REVIEW: THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN (2008)

CAST

Benjamin Bratt (Catwoman)
Eric McCormack (Free Enterprise)
Christa Miller (Stepfather III)
Daniel Dae Kim (Insurgent)
Viola Davis (Suicide Squad)
Ricky Schroder (The Champ)
Andre Braugher (A Better Way To Die)
Louis Ferreira (Stargate Universe)
Paul Perri (Caprica)
Barry Flatman (Earth: Final Conflict)
Ted Whittall (BEauty and The Beast 2012)
Anna Galvin (Warcraft)
Jonathan Potts (Jason X)
Emily Holmes (Dark Angel)
Eve Harlow (Heroes Reborn)
Douglas O’Keeffe (Sanctuary)
Tom McBeath (Bates Motel)
Magda Apanowicz (Caprica)
Tom Butler (Blade: The Series)

as

PART 1

A United States government satellite crash lands near Piedmont, Utah, and two teenagers find it and bring it back to town. The town’s inhabitants open it and release a deadly microorganism, which is later codenamed Andromeda by the Army. A team is sent from the Army’s bio-defense department to retrieve the satellite, only to die from the disease themselves. The video footage recorded by the retrieval team and their strange deaths capture the attention of General George Mancheck, the head of the bio-defense department, who activates “Wildfire,” a team of five scientists who are called upon when high-level bioterror threats occur in the United States. The team, headed by its creator, Dr. Jeremy Stone, investigates Piedmont. They retrieve the satellite and rescue a hysterical 60-year-old man and a colicky baby who have survived the Andromeda outbreak.the-andromeda-strain-2008-5027c3a9a7c02In an isolated underground laboratory, the Wildfire team begins their examination of the downed satellite and the two survivors. The laboratory is powered by a small water-cooled nuclear reactor. In the event of a contamination breach, a 15-minute self-destruct sequence would be automatically initiated; however if the activated sequence is deemed unnecessary, Major Bill Keane, designated by the Odd-Man Hypothesis (which states that unmarried men are capable of carrying out the best, most dispassionate decisions during crisis), is the only person able to deactivate the sequence, using his pass key and right thumbprint.the-andromeda-strainThe scientists begin their analysis of the Andromeda strain by recovering a sample from inside the satellite. They initially discover that the microorganism is contained within a delivery system of buckyballs, a technology more advanced than anything known at present. The team theorizes that Andromeda may have an extraterrestrial origin, as it has no DNA or amino acids. The team discovers Andromeda is an airborne microorganism that kills its host by entering the bloodstream through the lungs and coagulating the blood in the body, causing death within 10 seconds via a blood clot in the brain. Those who manage to survive the blood clot become insane, extremely violent and suicidal. It is revealed that the two survivors from Piedmont had not been affected by Andromeda because of their acidotic blood. However, all initial tests with antibiotics and chemical agents regularly used to kill other microorganisms show no effect on Andromeda.the-andromeda-hth

Cable news reporter Jack Nash becomes aware of some of the events related to the fallen satellite and Andromeda. As he investigates further, Chuck Beeter, the Director of the NSA, uses General Mancheck’s aide, Colonel Ferrus, to perform assassinations to prevent knowledge of Andromeda from reaching the civilian population. Nash travels to one of the temporary Army outposts performing quarantine procedures, and witnesses the effects of Andromeda spreading through various modes of transportation. He becomes a target of assassination due to his presence at the outpost, but manages to escape Ferrus and his subordinates.screenshot-03Meanwhile, there is part of a government’s conspiracy who aims to contain the microorganism for further uses, probably bio-weapon related. To handle the situation, General Mancheck deliberately isolated the Wildfire team and cut their contact with the lab’s exterior. However, Jack Nash managed to report to Dr. Stone about Project Scoop, a secret program that was hidden by the government and General Mancheck. Mancheck, being forcefully questioned by Wildfire and fearing for the whole world’s safety being threatened by Andromeda, reveals the truth about the satellite. Project Scoop was one of several attempts to investigate a singularity, or a worm hole, that has mysteriously appeared in the Solar System. Sent specifically to collect biological samples, the satellite malfunctioned upon approaching the worm hole and fell back to Earth. It was picked up and released the deadly agent.image-w1280In an attempt to neutralize the problem, the President of the United States authorizes a small tactical nuclear strike on the quarantine area in hopes of completely irradiating and destroying Andromeda. When the Wildfire team is informed, they realize that they have not reviewed the test results for irradiating Andromeda. They find that the microorganism grows at an exponential rate when irradiated. The Wildfire team alerts the President, and the air-strike is called off before the pilot launches the nuclear missile. However, as the jet continues to fly over the quarantine area, the pilot reports a malfunction of the aircraft’s controls. Through video feed, the Wildfire team and President watch in shock and horror as all plastic components of the aircraft, including the pilot’s visor, disintegrate.andromeda-wildfire-team

