Quick Daily Review #62: Tin Man [Blu-ray]
Starring: Zooey Deschanel, Alan Cumming, Neal McDonough, Kathleen Robertson, Raoul Trujillo, Richard Dreyfuss
Director: Nick Willing
Writer(s): Steven Long Mitchell, Craig W. Van Sickle
Studio: Imagiquest Entertainment, SyFy Pictures Original
Tin Man is the epic miniseries from the SyFy Channel that took Oz to a new level; it’s a modernized retelling of the story and science fiction intended for teens and adults. When this originally aired on SyFy it was a three night event that was six hours long (and that’s including commercial breaks). There are no commercials on this Blu-ray release though, so the actual length is somewhere between four and five hours, and I always like to watch it all in one sitting. That may seem tedious, but it actually flies by pretty fast. That’s because it is a nice fantasy adventure where you can easily get wrapped up in the story and the characters (assuming you don’t view it as a bastardized version of “The Wizard of Oz”).
The miniseries stars the always cute and talented Zooey Deschanel the curious and adventurous DG, who is brought into The Outer Zone (O.Z.) from the Other Side via a tornado (travel storm). DG quickly picks up a few allies along the way as she begins her journey to unlocking her past and her destiny. Joining her on her path is Glitch (Alan Cumming), the brainless former adviser to the Queen, Raw (Raoul Trujillo), the courage-less Viewer lion looking creature, and the Tin Man, Wyatt Cain (Neal McDonough), the heartless ex-Tin Man on the Mystic Man’s protection squad.
All four have an ax to grind with Azkadellia the Sorceress (Kathleen Robertson), the evil witch who rules over the O.Z., and her band of Longcoats (police/army). But in order to get on their way, they have to swing by Central City and speak with the Mystic Man (Richard Dreyfuss), a drugged out “wizard.” Together, and at times separated, they make the long and difficult journey to the final showdown with Azkadellia, in a last ditch effort to save the O.Z. form the evil of the Witch and permanent darkness. They even pick up a shape-shifting Toto/Tutor (Blu Mankuma) along the way.
There are twists and turns throughout the film, a few of which are very important and really help make the show, so I won’t spoil any of them.
When I watched this when it originally aired back in December 2007, I wasn’t really expecting a whole lot. I watched because it looked good in the previews, I liked “The Wizard of Oz,” and it starred Zooey (who is probably the only celebrity that I have a crush on). Leaving all thoughts of “The Wizard of Oz” behind though, I was thoroughly impressed… especially for a SyFy original miniseries. I picked up the DVD when it came out, and now this Blu-ray, and I typically watch every year in late December (it’s sort of a Christmas tradition for me now, even though it doesn’t have anything to do with Christmas).
I am a big fan of Zooey Deschanel, which is no secret to anyone who frequents this site, and she performed her role as DG exceptionally well; she’s all cute and innocent looking yet witty and brave at the same time. The rest of the actors all did great, with standouts being Alan Cumming’s Glitch, Neal McDonough’s Wyatt Cain and Kathleen Robertson’s Azkadellia (the sexist witch EVER). Richard Dreyfuss’ brief time in the show was also well done and, at times, funny.
This Blu-ray release is the same as the DVD version that I previously had; it doesn’t have any special Blu-ray exclusive features. The standard features are here: the making of, on the set with the director, bloopers and gags, interviews with the cast and director, a little feature with Raul Trujillo, and a featurette on “making the Mystic Man” with Richard Dreyfuss and the director, Nick Willing. Of course it goes without saying that the Blu-ray release looks better, and as far as I’m concerned it’s always worth upgrading a DVD to Blu-ray if it means HD Zooey.
If you’re looking for a great fantasy adventure, that’s funny yet quite dark, then Tin Man is for you. An imaginative, well thought out miniseries based (loosely) on The Wonderful Wizard of Oz book by L. Frank Baum. All around, it is a great, captivating story that belongs in your collection.