Based on the Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, this retelling of the story has a few twists. DG (Dorothy Gale) is a small-town waitress who is pulled back into the Land of Oz (now called the Outer Zone) where she meets up with three strangers representing the three characters from the original story. Together they battle the Zone’s evil ruler, Azkadellia.
Zooey Deschanel (DG), Alan Cumming (Glitch), Neal McDonough (Wyatt), Raoul Trujillo (Raw), Kathleen Robertson (Azkadellia), Callum Rennie (Zero), Richard Dreyfuss (Mystic Man), Blu Mankuma (Toto).
This is an interesting mini-series remake of the classic story with some character modernization. Glitch, representing the scarecrow, has had his brain removed as part of an evil plot. Wyatt is called a Tin Man which is the slang name for a cop in the Outer Zone (a.k.a Oz). Raw resembles a lion but with ESP type powers, while Toto is actually a shape-shifter who frequently prefers to be a dog. Mystic Man is a strange representation of the Wizard while Azkadellia makes a wonderful dark witch. Yes, there is even a sort of Yellow Brick Road of sorts!
Acting was solid by most everyone involved. Deschanel did well but someone with more energy might have brought more to the series. Cumming was hysterical and McDonough was a good choice for his role. The rest of the cast fit their roles well and delivered nicely.
Camera work, sets, and backgrounds were all nicely done giving the film a more contemporary feel compared to the original full-tilt fantasy while at the same time incorporating most of the concepts of the original. Special effects were varied and nicely done throughout the film while again being updated with a nod to the past. Dialogue was good while sound became mundane with the same music seemingly played over again at every turn. An updated soundtrack would have done a lot for the film.
Overall the series exhibited good quality from most every aspect. The pace was good and the plot solid if somewhat simplistic. For anyone curious what happened to Oz after the original story this will probably be an enjoyable follow-up. Anyone looking for a story compliant with the original will most likely be disappointed. If you are open to other ways of telling a classic story check this out!
Nothing here to limit audience age but very young viewers or those who have never seen the original may not find a lot to enjoy here.
Officialy Syfy movie site
Star rating: 4 out of 5
copyright ©2010 Dave Riedel
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