PART 2

The nuclear missile is re-armed, the jet and missile crash into the ground, and the missile detonates, irradiating the quarantine area. The team examine the footage of the crash, and realize that Andromeda has mutated again and now becomes a plastic-eating variant.1024x1024As Andromeda grows and mutates into more virulent forms and takes host in anything from mammals and reptiles to the bird population, the Wildfire team continue their tests to find a way to stop Andromeda before it reaches Las Vegas, the closest city to the quarantine zone with an international airport. Further studies reveal Andromeda is actually a sulfur-based compound. A set of tests with phages reveals that one phage has the ability to kill Andromeda. However, repeated tests with this phage prove unsuccessful, causing the Wildfire team to theorize that Andromeda can communicate through an unknown mechanism among its separate parts. By the time they discover a binary code encoded on buckyball casings with potassium and rubidium atoms, the team suspects Andromeda to be a message according to the Messenger Theory. The information included the six-digit number “739528” and the words “Bacillus infernus” encoded in ASCII plus a bitmap image of a symbol with interlocking triangles. Bacillus infernus is the name of an archaebacterium found only at the thermal vents on the ocean floors. At this time, President Scott was championing the new and controversial industry of thermal vent mining, and it was likely that the mining would eradicate the bacteria. Wildfire requests samples of the bacteria to begin testing its effects on Andromeda.1024x1024Tests with Bacillus infernus reveal that the bacterium easily consumes and destroys Andromeda because of Andromeda’s sulfur structure. The Wildfire team begins to grow large amounts of the bacterium in culture vats, intending to release the cultures over the quarantined area once a sufficient quantity is grown. As the team watches the footage video of the crashed fighter jet, Dr. Stone suspects and considers the possibility that Andromeda did not attack until the launching sequence of the nuclear warhead has been halted, which means that it could probably think and so attack the jet to force the warhead to be detonated, hence accelerating its own growth. The team therefore begins to destroy the remaining samples of Andromeda in the lab in an attempt to prevent Andromeda from communicating the nature of the tests with its other parts.2354_11_screenshotAs part of a government conspiracy to preserve Andromeda for future use, Colonel Ferrus blackmails Dr. Barton to keep a sample. The sample mutates and disintegrates the sample casing, setting off the lab’s contamination breach sensor and initiating the self-destruct sequence. The self-destruct sequence also causes the flashing emergency lights to turn on, triggering Chou’s photosensitive epilepsy, which causes him to inadvertently destroy the self-destruct control panel on the lab level of the complex. With the elevators deactivated due to the self-destruct sequence, Keane decides to climb to the control panel on the level above through the lab’s main exhaust vent. However, the pipes and other components in the vent have begun to deteriorate due to the mutation in the Andromeda sample. The pipe Keane climbs suddenly bends, dangling Keane above the radioactive water at the base of the vent. Before falling, Keane manages to throw his badge to Stone. Realizing Keane’s right thumb is also required to shut down the self-destruct sequence, Chou sacrifices his life to enter the radioactive water to cut off Keane’s thumb for Stone. With Keane’s thumb and badge, Stone reaches the control panel and deactivates the sequences; albeit with only seconds to spare.Eventually, the bacteria being dropped eradicate all traces of Andromeda.2354_11_screenshotAs the remaining Wildfire team attends the funerals of their fallen colleagues, both General Mancheck and Colonel Ferrus are secretly assassinated. Dr. Stone reveals some of the events to the public in an interview with Jack Nash. In the final scene, the saved sample of the Andromeda is inserted into a containment compartment with the access code “739528”, held in a vessel marked with a symbol with interlocking triangles. Director Beeter watches over the operation on the computer in his office. The camera then zooms out, revealing Andromeda has been stored within a space station orbiting Earth. The ending implies that the sample saved on the space station is the cause of the outbreak in the future that necessitated sending the virus back to the present via the wormhole, creating an ontological paradox as to the virus’s origin. The ending also implies that Andromeda could really think, since the future outbreak of Andromeda has happened after the bacteria Bacillus infernus, the only thing capable of exterminating Andromeda, was completely destroyed, and so Andromeda avoided unnecessary risks by waiting for its right opportunity.1024x1024This is a well produced and well acted remake of a classic. The director manages to add more tension to an already excellent story.

