STUDIO:  Rhi Entertainment
MSRP: $19.95
RUNNING TIME:  265 Minutes
-    Beyond the Yellow Brick Road featurette
-    On Set With the Director
-    Gag Reel
-    Interviews with the Cast and Crew

The Pitch

It’s bad fan-fic made corporeal to haunt your face.

“I got one of the tech guys to make this thing 32x compatible.  Awesome, right?”

The Humans

Zoey Deschanel, Alan Cumming, Neal McDonough, Richard Dreyfus, Kathleen Robertson

The Nutshell

DG (Deschanel) reminds you of a certain someone from cinema’s past, as she’s a small-town waitress with a big city attitude. However, an attack and a fortuitous leap into a tornado later, DG finds her self in a land known as ‘The O.Z.’ (Yup. I swear I’m not fucking with you.) where she meets a handful of familiar types along the way: a man without a brain, a ‘tin man’, and a cowardly lion. She’ll need their help to escape the clutches of the evil princess Azkadellia (Robertson, and I hope the catering and/or paycheck was worth it) who’s looking to capture DG for her own nefarious purposes.

Rough approximation of what I looked like by minute two hundred and sixty-five of Tin Man.

The Lowdown

Unnecessary remakes and sequels have been a fact of life for long before movie magazines and film critics have trumpeted them as the death of cinema. They’re a fact of life in the movie industry, a shining example of the ‘no new ideas’ paradigm taken to its lazy conclusion. However, some properties are still able to infuriate everyone with their almost inexplicable existence. Tin Man is one such product. Have you found yourself watching the Wizard of Oz and thinking, “This is all well and good, but I’d like to see this scenario regurgitated from the perspective of a thirteen year old boy”? If so, this is precisely the movie you’ve been waiting for. Indescribably boring, dour and lacking any vitality whatsoever, Tin Man is the antithesis of everything the original Oz was, stretched out garishly over an interminable six hour span.

This movie makes its hay from slight tweaks from the original Oz’s formula, specifically tweaks that seem to have come from the mind of a hormone-ravaged adolescent racist.  Remember the flying monkeys? And how they were fucking terrifying?  Well now they fly out of the wicked witch’s boobs! AWESOME! Remember Toto? Now he’s a black guy AND a dog! Do you like the Tin Man? Now he’s packing heat! Did you like Auntie Em and Uncle Henry in the original? No? Well, now they’re robots! So despite the attempt at changing and revising the template set by the original, they still stay pretty close to the source material, only making room for these wholly retarded cosmetic changes. However, they’re only one atrocity in the litany committed by this pile of steaming wetfart.

The aforementioned titmonkeys.

There’s ineptitude at every stage of the game, leaving enough blame for the world to indulge in on this project. The script, direction and acting are all below below par and can all be singled out for special scorn as part of the wholesale failure of this enterprise. On the level of the script it manages to take each character in this film and equip them with character beats and quirks established at the outset only to disregard them and never utilize them again for the duration of the picture. Case in point: the character of Glitch, played by Alan Cumming. It’s established at the outset that since his brain has been removed he sometimes has a ‘glitch’ and repeats things multiple times. As an astute viewer of films you would take this as foreshadowing that perhaps this would figure into the plot at a crucial moment somewhere down the line. For example, the scene during the climax in which he’s relaying crucial information to his fellow protagonists in order to foil the evil plot would seem like precisely the time in which this character quirk would come in to play. You would be wrong. This film teaches you that you establish character traits and then discard them immediately thereafter, because who’s going to remember silly details twenty eye-sodomizing minutes later? It blends into one giant writhing ball of hurt in your brain after a certain amount of time, so what’s the need for attention to detail? Perhaps the most offensive trait of the screenplay is its attempts at placing itself in the same chronology as the original, only set further down the line. Its one thing to clumsily fail at trying to recapture the magic of the original, but don’t try to place your work alongside the other as part of the canon. It’s fucking heretical. 

“Devin!  You thought you could hide behind the internet??  Block this pop-up, motherfucker!”

The place the film falters most, and it truly lets down its performers, is in the acting department. Nobody comes out of this looking good, although I will say now that Neal McDonough and Richard Dreyfus seem to realize the tenor of the project and try to elevate it at least, even if they don’t particularly succeed. Alan Cumming is given nothing to do, and as a result sort of flails around and constantly refer to his lack of a brain in lieu of any acting. Kathleen Robertson vamps it up in a truly atrocious performance, where somehow her costume manages to meet her at the summit of Mount Campbutnotinafuntowatchevenifyou’redrunksortofway. However, special attention must be given to the truly heinous performance of Zooey Deschanel. Now, if you’ve seen The Happening you’ve probably thought to yourself “Wow, nothing could’ve prepared me for how terrible she was in that movie.” However, this mini-series was like Silver Surfer, a herald of the horrible acting that was yet to come. Her performance is Razzie-level, and I don’t think it’s really her fault: she is completely let down by being put into a position where she has to show wide-eyed wonderment with her surroundings and the situations.  Earnestness and wonder are not Zooey’s trademark talents. She’s best when she’s playing things sardonic or more realistically. At some point during this production someone should’ve told her she comes off as particularly low-functioning on the mental health spectrum whenever she tries to register a reaction of awe, surprise or shock.  One thing can be said for certain of these performances: whenever you see these actors again in a film you’ll feel like Dorothy in the original Oz, waking up from a terrible dream that they somehow managed to include themselves in.

For your edification, the Monodeschanelith.

The direction could’ve been the sole highlight of the picture, adding life and at least manufactured interest in the proceedings in a purely visual sense, but the camera doesn’t do much of anything. When it goes dutch as we watch Azkadelia’s followers working in her castle we feel confused as to why the camera has specifically chosen this and only this moment in which to free itself from the shackles of establishing/two-shots. I can count the number of times where I felt a sequence was adroitly or competently directed in a way that at least covered for the series other deficiencies on no hands. There’s no vitality or energy behind any of the sequences, everything feels perfunctory (and there’s some truly hideous SFX work when the forest creatures, whatever the fuck they were called, are chasing our protagonists through the woods; it looks like they’re speed walking for their lives). There isn’t a complete dearth of compliments to be given to the series, though. It has a really remarkable sheen to it, with immense scope for a television mini-series. The universe feels lived in and the set design is really solid, and even the costume design is worthy of praise. Even some of the ideas aren’t complete shit; the tin box rebels are kept in as punishment is an inspired concept (although how exactly he stays alive and grows a hobo beard without any nourishment is something that begs answering). There was also one or two shots in the film that contained the spark of wit that the entire six hours needed to be infused with, but at a grand total of about forty-five seconds over three-hundred and sixty minutes it’s a pretty poor average (don’t see a lot of major leaguers batting .002). This is a huge misfire and a blight on everyone’s resumes, avoid at all costs.

It was hard for the cast to get much in the way of constructive feedback from the director, Sarah Bellum.

The Package

The cover art is emblematically plain and gives you just a hint of the vast treasure trove of Deschanel faces contained within. The three part miniseries is spread out over two discs with the first two parts on disc one and the last part and all special features contained on disc two. And lo and behold, the special features are held to the same rigorous quality standards of the feature, and are all a hellish slog to get through. The gag reel is notable for not containing any bloopers, and the behind-the-scenes featurette seems to show off how ‘fun’ and ‘energetic’ the set was, instead coming off as a lame birthday party where your uncles get drunk and dance to whatever’s playing on the radio. And the cast interviews take on a shambolic conversational tone, whereas I would’ve treated them like the Nuremberg Trials, holding these people responsible for the crimes they’ve committed.  

2.4 out of 10

Yogi wept.