Thursday, December 27, 2007

Another Video

Well, December had releasing 3 new videos to YouTube. Sam planned another video, a trailer for the 1994 live action version of "Volshebnik Izumrudnovo Goroda," based on Alexsandr Volkov's adaptation of "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" for Russia. I hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Tin Man

Two little princesses, dancing in a row,
Spinning fast and free on their little toes.
Where the light will take them, no one ever knows,
Two little princesses dancing in a row...

Okay, so I've seen Tin Man. Twice. And first off, it is better on the second time around.

The story opens with a young woman named DG who lives in Kansas with her folks. She has strange dreams where she sees strange scenes and a beautiful woman with lavendar eyes speaks and sings to her. She is a free spirit, ready to tease Officer Elmer Gulch (yes, you heard right) on her motorcycle.
But a storm is coming...
DG and her parents are surprised one night by men in strange trenchcoats. DG is led to the roof by her parents and is made to jump into a tornado!
DG awakes in a strange country, where she finds ruin from her house in Kansas, no sign of her parents, and midgets who capture her, believing her to be a spy of the Sorceress Azkadelia. While imprisoned, she meets Glitch, a man with a zipper in his skull. Half of his brain has been removed, so "sometimes my synapses don't fly right." He reveals that DG has entered "The O.Z.," the Outer Zone.
DG and Glitch escape, and wind up rescuing Wyatt Cain, a Tin Man, one of the Mystic Man's police force. Cain helps them save Raw (a "viewer," a half beast/half man race. Raw himself bears a resemblance to the portrayals of the Cowardly Lion by Bert Lahr and Ted Ross.) from becoming dinner in the Fields of the Papay.
As they take the Old Road (or "The Brick Route") to Central City, DG discovers that the O.Z. is in fact her home. She finds her "parents" (or, as they call themselves, "nurture units") are more android than human. In fact, they are not her parents. Her mother seems to be the mysterious woman from her dreams.
DG and her comrades make it to Central City, where they see the Mystic Man, who reveals that DG needs to unlock her memories, so DG must go north.
As DG journeys the O.Z., she (and we, as the audience) discovers many fascinating items of her past. Azkadelia is wicked, or is she? Who are her parents? Who was the other girl she lived with in the O.Z.? What secrets lie in the past of Glitch and Cain? And what is the Emerald of the Eclipse, and where is it?
The acting in Tin Man is superb. Zooey Deschanel as DG is endearing, although some feel her natural charm was wasted on the role. Alan Cumming is hilarious and serious as Glitch, pulling off the role with a professional air. Neal McDonough is dead-serious as Cain, but can be emotional when he needs to. Raoul Trujillo is excellent at re-inventing the mighty, sniveling beast. And Kathleen Robertson... WOW! She pulls off evil in a way that rivals Tilda Swinton!
The special effects and CG are almost believable. Not quite lifelike, but these work excellently.
The story is captivating and intriguing. The writing is simply delicious. However, something lacks: there is a lot of backstory not explained in the 4 & 1/2 hours that Tin Man approximately runs for. I would like to see the story continue, myself. Maybe a sequel, or TV series, or series of sequels, or even a comic book series?
Tin Man is not The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, nor does it pretend to be. It is a tribute to how adaptable Baum's story can be.
Great job, SciFi!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Wonders of Oz: Oz Club Special

Well, I've finished this special episode.

This was going to be part of "Wonders 4," back before THAT became a 2-part episode. Before that decision, I cut it, thinking that episode 4 was long enough. (Looking back, I should have left it in... If I ever do a re-cut...)

Aaron had the idea of adding some biographical information about John Fricke. He indeed wrote it himself, I just edited...

Marcus Mebes and Jane Albright are to thank for the "Top 10" list...

And that animation at the end? Made it MONTHS ago... Before there was a "Wonders" series, I had intended to make a music video for the Club's 50th anniversary. Well, I decided to do THIS instead...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Tradition Is Shared!

Last year, I mentioned that I re-read The Life & Adventures of Santa Claus and A Kidnapped Santa Claus every year. This year, I was able to watch the Rankin/Bass adaptation on the DVD I made in March this year. (I couldn't watch the Universal version: VCR/DVD Recorder conked out, and I have not yet been able to make a DVD.) I should pop in the Oz Kids "Who Stole Santa?" sometime soon. (Unfortunately, I don't know where you can get the Anime televsion series...) There's also a new version in the works, seemingly live action this time, but it appears to be an indie.

This Christmas, I've been able to share the tale with my youngest siblings, Genevieve, Arthur, and Daniel. (Thank you, Rankin/Bass!)

You can also get free audio books of these stories from Librivox. (The Life & Adventures of Santa Claus) (A Kidnapped Santa Claus, scroll down)

I've also updated and added some information on this Baum tale on Wikipedia.

