Tin Man (2007)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tin Man

From what little I know of the SyFy channel, it's known for its creative – and wacky! – productions. Inspired by one of their more recent miniseries, Alice I decided this was worth a look. Once again, a fantasy lovers dream is nurtured in this crazy six-hour series (or four-and-a-half hours courtesy of the DVD).

Adventure is something Dorothy Gail (Zooey Deschnel) – or DG, as she is commonly known - craves. In fact, she wants something more than the dusty town she has known since childhood. Her life is far from fulfilling her curious personality. Living with her beloved parents’ on their little farm, her days consist of waitressing and getting caught for speeding on her motorbike. Her mother (Gwynyth Walsh) is worried but it's her father (Kevin McNulty) who understands her best. The two are most suited. It is he whom DG confides in about the nightmares; one of bears, apples and a woman warning DG of a storm. During an unexplained tornado, their home is invaded by cloaked men with guns during which the three barely escape with their lives.

Waking up in a forest leaves DG dazed as do the small dwarf men who suddenly surround her shouting accusations. Captured by these funny little men, DG is met with another surprise when she befriends fellow prisoner Glitch (Alan Cumming), a funny man with half a brain, who still keeps his wits about him. Joining their band is Wyatt Cain (Neal McDonough) and the frightened and cowardly Raw (Raoul Trajillo). Along with her band of misfits, DG will have to fight the witch Azkadellia (Kathleen Robertson), who is actively planning her capture…

Part one ends just as when should. Leaving you trying to catch your breath as the heroine is in danger and another protagonist is thought dead. Even more importantly, we want more. Looking back, I cannot say as I was too impressed with the comparisons this miniseries drew from its inspiration. It is, of course based upon the classic children’s story, The Wizard of OZ. Most new translations of classic material have so much tongue-in-cheek humor as to pay homage to whatever it is modernizing. And the ones that have interested me have been the better for it. I didn’t really “connect” with this re-telling like I did with the re-imagining of Alice. Mainly because, and to be fair, I’ve only seen The Wizard of OZ once as a child. All the links seemed meaningless. However, I did notice several comical remarks which no doubt, were in reference to the classic story (for example, Cain’s comrades constantly reminding him to “have a heart”) and did nothing to lessen the originality of this adaptation. 

Though it might not be the most original, the script is more fun than it should be. (It "plays" with a lot of interesting dynamics.) Some of the minor nods to various well-known Hollywood achievements were interesting. “Tin Man” referenced law men in the O.Z, so it was interesting for Cain to have the forename “Wyatt” – who is quite a “cowboy” of a hero. The physical appearance of DG’s three companions weren’t totally obvious although I did think the Cowardly Lion was well-imagined. Cain was given a decent back-story for his “heartless” nature and it was believable to further him while Cumming makes “scarecrow” the fun member to the group. The cast played each of their respective players well. Zooey as the heroine is strong-willed and therefore, a different type than we are used too; she doesn’t panic at the first inkling of trouble and instead finds what has been handed to her something meant to be solved… and perhaps answer some questions. Her restless spirit ties into reasoning why she learns that home is where the heart is. The entire supporting cast from McDonough to Robertson was brilliant, really and the two youngsters who played the princesses in flashbacks were simply marvelous.

Tin Man

As a fantasy feature, I’d say if this genre hasn’t been your thing in the past, skip over this. Because of its genre, it works within those margins to feature some "troubling" themes. This borrows far too much from Alice or rather Alice borrowed too much from Tin Man. (In my case it seems the other way around because I happened to see the former first.) Much of the plot is devised in similar ways and the heroines share similar characteristics. I cannot fault this miniseries to the point of sounding downtrodden because it is boat loads of fun. There is something left wanting about some plot threads, but the creative team was brilliant in many of their assumptions, particularly in the sets and naturally, the costuming. It takes talent to go for a look of old world and modern and pull it off to be attractive. The production staff managed to do just that.

