As I was about to rush out the door to investigate the matter of “The Golden Compass,” my attention was drawn to the opening of a six-hour replay of the Sci-Fi Channel’s “Tin Man.” Why go out into the cold to look into part one of a three-part fantasy trilogy when all three parts of another recent plot were presenting themselves so handily?
All of my contacts at the Yard were suspicious of the “Tin Man” business. A “re-imagining of ‘The Wizard of Oz’”? Just someone taking inspiration from the Broadway musical “Wicked,” they harumphed.
And yet it wasn’t to far into my investigation that “Tin Man” caught my interest as something wholly original to itself. While it follows the basic lines of “The Wizard of Oz,” “Tin Man” embroiders that plot so lavishly (and with a few clever twists) that it becomes something entirely new, much like “West Side Story” did to “Romeo and Juliet.” Sure, the recognizable elements are there. Sure, there are some wondeful little tributes to the original film. But they are woven seamlessly into a new fantasy, and a very enjoyable one at that.
Of course, Dr. Watson IV would suggest that I’ll sit through six hours of anything with the big blue eyes of Zooey Deschanel, who plays “DG” the grown-up Dorothy of this tale. And the rest of the cast is nothing to sneeze at. Alan Cummings as Glitch, the brainless “scarecrow” of the team, and Neal McDonough, as the title character (“Tin Man” being the Outer Zone name for a lawman, from his tin star.), are perfectly cast.“Tin Man” is rich with detail and wonderful little touches that harken back to “The Wizard of Oz,” without pandering or ruining its own magical world. The matter of “The Golden Compass” could definitely wait until another day.
What Great-grandfather Sherlock might have said: