DG (Zooey Deschanel) is a waitress in a small town, living on a farm in Kansas with her parents (Gwynyth Walsh and Kevin McNulty). She feels as though she does not fit in her small-town life, and her dreams are plagued with strange visions of places she’s never seen and a lavender-eyed woman (Anna Galvin) warning her that a storm is coming. These dreams are realized when the sorceress Azkadellia (Kathleen Robertson), tyrannical ruler of the Outer Zone (O.Z.), sends her soldiers, called “Longcoats” through a travel storm to kill DG. DG and her parents evade them but are dragged by the storm into the O.Z. Mistaken for a spy, DG is captured by munchkins and meets Glitch (Alan Cumming), a “headcase” who has only half of his brain because the other half was removed by Azkadellia.
DG and Glitch escape and discover Cain (Neal McDonough), a former “Tin Man” (policeman) who has been locked in an iron suit for years as punishment for opposing Azkadellia’s rule. They soon meet a “Viewer” named Raw (Raoul Trujillo) who they rescue from being eaten by creatures called Papé. Travelling down the “old brick road” the fourseome arrive at Milltown, where DG is reunited with her parents only to learn that they are actually androids who had been tasked to raise her by her real mother, the lavender-eyed woman of her dreams. DG is given a magical symbol upon her palm and is told to go to Central City to meet the Mystic Man (Richard Dreyfuss), who has a message that will help her find her real mother. Azkadellia, meanwhile, sends her Longcoats in pursuit of DG and her companions.
Before being captured by the Longcoats the Mystic Man directs DG and her companions to the Northern Island, where they find the ice castle of the former Queen of the O.Z. They learn that Glitch was once the Queen’s advisor and that DG is both the Queen’s daughter and Azkadellia’s sister. As a child Azkadellia killed DG using dark magic, but the Queen revived her by light magic and gave her secret instructions on how to find the “Emerald of the Eclipse”, which Azkadellia now searches for.
Azkadellia and her Longcoats confront the group at the castle. DG and Raw are captured and Glitch is left for dead after a struggle with Azkadellia’s mobats. In a fight with the Longcoat captain Zero (Callum Keith Rennie), Cain learns that his family, whom he thought Zero killed years ago, are still alive. Zero shoots Cain in the chest and he falls out the castle window into the ice lake.
Glitch rescues and revives Cain, who was not harmed by Zero’s bullet because it was stopped by a metal trinket made for him by his son. Glitch and Cain journey to Azkadellia’s castle to rescue DG. Azkadellia interrogates DG about the Emerald of the Eclipse, but the only clue she can get is that it is protected by the “Gray Gale”. DG is placed in a cell adjacent to that of the Mystic Man, who advises her to head south and is then killed by Azkadellia. DG is released from her cell by a small dog and she and Raw are reunited with Cain and Glitch. After escaping Azkadellia’s castle the dog is revealed to be a shapeshifter named Tutor (Blu Mankuma), DG’s childhood teacher (nicknamed “Toto”) who instructed her in the use of magic. The group heads south, not knowing that Tutor is acting as a spy for Azkadellia by marking their path for the mobats to follow.
During their journey south the group again crosses the fields of the Papé, who were once farmers but became deadly hunters when their crops were destroyed. DG rediscovers some of her magic by restoring one of their withered fruit trees. Resistance fighters help the group evade the Longcoats while crossing a great chasm. Cain discovers the cabin where he was told his family had resettled, but finds only his wife’s grave and an empty iron suit. He shoots and kills Azkadellia’s lead mobat as it attempts to retrieve one of Tutor’s markers.
Arriving in the lake country of Finaqua, more of DG’s memories return. As children she and Azkadellia were close and loving, but that changed when DG found a cave in the Finaqua woods and accidentally released the spirit of an ancient, evil witch (Karin Konoval). Faced with danger, Azkadellia knew that if they stuck together and held hands, their combined magic could protect them from harm. DG panicked and ran, however, and the witch possessed Azkadellia. DG is horrified by the realization that all the tragedies which have befallen the O.Z. in the last fifteen years are the result of her mistakes as a child.
DG finds a magical recording left behind by her mother instructing her to go further south to find Ahamo (Ted Whittall), who is her father. Following their trail is Azkadellia, who also finds the recording. Tutor’s treachery is discovered by the group, but he insists that he is no longer working for Azkadellia and wants to help DG recover her magical abilities. The others accept his company on the condition that he remain in his canine form. Cain leads them to the Realm of the Unwanted in search of Ahamo.