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REVIEW: SUICIDE SQUAD

CAST

Will Smith (Men In Black)
Jared Leto (Urban Legend)
Margot Robbie (the Legend of of Tarzan)
Joel Kinnaman (Robocop)
Viola Davis (The Help)
Jai Courtney (Divergent)
Jay Hernandez (Hostel)
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Lost)
Cara Delevingne (London Fields)
Karen Fukuhara (Stray)
Ike Barinholtz (Bad Neighbors 1 & 2)
Scott Eastwood (The Forger)
Adam Beach (Ice Soldiers)
Ben Affleck (Gone Girl)
Ezra Miller (Trainwreck)
Ted Whittall (Smallville)
David Harbour (The Green Hornet)
Robin Atkin Downes (Babylon 5)
Jim Parrack (Fury)
James McGowan (Bitten)
Common (Wanted)
Kenneth Choi (The Terminal)
In the aftermath of Superman’s death, intelligence officer Amanda Waller assembles Task Force X, a team of dangerous criminals imprisoned at Belle Reve Prison consisting of elite hitman Deadshot, former psychiatrist Harley Quinn, pyrokinetic ex-gangster El Diablo, opportunistic thief Captain Boomerang, genetic mutation Killer Croc, and specialized assassin Slipknot. They are placed under command of Colonel Rick Flag to be used as disposable assets in high-risk missions for the United States government. Each member has a nano bomb implanted in their neck, designed to detonate should any member rebel or try to escape.

One of Waller’s intended recruits is Flag’s girlfriend Dr. June Moone, an archaeologist possessed by a witch-goddess known as the “Enchantress”. Enchantress quickly turns on Waller, deciding to eradicate humankind with a mystical weapon for imprisoning her. She besieges Midway City by transforming its populace into a horde of monsters, and summons her brother to assist her. Waller then deploys the squad to extract a high-profile mark from Midway, which is reported to be under a terrorist attack.

Harley’s homicidal lover, the Joker, finds out about her predicament and tortures Belle Reve Security Officer Griggs into leading him to the facility where the nano bombs are made. There, he blackmails one of the program’s scientists into disabling Harley’s bomb. On approach, the squad’s helicopter is shot down, forcing them to proceed on foot to their target. Boomerang inaccurately convinces Slipknot that the bombs are a ruse to keep them in check; Slipknot attempts to escape and Flag kills him via his nano bomb, while the squad is attacked by Enchantress’ minions. They eventually manage to fight their way through to a safe room, where they learn that their mark is Waller herself, who is attempting to cover up her involvement in Enchantress’ siege.

