Wednesday, December 05, 2007

So What Did We Think Of Tin Man?

I haven't noticed a great groundswell of interest for Tin Man in the portion of the kidlitosphere in which I travel, even though it is a variation on the kid classic The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The mini-series ran on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday evenings on the Sci Fi Channel. Fuse did wonder what I thought of it, though, and, hey, I never have to be asked that kind of thing twice.

I definitely enjoyed picking up the references to and riffs on the movie version of The Wizard of Oz, which is the only Oz, I know. I liked how they entwined this new story around the old one.

I thought the main character, DG, was a little polarized. She appeared to be feisty, riding a motorcycle and picking up a stick to head into any fight she encountered. But she also looked totally stunned by what she was experiencing, pretty much all the time. I didn't think the two aspects of the character came together very well.

I really liked the neo-scarecrow. He was both a play on the movie scarecrow and very new. The lion was okay, but I didn't realize he was supposed to be cowardly until late in the plot. I found the tin man to be a problem. We definitely got more of a back story on him than on the scarecrow or the lion, but I didn't find him so pivotal to the story that it justified naming the program for him. Plus, his character was pretty much a stereotypical tortured, maybe noir, lawman. I think that could have been neat in Oz, but it didn't really work for me.

One thing that interested me a great deal about Tin Man is how similar the initial portion of the plot is to that of The Looking Glass Wars, which is also a variation on a classic, Alice in Wonderland. In both stories, you have an evil sister who overthrows the legitimate royal ruler of a kingdom. In both stories you have a young female royal family member who is hidden away in the real world for her own safety. She isn't aware of who she really is. (DG really doesn't know. Alyss has become so isolated from her own reality that she finally accepts the one she finds here.) Both young women have to go back to their fantasy worlds to save their kingdoms.

I don't know what that's about. Perhaps evil sisters and princesses in disguise are staples of fantasy and everyone uses them.

So there you have it, my response to Tin Man. In a nutshell, I'd say it was interesting, worth watching if you're at all interested in Oz, but with weak spots.

Speaking of The Looking Glass Wars, today bookshelves of doom reviews Seeing Redd, the second book in The Looking Glass Wars Trilogy. It was published in August. The first book got lots of buzz, but I'd heard nothing about the second one until I read Leila's review today.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

An Alice Connection

The Last Mimzy, which is supposed to be opening this Friday, is based on the short story Mimsy Were The Borogoves by Lewis Padgett. The story was available on-line so recently that I actually have a hardcopy and have read it. (Not that I'm gloating or anything.) It appears to have disappeared on the Internet. (The Mathematical Fiction site I just linked to also has spoilers, so don't read it if you're planning to see the movie.)

The short story was published in 1943 and seems very mid-twentieth century middle class to me. The parents have drinks before dinner. The family has a housekeeper. Mom is intelligent and seems well-educated but doesn't appear to do anything. The story is also quite dark. As I was reading it I thought it sounded like a Twilight Zone episode. It wasn't, but another short story by Padgett was the basis for a Zone.

Gee, I've mentioned The Twilight Zone two days in a row.

Anyway, the title of the original short story, Mimsy Were The Borogoves, comes from The Jabberwocky, which appears in Alice Through the Looking Glass. The Alice connection continues in the short story. I'll try to get to the movie to see if it appears there, too.

But I'm not giving anything away now.

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