Sy Fy

Witches of Oz artwork

  1. Episode 1
  2. Episode 2

Dorothy Gale - Paulie Rojas

Henry Gale - Lance Henriksen

Nick Chopper - Billy Boyd

Frack - Sean Astin

Princess Langwidere - Mia Sara

Wizard of Oz - Christopher Lloyd

Frank - Jeffrey Combs

Glinda - Noel Thurman

Tin Man

Jules Verne's Mysterious Island
Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire
Sword of Xanten

Episode 1

Dorothy Gale writes children's books about the mystical land of Oz, never realising that her stories are, in fact, repressed memories. She escaped from Oz as a small girl with a key that opens the book containing the spell of changing - the most powerful weapon in the world. The witches of Oz want the key and set about making her remember where it is so that they can take it away and kill her.

THE WIZARD OF OZ is a classic timeless tale and it keeps cropping up for remakes and reimaginings and the like for that very reason. If you're going to mess with somethign this iconic, though you had better have something pretty special up your sleeve because the original is so full of wonder and magic that it's going to take a lot to justify messing it up.

Unfortunately, there is nothing magical about this story. It starts off with an overlong introduction to the plot, all set with dodgy, cartoonlike CGI. Once this opening montage is over, however, it becomes clear that the CGI isn't going to get any better. Unfortunately, neither is the plot, which details Dorothy being tricked to New York to deal with a book publisher only to be manipulated by the witches. It is, in fact, more dull than anything else.

It doesn't help that the characters aren't all that interesting and the actors' performances vary in tone all over the place. Some are downright cartoony (Dorothy's illustrator friend and Sean Astin's Frack) whilst others are going for oscar drama standards (Lance Henriksen's excellent portrayal of Henry Gale deserves to be in another, better show). Mia Sara pops up as a deranged killer at one point, but that's one of the very few highlights.

Paulie Rojas makes for an appealing central character, though she is a bit wet and uninteresting as time goes on and there is nobody else to take up the slack. There is a nice sequence where the story of Frank L Baum is woven into the mythology, but single sequences do not a successful adaptation make.

The second part of this mini-series is going to have to pull something very special out of the bag to make up for this half.


Episode 2

The witches are unmasked and have Dorothy in their grasp, but there are also friends disguised amongst those around her and they are going to protect her until the final battle on the streets of New York when a years' old trap will be sprung.

Following the long and laboured set up of the first episode, this second part dispenses with plot almost altogether in favour of a series of action sequences in which the battles of Oz come to the streets of New York. This actually manages to make it a much better episode than the first, though there are still large flaws with it.

The revelation of the friends in Dorothy's life who are connected to Oz is fun, but hardly a surprise in any case and the lion's mouth appliance makes the actor look more unconvincing than ever and makes his speech impossible to follow. The Tin Man makes an appearance as an impressive special effect, but since he is introduced only to fight a large man who we have also never met before his presence is somewhat wasted.

Much more fun is Noel Thurman as Glinda who makes more out of her part than it deserves with her valkyriesque outfit and attitude.

The trap laid by the Wizard, which is mainly keeping Dorothy safe until she can use a magical word, doesn't make a lot of sense since she could have used the word as a little girl back in Oz when everything first started, thus rendering the whole storyline unnecessary.

The final showdown with the wicked witch at least has some nice touches that make it far less obvious that at first it appears it is going to be.






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