The squad escorts Waller to a rooftop for extraction, but the arriving helicopter has been hijacked by the Joker and his men, who open fire on the squad while Harley climbs aboard. However, Waller’s men shoot down the helicopter, and Harley falls out while the Joker is presumed dead, after which Harley rejoins the squad. Alerted to Waller’s whereabouts, Enchantress’ minions arrive and kidnap her. Deadshot finds Waller’s confidential files and learns the truth about Enchantress. Flag is then forced to confess the truth, causing the squad members to abandon him. With Waller compromised, Flag relieves the squad of the mission, but chooses to continue. Realizing they have an opportunity to prove themselves, they soon rejoin him and locate Enchantress at a partially-flooded subway station. Killer Croc and a group of Navy SEALs, led by Lieutenant GQ Edwards, go underwater to plant a bomb underneath her brother. El Diablo embraces his abilities and manages to distract Incubus long enough for the bomb to detonate underneath, killing them both as well as Edwards.

The remaining squad members battle Enchantress together, but are ultimately defeated. Enchantress offers to fulfill their deepest desires in exchange for their allegiance, and Harley feigns interest in order to get close enough to cut out Enchantress’s heart. Killer Croc then throws explosives into Enchantress’ weapon and Deadshot shoots them, destroying the device. Flag takes Enchantress’s heart and crushes it, finally freeing June from the curse. Waller, still alive, emerges, and the squad members are returned to Belle Reve with ten years off their sentences. All but Captain Boomerang are allowed special privileges. The Joker, alive and unscathed, breaks into the penitentiary and rescues Harley. In a mid-credits scene, Waller meets with Bruce Wayne, who agrees to protect her from the backlash of Enchantress’s rampage in exchange for access to the government’s files on the expanding metahuman community.Love this film. Margot Robbie, Will Smith, Jared Leto play there parts amazingly well and the other characters in the film were brilliant too ( but i really wanted to see this film for Harley and Joker and i was not disappointed). A Great introduction for Harley Quinn to the DC Cinematic Universe, with more to come Margot Robbie will  quickly become the definition of Harley Quinn.

REVIEW: THE BONE COLLECTOR

CAST
Denzel Washington (Training Day)
Angelina Jolie (Wanted)
Queen Latifah (Bringing Down The House)
Michael Rooker (Mallrats)
Ed O’Neill (Modern Family)
Luis Guzman (Waiting)
Leland Orser (Confidence)
John Benjamin Hickey (Alias)
Bobby Cannavle (Paul Blart Mall Cop)
Ted Whittall (Beauty and The Beast)
The film begins in late 1999. Tetraplegic forensics expert Lincoln Rhyme (Denzel Washington) and a patrol cop, Amelia Donaghy (Angelina Jolie), team up to solve a string of murders all connected to a serial killer by his signature: a single shard of bone is removed from each of the victims. Rhyme was paralyzed from the neck down in an earlier accident and is bed-bound and completely reliant on machines and his nurse Thelma (Queen Latifah) to function. He communicates with Amelia via headset as she examines the various crime scenes and collects evidence and reports back to him.
The killer poses as a New York taxi driver, and abducts and kills those who get in his taxi. The first two victims are a married couple named Alan and Lindsay Rubin, who take a taxi home but then find themselves kidnapped by the killer. Amelia finds Alan’s body buried in a Civil War-era railroad bed. She also finds a collection of clues including a pile of piece-ground oyster shells, which eventually leads Amelia – now working with Rhyme – to Alan’s wife, and a scrap of paper. The detectives find Mrs. Rubin, too late, at a steam junction in a below-ground services area of a building in the financial district, secured using old antique handcuffs or shackles at the mouth of a pipe which emits steam. She has been scalded to death from the steam. The killer has also removed a bit of flesh and bone from her arm. Amelia finds another scrap of paper at the scene.
The killer then abducts an NYU student. He is taken to a derelict slaughterhouse where he is tied to a pole and part of his thigh bone is surgically removed, and left for rats to feed on. Amelia and Rhyme, using the clues left by the killer at the scene of Lindsay Rubin’s death (rat hairs embedded in a bone from a cow’s body), find the victim, but again too late to save him. Again, the killer has removed a piece of the victim’s bone. Amelia is able to collect the evidence, including another scrap of paper. The pressure of the tense investigation and bureaucratic challenges to both Amelia’s and Rhyme’s involvement with the case are having serious impacts on Rhyme’s health and stability.
After piecing together the message the killer was sending using the scraps of paper, Amelia and Rhyme are led to an old crime novel, whose crimes the killer was replicating. This leads them to his next victims, a grandfather and granddaughter tied to a pier as the tide rises. The girl is the first victim they manage to save, but her grandfather dies. At the scene, Amelia finds another bone, part of an old police badge, and an old subway map. These clues, and an earlier clue left by the killer at the scene of Mrs. Rubin’s death (asbestos) lead Amelia to an abandoned subway station, in which Amelia sees some numbers which have been tampered with to spell out Rhyme’s police badge number. Amelia then figures out that the killer is after Rhyme.
The killer arrives at Rhyme’s house, and after killing Rhyme’s nurse, Thelma, and Captain Howard Cheney (Michael Rooker), it is revealed that he is the medical technician who cares for Rhyme’s medical equipment, Richard Thompson (Leland Orser). Richard’s real name is Marcus Andrews. An ex-forensic cop whom Rhyme’s testimony helped convict of planting false evidence at crime scenes, Marcus intends to exact his revenge. Rhyme manages to crush Marcus’s right hand by suddenly dropping his bed horizontal, and in the struggle to free himself, Marcus pulls Rhyme with him and they both collapse to the floor. Rhyme then manages to bite Marcus in the neck, causing massive bleeding. Marcus once again manages to free himself, grabbing his knife. As Marcus raises the knife for a killing blow, Amelia suddenly arrives at the apartment and shoots Marcus who falls down dead.
The film ends at a Christmas celebration at Rhyme’s apartment. Rhyme, having given up his plans to commit suicide, faces his sister and niece coming to visit him along with Amelia and his other colleagues on Christmas Eve. It is implied that Rhyme and Amelia have a relationship.
A great film with a wonderfully dastardly bad guy who is on the same level of Hanibal Lector of Twisted genius. A well crafted story and movie.