All of the sets convey whatever mood we should be in; trepidation, happiness or sorrow and the costumes blend modernism with hints in the style of BBC. Designers used a lot of leather and armor, but the gowns are generally long with feminine touches somehow incorporated with a lot of long trench coats and old weaponry. DG wears the same jeans and jacket throughout but just a small nod to Judy Garland's iconic Dorothy is her waitress uniform which mirrors the pinafore dress and white blouse. The ending is satisfying, but I also don’t think it realized its full potential. Fantasy leaves so many more doors open to the crew and director because it is pure imagination and I think in combination with its original concept, Tin Man is destined to become a classic in a class all its own.

CONTENT: many creatures appear out of no where, threatening their prey. All sorts of magic is implemented; one woman has a line of tattoos across her upper chest, images that come out of her skin at will, she also can kill a person by "taking" the life out of them , another gives her powers in much the same way to save someone dear to her. A witch inhabits the body of a young girl, twisting her mind. Many men wield swords and use them when their mistress commands it. [None of the results are overly bloody.] There may be a swear word here and there. There are no sex scenes or much else in a sensual way, but women do wear many form-fitting, shear and low-cut gowns. In order to get information, someone enters a type of brothel where it is implied the madam also provides a “phone sex” operation.


  1. My mom made homemade truffles one time. They tasted great! Well, scrumptious I mean. ;) Their appearance looked pretty great as well.

    If you want a great truffle recipe, try Allrecipes.com and search for 'truffles'.

    Good luck! :)

  2. I loved this show and I loved Alice but I've kind of abandoned the SyFy channels since they quit airing Doctor Who a few years back LOL! I have the feeling I'm missing out on a lot of good tv. :-( Great review!

    XOXO~ Renee

  3. Kate - cool! That is great to know. Thanks bunches for dropping by to tell me that, Kate. I really appreciate that.

    Have a lovely day. =)

    Renee - much to my surprise, I loved both this and Alice. They were so entertaining and well made, even if the special effects can be a bit "out there" on occasion. ;D

    I am really looking forward to seeing SyFy's latest miniseries which just released - I almost bought it today but held back. ;D

  4. This sounds like something my family would enjoy. I'll have to look it up. Thanks for the review, Rissi! :)

  5. The only thing I remember about this is that my mother was at my house when I was watching it. She was in the kitchen and at one point said, "WHAT IS WITH ALL THE BAD ACTING?!"

    Silly woman. It's the SyFy Channel. OF COURSE it is going to have bad acting. =P

  6. Lauren - this is loads of fun. I don't know that it is always "professional" in its special effects but in all other regards, I loved it.


    Charity - hmmm... I think I must disagree with your mother some. If I remember right, I didn't feel as if all of the acting was terrible. Regardless it was still good old-fashioned fun. I've revisited Alice, now I just need to see this again. =D

  7. I loved this miniseries! I seem to remember reading that once upon a time it was intended as a pilot for a possible TV show...sad that never panned out. Nonetheless I thought it was a fun twist on a familiar story.

  8. I didn't like this one. But I LOVED the Alice one.

  9. Much as I love Zoe and some of the other cast members, they do have monotone voices -- so I can see where if you were not watching them, just listening to them through an open doorway, you might think the acting was off. Her older sister Emily has the same lack-of-emotion in her voice. I still like them both, tho. ;)

  10. Ruth - reading all of these comments has made me want to watch this one again. It was such fun. =D

    Pilot... I'd never read that but that could have made a really fun series. Ah! Well - guess we have enough favorite television, right!? ;D

    Juju - Alice is probably my fave of the two but I really enjoyed this one. It is quirky to be sure but that is what makes it fun. =)

    Charity - I am not sure that I've seen Zoe in anything else... Funny thing is, Emily is PERFECT for her weekly character Bones. I cannot get over how well she has the character down. The lack of emotion in her voice is just what Bones demands as a character because she is so... practical and straight to the point.

  11. Replies
    1. It is - especially if you like quirk in your entertainment. :)


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