Sci-Fi’s “re-imagining” of L. Frank Baum’s THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ concludes as DG (Zooey Deschanel), Glitch (Alan Cumming), Cain (Neal McDonough), and Raw (Raoul Trujillo) learn that the sorceress Azkadellia (Kathleen Robertson)–DG’s older sister–is actually possessed by a terrifying Witch (Karen Konoval). Now, having arrived at the once-peaceful Finaqua, DG must dig deep within herself to unlock her mother, the rightful Queen’s (Anna Galvin) final clue to the location of the Emerald of the Eclipse. Tutor (Blu Mankuma) is caught by Cain with the magical coins he’s been leaving for Azkadellia’s Monbats to find, but confesses he only agreed to be the sorceress’ spy to help DG defeat her sister. Meanwhile, Azkadellia’s hunt for DG and the Emerald intensifies as the O.Z.’s duel suns near the double-eclipse that will allow her to activate Glitch’s Sunseeder. The device was intended to extend daylight and allow for a longer harvest season for the farmers, but Azkadellia wants to reverse it during the eclipse, plunging the realm into eternal darkness.
DG continues to uncover clues about the Emerald’s location by unlocking her memories. In Finaqua, she restores the lush lakes decimated by her sister’s spells, and learns from a message left by the Queen that a man named Ahamo knows the gem’s location. To find him, they must travel to the Realm of the Unwanted, an underground refuge for the O.Z.’s criminals. There, they encounter the Seeker (Ted Whittall), who claims he can lead them to Ahamo. But they are betrayed by the Seeker’s cohort, and Glitch, Cain, and Raw are captured by bounty hunters. Seeker makes off with DG, and reveals that he’s actually Ahamo–the Queen’s consort, and DG and Azkadellia’s father. Zero (Callum Keith Rennie) shows up to take custody of the three captured travelers, but they are all captured by the Eastern Resistance, which is led by Cain’s now-grown son, Jeb (Andrew Francis).
Azkadellia has journeyed to Finaqua herself, and sees the Queen’s message for DG. Knowing Ahamo is their father, she remembers a trinket she and DG once gave him, imbued with both their magic. Azkadellia sends her Monbats to seek the “shining light” of that trinket, knowing her father would have kept it all these years. Ahamo takes DG to where the Emerald is kept–the Gray Gale, an invisible tomb of the Queen’s ancestors. Inside, they find the oldest tomb belongs to the first queen: Dorothy Gale (Grace Wheeler)! She enters the vault, and sees a black-and-white version of her own farm, and is given the Emerald by the ghost of Dorothy herself. Unfortunately, Azkadellia has followed them. She imprisons her father, then takes the mystical gem from her little sister and imprisons her in a green marble casket.
Cain and Jeb are distant at first, and Jeb is obsessed with killing Zero. After prying as much information regarding the Sunseeder from the Longcoat leader as they can, Cain decides to imprison him in one of his own iron man capsules. If they are successful in defeating the sorceress, they’ll return for him and he’ll stand trial. First, they must try to stop the Sunseeder from being activated, and the resistance members will try to get Glitch, Cain, and Raw inside the palace so they can sabotage it. DG, remembering Tutor’s lessons from her childhood, is able to release herself from her marble tomb. Tutor, in his Toto form, finds DG and leads the three men to her. They all return to Azkadellia’s palace, but DG admits she must try to release her sister from the Witch’s grasp, and isn’t sure she could kill her if she can’t.
The Resistance provides cover as DG, Glitch, Cain, and Raw go back through the vents into the bowels of the fortress. Toto also goes in, to keep an eye on their escape route. They make their way to the Control Room, where Glitch’s brain is being used as a living computer to run the Sunseeder’s systems. As the eclipse commences, Azkadellia lets the Queen and Ahamo watch as she starts the process that will lock the twin suns into a permanent eclipse. DG arrives at the castle’s tallest tower to find her parents together, helpless to stop their oldest daughter from destroying the land. She confronts Azkadellia, and admits it’s all her fault that the Witch was released and took control of her. Pleading, she asks her sister to take her hand once again, remembering they were invincible when they joined their powers.
In the Control Room, Glitch is joined to his brain with Raw’s help, and they start shutting the Sunseeder down. Azkadellia’s men incapacitate Tutor, causing him to shift back to Toto. They break into the control room, and the scientist Vy-Sor (Donny Lucas) overpowers Cain and Raw with his electronic prod. He forces the young Viewer Kalm (Cainan Wiebe) to get the codes back from Glitch to restart the machine. Up in the tower, Azkadellia finally gathers the strength to break free from the Witch, and joins hands with DG. But the old hag is still bathed in the glow of the Sunseeder, and uses its energies to attempt to wrest the Emerald from Azkadellia. Cain recovers from the electric shock, and he and Glitch overpower the guards, while Raw finally finds the courage to overpower Vy-Sor. As the Witch grows more powerful, Glitch remembers the final shutdown code. With the Sunseeder off, the Wicked Witch melts into a puddle of black goo. With the eclipse over, the land is bathed in light once more, and DG realizes she’s finally “home.”
While Part Three had the least derivative plot aspects of the entire TIN MAN mini-series, it was such a muddled mixture of elements from various science fiction and fantasy books and films, the Sci-Fi Channel and RHI Entertainment could be sued by just about anyone for plagiarism. Sometimes, you watch and wonder why they didn’t just attempt an original dark fantasy story, without painfully shoehorning in the references from THE WIZARD OF OZ. Then, you realize that the story is so limp and listless that the only reason to bother with it is the OZ connection. So, this reinterpretation ends up getting lost in the ineptitude of the writers and director Nick Willing. And, considering the way it just screeches to a halt, hit end credits (and over-the-credits promos for upcoming lame crap movies), with no real resolution for the characters, the level of creative incompetence becomes astoundingly apparent.
Until now, I haven’t mentioned TIN MAN’s musical score. Simon Boswell has composed a theatrical-level orchestral score that’s generally intrusive, and often just far too pompous. TIN MAN might want to think it’s a grand, epic tale, but the music is just too pretentious for its own good. Another key element is the make-up, and special make-up designer Bill Terezakis (THEY WAIT, THE LAST MIMZY, X-MEN: THE LAST STAND, 2003’s BATTLESTAR GALACTICA) phoned it in. Glitch’s zipper-up-the-scalp looks ludicrous, the make-ups for Raw and the other Viewers look like leftover appliances from THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU, and the Wicked Witch is more ARMY OF DARKNESS Pit Bitch than Margaret Hamilton. Nothing new, exciting, or worthy of being associated with OZ on display here. And, that’s the overall problem with TIN MAN. In trying to be a post-modern updating of a classic, all it does is prove that there’s a reason L. Frank Baum’s original tale has lasted over a century, while dreck like this will soon be in the DVD clearance bins of your nearest big-box store.
Meanwhile, those who missed TIN MAN can tune in this Sunday, December 9, at 5PM, when Sci-Fi Channel airs all six hours back-to-back.