REVIEW: HUMAN TARGET – SEASON 1 & 2

Image result for human target logo

MAIN CAST

Mark Valley (Zeo Dark Thirty)
Chi McBride (Pushing Daisies)
Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen)
Indira Varma (Game of Thrones)
Janet Montogomery (Black Swan)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Tricia Helfer (Powers)
Donnelly Rhodes (Battlestar Galactica)
Adrian Hough (Underworld: Evolution)
Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon)
Ali Liebert (Legends of Tomorrow)
Courtney Ford (The Big Bang Theory)
Alessandro juliani (Smallville)
David Nykl (Arrow)
Aleks Paunovic (Mortal Kombat: Legacy)
Sean Maher (Firefly)
William Mapother (Powers)
Peter Bryant (Dark Angel)
Emmanuelle Vaugier (Two and a Half Men)
Sam Huntington (Superman Returns)
Kristin Lehman (Andromeda)
William B. Davis (The X-Files)
Chris Mulkey (Whiplash)
Dylan Neal (Arrow)
Brandon Jay McLaren (Power Rangers SPD)
Ted Whittall (Beauty and The Beast)
Mitch Pileggi (Stargate: Atlantis)
Leonor Varela (Blade II)
Kim Coates (Silent Hill)
Autumn Reeser (Sully)
Samantha Ferris (Along Came A Spider)
Lennie James (The Walking Dead)
Grace Park (Battlestar Galactica)
Peter Wingfield (Caprica)
Moon Bloodgood (Terminator Salvation)
Kavan Smith (Stargate: Atlantis)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Sanctuary)
Mackernzie Gray (Man of Steel)
Armand Assante (The Odyssey)
Christina Cole (Hex)
Robert Lawrenson (Underworld: Awakening)
Amy Acker (Angel)
Timothy Omundson (Xena)
Lee Majors (Ash vs Evil Dead)
Tahmoh Penikett (Dollhouse)
M.C. Gainey (Lost)
Cameron Daddo (Andromeda)
Tracie Thoms (Cold Case)
John Michael Higgins (Still Waiting)
David Orth (The Lost World)
Marie Avgeropoulos (The 100)
Tony Hale (Chuck)
Carlo Rota (Stargate Universe)
James Remar (Flashforward)
Nicole Bilderback (Buffy)
Steven Brand (The Scorpion King)

