Tin Man

00.29.48 - Mark

Scifi channel has been hyping Tin Man (their big budget overly sponsored miniseries movie thing for the year) since last December, and I haven't been paying much attention to it since the whole "Wizard of Oz" remake thing just wasn't that attracting to me. I'm not a fan of the bright sun shinny fantasy world we see in the 1939 version (which like most people is the only version I'm really familiar with).

However with nothing much else on tonight when it started I turned it on and I'm glad I did. The acting is solid and the writing is enjoyable (even if the revamped scarecrow's lines are a little too good for someone lacking a brain). I love the visual aesthetic of Tin Man - some of it's a little unworldly (hovering cyborgs), but there are huge swatches of steampunk that get backed up with some steampunk character and world elements. Like the Battlestar Galattica reimaging, it's not trying to paint a Utopian picture, it's a darker grittier world where we get to see real problems and how the characters make tought decisions to overcome. However it still throws out referances to the source material that keep you paying close attention (I was reminded of a few when I looked over the wikipedia entry for the original book).

Tin man is a real treat to watch since it's more on par with a major movie production than what you expect from a made-for-TV movie.

My only real complaint with it so far is the CGI. This wouldn't be a problem, except Sci Fi has this horrible habit of getting the cheapest computer generated animations available, as if they dumpster dive at all the major CGI firms and walk away with 10 year old backups that they then hack into new movies. For example the Tornadoes in Tin Man look worse than the ones I remember being in Twister from 1996. Any SciFi channel original picture with a giant killer wave will always look far worse than what was created for The Perfect Storm in 2000. I'm willing to admit that Twister and The Perfect Storm had bigger budgets for special effects, but Moore's Law has had a clear effect on special effects - just look at the problems Hollywood is having with the Uncanny Valley. There's no good reason that the Scifi Channel (whose main audience by definition is geeks) should have shitty visual effects.

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