Now for another matter. Currently, none of the adaptations of this are on DVD. (Seemingly, we have my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to thank for labelling the Rankin/Bass version as "satanic.") So, I've begun a petition for the Rankin/Bass version to be released, as it is the most likely to be released.

You can find a scholarly discussion on the book on Books of Current Focus.

J. Matt Bloom and I have also discussed this and some of Baum's other books and it's grounds in multiple mythologies. (And they thought Narnia was the first one to do that!) Maybe he'll give me permission to post some excerpts from our discussions sometime.

And now, let's close this with a video clip from the R/B version, shall we?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Oz in Inkheart

This video has been going around recently. It actually looks like it'll be a good movie! (And it has Andy Serkis!)

Notice how Toto and Dorothy's house make cameos? Nice! I have to admit, that is the nicest looking Toto I've ever seen!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Coldest Spring Ever

It was a wet, cold day today. It was raining lightly, and icy cold wind continued to blow almost all day. About 11:50 AM, CST, I went to check the mailbox. There's the phone bill (which I need to call the phone company about to save over $45 on it...), something for my sister (who's moving to Kansas in two weeks), and the Spring 2007 Baum Bugle. Suddenly, I didn't mind the cold THAT much...

Here's what's up... The front cover reproduces the front cover of Aunt Jane's Nieces Abroad. Then we head over to Oz and Ends... No mention of "Wonders," here... I should submit that... Okay, the Munchkins from the MGM Wizard of Oz finally have a star on the Walk of Fame, a word about the MacFarlane movie (I predict development HELL for it... fingers crossed...), Front Porch Classic's "Wonderful Wizard of Oz" board game, the Library of Congress's short flash-based Oz trivia game, the new Club pin (I need to get that!), a few Oz comics, Edward Einhorn's Unauthorized Magic in Oz on YouTube (it doesn't indicate that he uploaded it), translating the Magic Land books with BabelFish, W.W. Denslow's Humpty Dumpty now available from Applewood Books, and Baum's Tamawaca Folks now available from

Oz Club president Angelica Shirley Carpenter looks behind the scenes of one of her favorite book series as a child, the Aunt Jane's Nieces series by Edith Van Dyne, to find traces of the real author, Oz creator L. Frank Baum.

H. Allen Pickrell examines the Boy Fortune Hunters series. (This one was weird. I've read 4 out of the 6 books, so much of it was familiar. Thanks, David Maxine! I'm looking forward to reading the other two!)

Bugle editor Sean P. Duffley examines Baum's (or Suzanne Metcalf's) Annabel and how Baum paid a tribute to Horatio Alger.

Next is L. Frank Baum's "The Orchestra," which he wrote for The Uplifters.

Then we go to the reviews! MultimediOz reviews Rankin/Bass' Return to Oz on DVD, and Injoy Game's Bejeweled-style game based on The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The Oz Bookshelf reviews the English translation of Enrique Fernandez's French comic book adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Collected Short Stories of L. Frank Baum, Wildside Press' reprint of Aunt Jane's Nieces in the Red Cross, Marcus Mebes' The Bashful Baker of Oz, Joshua Patrick Dudley's Lost in Oz, Scratch & Sketch "Wizard of Oz", and Roger S. Baum's Toto in Oz and the Surprise Party.

The Magic Picture reveals the Hollins Oz-Fest at Hollins University in Virginia.

Rounding out the issue are contemporary reviews of some of Baum's pseudonymous work, bibliographic entries on the Sam Steele books (later the Boy Fortune Hunters series, and the Oz Calendar.

The back cover is a surprise. It's a color plate by Eric Shanower for Hungry Tiger Press's deluxe edition of The Boy Fortune Hunters in Yucatan. It shows the charactes Ama, Paul, and Chaka from the story, all dressed in the clothig of the Tcha. At first, it was unrecognizable, but the description inside helped out.

Another excellent issue. (Where's Oz In The News, though?) If you're not in the Club yet, join!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Here's a video I put together! Merry Christmas, one and all!

In addition, here is the complete list of Wonders episodes so far.

1. L. Frank Baum & The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
2. L. Frank Baum: 1900-1919
3. Oz Continues
4. The Wonderful Fans of Oz (Part 1) (Part 2)
5. Before the Rainbow
6. Leo in Oz

WONDERS SPECIAL: The International Wizard of Oz Club
7. International Oz

8. Public Domain Oz
9. Ease On Down The Road
10. Disney & Oz
11. Wicked
12. 21st Century Oz

13: Finale

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The Making of "Tin Man."

It is 10:15 PM, CST.

According to a friend, "Tin Man" premeired tonight at 8PM. As each part is two hours, pretty soon, we should be hearing everyone's thoughts on it. I, however, must wait for a few days, as a co-worker is taping the miniseries for me. (Sorry, but with a tight pocketbook, it wasn't worth getting special channels just to see this.) I'll still buy the DVD when it's released in March.

But, till then, here's the "Making of Tin Man" special...