Part three only proves that part two was the real shining piece of the Tin Man story, with its mystery-unraveling exploration of the wide land of The Outer Zone and its plot-changing reveal at the end.
By comparison, the fifth and sixth hours are quite mundane.
Look, I hate to be so negative, because I really wanted to like this steam punk take on the Oz mythos. Unfortunately, I can’t just shrug off the long and distinguished list of problems I had with the third installment.
First, the finalé to this $20 million affair is too long. Parsed into two-hour segments, I was hard-pressed to pay close attention once the reveal finished and the climax started.
Even then, an entire hour and a half is dedicated to plodding chase-the-maguffin chicanery: Find the seeker to get to the king to get to the emerald before the sorceress.
My other complaint is a lack of motivation. When the evil witch that possesses Azkadellia finally steals the emerald, she has a remarkably one-dimensional agenda. It’s never explained what she hopes to accomplish by using it to destroy The OZ. I mean, presumably doing so would destroy herself as well, and I have a hard time seeing how that would be an advantage.
It also doesn’t explain why so many lackeys are willing to help her, knowing full well what the doomsday machine will do.
Don’t worry. DG and her band of freedom fighters storm the
Death Star castle to save Yavin IV from destruction by the Death Star laser emerald-powered doomsday device and help the evil Sith Lord Darth Vader sorceress Azkadelia return from the Dark Side cast out the witch and save the day.
By the end, the biggest weakness of the series is a frustrating lack of character development. Sure, DG recovers her childhood memories, but she never really changes from the odd little duckling. Cain only becomes mired more in his stoic depression over his wife’s death, finding comfort but not much growth when he is reconnect with his son. Glitch remains the same awkward court jester, and the lion, Raw, gets so few lines or use that he might as well have been killed off long ago.
Also, WHY IS THIS MINI-SERIES CALLED TIN MAN? Cain is not the pivotal character, he doesn’t move the story, he doesn’t solve the central conflict, he isn’t ever really instrumental in saving the day, and the writers spend far more time glorifying Kathleen Robertson’s cleavage than making us care about Cain.
It’s easy to forgive that last part. Robertson is haaaaawt.
I feel obliged to say something positive.
The one way where the whole miniseries prospers is by giving off the vibe that this version is how things really happened, and the candy-coated 1939 version is just the garbled telephone-game retelling that passed into legend. You can choose to interpret many fan-service references to the Technicolor classic as homage, but it’s more fun to think of it the other way around.
Also, while most of the special effects are pretty shallow green screen tricks, take a look at the wicked (pun intended) scene where Azkadellia is talking to her reflection in the water. Her reflection is the witch’s personality, and moves independently on the rippling lake. It’s a spiffy, subtle little effect that got a lot of mileage in my book.
When it’s over, Tin Man has a brain but little heart. It’s more a curiosity to be examined for its mechanisms rather than any real inspiration.
The conclusion repeats Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 9 at 9 p.m.