shoulder pieces. The acting was typical cookie-cutter villainess, except when they get to a twist that is supposedly meant to make her more sympathetic (it didn’t for me).
I enjoyed Zooey in 500 Days of Summer, and occasionally in New Girl. Her wide-eyed look as Dorothy was believable and the little girl who played the same character was so freakishly on point that I felt they filmed some of the movie when Zooey was a girl and then basically waited for her to grow up. But in Tin Man, there are only a few times that Zooey shows a progression of emotion. I get that she’s supposed to be innocent, but that wasn’t an excuse for the lack of emotional temperature.
Also, not sure why the miniseries was titled Tin Man, as it could have been titled any other character or just “Quest for the Emerald.” Or “I See the Light” (except now that song title is property of Tangled), and “Emerald Eclipse” would have been wildly more appropriate too. But I digress…
I really did enjoy how the movie took the original elements of Oz and presented them for a more adult audience. The reasons why the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion ended up with those roles were much more drastic, adult, and I do have to say clever.
I loved the sci-fi elements in this when they peeked through. It’s part of what kept me going through the movie. It was fresh, funny, and Alan Cumming acting as Glitch was basically a sci-fi version of Captain Jack Sparrow. If they could have combined all of these elements into a 2-hr movie instead of a 3-part miniseries, I think it would have been more palatable.
The heartfelt acting of the others (not counting Rawr) made the movie as well. It’s a much deeper Oz, with struggle, hope, despair, rage, and anger. Although the main objective of the evil witch is flimsy, the side companions are fleshed out enough so that they are well-rounded to make up for other areas. Visually, it’s a fantasy treat. Not too etherial like Oz the Great and Powerful which was basically like shoving a gingerbread house down your throat, but with fantasy and sci-fi nods here and there.
With a beautiful score and a happy ever after, it’s definitely worth a one-time watch. On a scale: 3/5.