Christopher Chance (Mark Valley, Boston Legal), is a bodyguard for hire. His clients come to him as a last resort because their lives are in serious danger and they have no other alternatives. Chance’s mysterious past is only partially revealed as the season progresses–much of it in the season finale. What is known about him is that he’s probably a genius, he can hold his own in a fight, he’s a super-thief, he’s a crackshot with a gun, and the ladies love him.

In each episode, Chance typically assumes a cover to stay close and protect the client. He uses the client as bait to uncover the killer’s identity. In these episodes, Chance assumes a multitude of identities ranging from a prize fighter to a monk. Beyond Batman-like fighting skills, Chance’s best tools are his intelligence and charismatic personality; he holds his own in a conversation on any topic and masterfully fits in with any group of people. Joining Chance are Winston (Chi McBride, Boston Public, Pushing Daisies), his straight-laced handler, and Guerrero (Jackie Earle Haley, Watchmen), a computer hacker with questionable methods, but indisputable loyalty.Human Target is a throwback to the action series of the 80’s. While an intriguing backstory develops across the entire show, each episode is self-contained and follows a specific case from beginning to end. Viewers can practically jump in on any episode and not miss a beat. This is due in part to the swashbuckling, tongue-in-cheek script that never takes itself too seriously. It is also partly due to the brilliant performances by the main actors, Mark Valley, Chi McBride, and Jackie Earle Haley. The three play off each other extremely well. You can’t help but watch this show with a smile on your face as straight-man and former detective, Winston cringes at yet another action by Christopher Chance or Guerrero that gets the job accomplished, but is probably not entirely legal. Guerrero, especially, has morally ambiguous moments that cause those around him to be hysterically uncomfortable. When he makes his appearance on-screen, you know that hilarity and awesomeness are about to ensue. It’s similar to the height of Kramer’s heyday in Seinfeld where the studio audience would erupt when he appeared and he’d completely steal the scene. Laughs are guaranteed with Guerrero and his antics are accentuated into priceless gems by Winston’s reactions.The over-the-top action in each episode is wonderfully shot and rivals the quality of some Hollywood films. The outlandishness of the action is offset by the fact that the actors revel in the absurdity and take all the events in stride. No matter how desperate the situation, Christopher Chance always flashes a wry grin. His antics and expressions are reminiscent of Harrison Ford’s performances as Han Solo or Indiana Jones. The action is intense, but Christopher Chance can handle it and make you laugh while he does.Another testament to the excellent writing is that not a single episode is wasted. Obviously, some episodes are better than others, but all are highly watchable and re-watchable, action-packed, mysteries. Even the product placements are great and fit in with the spirit of the show. In the Tanarak episode, one of the most blatant product placements of all time occurs with a Camaro. It’s done with such blithe satire, instead of feeling the need to bathe after watching more advertisers nauseatingly snake their way into television, you just laugh at the silliness.In every episode, without requiring any background information, you are brought into the characters’ circle and get an immediate feel for their relationships. However, more information could have been provided earlier about Christopher Chance and his cohorts’ origins. Some of the information that was dumped in the final episode of this set could have been dispersed throughout the previous episodes. Instead you are left to fill in massive blanks with assumptions about the characters’ pasts. This is not a huge misstep by the writers because the characters’ mysterious origins are a large part of what makes the show so accessible.  This show is just pure fun to watch unfold and will appeal to practically anyone. Pop a bag of microwave popcorn, kick back, relax, and enjoy the ride.In season 2, with Matt Miller (Chuck) taking on executive producer-writer-show runner duties, he promised to flesh things out a bit without changing much of the original allure, which was good news. Mostly, he brought in Indira Varma  (Luther, Rome) as Ilsa Pucci, a widowed billionaire who takes a liking to the boys. And Janet Montgomery (Entourage) as a thief who also gets reluctantly entangled with the trio. So you can see the note Fox put on the show: Let’s leaven the testosterone a bit.And yet, nothing’s really changed. The escapism is sky high. Valley remains as charismatic as ever, with McBride’s disdainful asides and Haley’s chilly creepiness intact. It would be unfortunate if Human Target somehow got soapy or dumber, because good popcorn is rare.