The group is betrayed by a fortune teller (Tinsel Korey) and all except DG and Tutor are captured by Zero and his Longcoats. DG is snatched away by a man who reveals himself to be Ahamo and provides her with a magical compass which will lead her to the Emerald. Glitch, Cain, and Raw are freed by resistance fighters led by Cain’s son Jeb (Andrew Francis). They learn the rest of Azkadellia’s plan from Zero: As the queen’s advisor, Glitch, under his real name Ambrose, had designed a machine called the Sun Seeder which was meant to slow the movement of the sun in order to extend the growing season. Azkadellia removed his brain to get the plans and turned it into an Anti-Sun Seeder capable of locking the O.Z.’s two suns behind the moon during the upcoming double eclipse, covering the O.Z. in permanent darkness. Glitch’s brain is wired into the machine, and Azkadellia requires the Emerald of the Eclipse to make it work. Jeb wishes to execute Zero as revenge for his mother’s murder, but Cain convinces him to let Zero live and instead locks him in the empty iron suit while the resistance carries out its attack on Azkadellia’s fortress.
DG and Ahamo follow the magical compass, traveling by the same hot air balloon which carried Ahamo to the O.Z. from Nebraska. They find the hidden mausoleum of the O.Z.’s royal line and the tomb of Dorothy Gale, DG’s “greatest great-grandmother” for whom she was named, and “the first slipper” who traveled to the O.Z. from Earth. Concluding that Dorothy is the “Gray Gale”, DG enters the tomb and finds herself in a black-and-white representation of her farm in Kansas. There she meets Dorothy, who is wearing bejeweled slippers and who gives DG the Emerald of the Eclipse.
Before they can re-board the balloon Azkadellia captures Ahamo, takes the Emerald, and entombs DG in a sarcophagus of green marble within the royal mausoleum. DG escapes using her magic, and Tutor guides Glitch, Cain, and Raw to her location. Reunited, the five companions make their way to Azkadellia’s fortress. As the double eclipse nears totality Azkadellia uses the Emerald’s power to lock the suns in place behind the moon. DG encourages her sister to fight back against the witch who possesses her, invoking memories of their love. Meanwhile, Cain, Glitch, Raw, and Tutor attempt to stop the Anti-Sun Seeder. Finally Azkadellia clasps hands with DG, who pulls her free of the machine’s beam and separates her physical body from the spectral form of the old witch. The two sisters hold hands, their combined magic shielding them against the witch’s attack until DG’s companions are able to reverse the machine’s pulse, causing the witch to melt.
The royal sisters are reunited with their mother and father. Together with Cain, Glitch, Raw, and Toto, they watch the suns come out from behind the moon and bathe the O.Z. in “suns-light.”
This has to be the best film the Sci-Fi Channel has ever produced. Usually the movies that come on that network look homemade and seem like they bought the story from some random person who write one.
Zooey Deschanel is an underrated actress and I wish she would get more roles like this that allow her to carry a film, because if this is any indication, she can pull it off.
Richard Dreyfuss, in his very limited screentime, get the chance to really use his vastly educated brain and acting talent as The Mystic Main.
Little known Kathleen Robertson is one of the best witches I’ve seen. A mix of beauty, cunning, conflict, and pure evil, you can’t go wrong with that.
Fans of The Wizard Oz movie and book should enjoy this. There are plenty of nods and references to the original story. This is not a remake, but rather a re-envisioning. That nay be the reason why I like it. I’ve made no qualms about my distaste for remakes.
The music to this film is eerily similar to the score to Batman Forever and Batman and Robin. Not saying that is a bad thing, just something I noticed.
Caine may be the most complex character, which may be why the movie is named for him, even though it’s about D.G.
I didn’t really care for Toto, but can’t tell you why. He just seemed to rub me the wrong way. I guess I just wanted D.G. to have a little dog with her from the get go or have met him earlier on.
I guess if I have anything bad to say about this film it is that what they dragged out into a miniseries, could very well have been condensed into a 2 hr feature length film. Having said that, I think they made the right decision by making it a mini-series. The length, though, will keep me from watching this over and over again. I’m no fan of lengthy films.
This is not your parent’s Wizard of Oz. It’s an Oz for a new generation, but will never replace the original. Still, its an excellent re-envisioning and is worth the 4 1/2 hours it takes to watch the whole thing. Jut be sure you clear your schedule and enjoy!
4 1/2 out of 5 stars