 

REVIEW: TIN MAN

CAST

Zooey Deschanel (New Girl)
Alan Cumming (X-Men 2)
Neal McDonough (Arrow)
Kathleen Robertson (Bates Motel)
Raoul Max Trujillo (Highlander 3)
Callum Rennie (Legends of Tomorrow)
Richard Dreyfuss (Jaws)
Blu Mankuma (Robocop: The Series)
Anna Galvin (Caprica)
Ted Whittall (Smallville)
Gwynth Walsh (Star Trek Generations)
Kevin McNulty (Elektra)
Jason Schombing (Sanctuary)

The first section of this mini-series is riddled with references to the original story and the musical so many of us grew up with. I was expecting that. But imagine my surprise at the presence of machine guns and chain saws in Oz.  it is now called the Outer Zone, or the O.Z. Then, of course, there are hologram projectors, machines that can project what is in a person’s mind, and cyborgs. After the first section, it grows even farther from the old story. There are still references, of course, but it’s definitely not what we knew anymore.

Our heroine, DG, was born in the O.Z., but sent away as a child for her own protection. Unlike her somewhat whiny predecessor, this woman has a bit of attitude and brains. And some serious guts, as she demonstrates when she tries to help a family being attacked by Longcoats, the Sorceress Azkadelia’s henchmen.

Zooey Deschanel does a great  on her portrayal of D.C.. Azkadelia is definitely a far cry from the ugly Wicked Witch of the West. She may be beautiful, but don’t let that fool you. The old witch has nothing on this new version when it comes to evil and cruelty. In place of the Scarecrow, we have Glitch. Once a genius and Royal Adviser to the Queen, he has been reduced to a sometimes annoying, but lovable ditz. This, of course, is because he only has half a brain left. Literally. The witch had it removed so that she could use his knowledge for her own purposes. He keeps what marbles he has left sealed in his head with a zipper.

Replacing the Lion is Raw, a strange, but gentle creature with psychic abilities. Despite his timid ways, Raw is very capable of being brave, especially when it comes to his friends’ safety. The Tin Man is Caine. Or, rather, former Tin Man. “Tin Man” is the term used for police in the O.Z. He lost everything when he was discovered to be fighting for The Resistance. Worse, he was imprisoned in a sealed tin suit for years, forced to watch a holographic image of his family being tortured and taken from him over and over again. All he has left is the idea of revenge and keeping DG safe, since she is the only one who might be able to defeat Azkadelia. The Wizard is anything but wonderful. He might have been once, but has been reduced to a stoner dependent on Vapors, a magic equivalent of ecstasy. Still, in his sober moments he is a big help to the heroes.

The flying monkeys are still in. The old version, ugly though they were, still managed to have a slight cuteness about them. Not these. When they’re not out doing her dirty work, they accompany Azkadelia everywhere in quite a surprising way. Toto is also still in… sort of. The little dog is actually a shape-shifter who was once a teacher to both DG and Azkadelia. After 15 years of imprisonment, he is all too willing to help his former pupil.

Overall, I was impressed. There are spots that could have been better and things that could have been more thoroughly explained, but the concepts and story are quite imaginative. It is really long, but definitely worth at least one watch.  However, I must confess, I’m a little confused as to why it is titled “Tin Man.” That implies that Caine is the main focus of the story, which he is not, although he is given a much more significant role in this version. Oh, well. It was still good, so I guess it doesn’t really matter.