Tik-Tok is a rusty copper, orb-shaped machine with thin arms and clockwork features. His legs are very stout and he speaks moving his mustache rather than his mouth. He has a round head that has bright blue eyes of light, a small cherry nose, and a flat dome-shaped bowler hat that is removable. There is a small badge engraved into his metal plating, inscribing his role as the "Royal Army of Oz". He is the entire "Royal Army of Oz", which is ironic considering his generally helpless nature.
After the Nome King's defeat, Tik-Tok is cleaned up and is given a gold exterior.
Tik-Tok possesses neither emotions nor organic qualities due to his status as an automaton entity. Based on how much his thinking key is turned, Tik-Tok's intelligence can range greatly from a bumbling idiot to a calculative mind. He was constructed to protect Dorothy at all costs, and ensure the safety of the Ozians, which makes him an incredibly loyal and obedient soldier. Due to this duty, Tik-Tok kept close to Dorothy the moment she activated him and obeyed her without hesitation. Over the course of the film, this devotion causes him to develop a desire for expression after Dorothy showed him kindness and sentimentality, to the point where he showed regret for being nothing but a lifeless tool. When forced to give a tearful goodbye to Dorothy, he began crying oil from his eyes and displayed real compassion. After his journey, Tik-Tok develops genuine emotions like a living being, now seeing Dorothy and her friends as more than just a part of his order, but also as true friends.
Tik-Tok was created by the people of Oz under the orders of King Scarecrow to have an army for the city. He was stored in a secret room within the city. The key to access the room was spirited away to Dorothy Gale when the Nome King invaded and took over Oz. When Dorothy arrived at Oz, she uses the key to enter the room, where Tik-Tok finally meets her. Tik-Tok, being mechanical, explains that he must be kept wound up tightly, so as to prevent his thought, speech, and action from running down. Dorothy, Billina, and Tik-Tok escape the hidden room and are able to fight off the Wheelers, one of which directs them to Princess Mombi, who explains the Nome King had taken over the Emerald City and captured the Scarecrow. Mombi, who has many interchangeable heads wants Dorothy's head for her collection. Dorothy, refusing, is locked up along with Billina in Mombi's attic. Meanwhile, Tik-Tok had run down in Mombi's hall and was helpless to stop Mombi. However, with the help of Jack Pumpkinhead, Dorothy is able to wind up Tik-Tok, whom she then sends to construct a flying creature from Mombi's furniture with Jack and Billina while she retrieved the Powder of Life from Mombi's head collection. Unfortunately, Tik-Tok's intelligence key winds down too early, forcing the trio to finish making the creature in a haste without Tik-Tok's help. The group narrowly escapes Mombi with their now alive creation and head towards the Nome King's mountain.
However, the sofa creature is not too well put together as it falls apart, sending the group plummeting down onto the Nome King's mountain. The Nome King then appears to the group on the front of his mountain, where Dorothy asks for him to let her friend the Scarecrow free as well as the citizens of Oz. The king laughs at her threat, as the ground suddenly starts shaking and crumbles, taking Dorothy along with it. Just when she appears gone, the rest of the group is suddenly brought to the throne of the Nome King with Dorothy safe and sound. The Nome King proposes to the group they play a game: if they touch the correct ornament and say the word "Oz" within three guesses, then the Scarecrow will appear and they can go free. But he does not tell them that if they fail to guess correctly, then the guessers would turn into ornaments as well. When it is Tik-Tok's turn, he pretends to have his action run down in order to force the Nome King to allow Dorothy into the collection room to wind him up as a part of his plan to see if Dorothy could see what he is changed into. Dorothy then worries for Tik-Tok and his willingness to sacrifice himself due to his lack of life and so proceeds to hug him. Touched by her sadness, the clockwork man understands how important Dorothy was to him as a friend and displays his first real emotion (compassion) and begins to cry oily tears as Dorothy wipes them away. He then picks his item and sadly turns into an ornament, however due to a bright flash Dorothy was unable to see what he was turned into. However, Dorothy, after two guesses, is able to find out that people are turned into green ornaments and frees the others excluding Tik-Tok. After the Nome King is killed after inadvertently eating Billina's egg, Dorothy clicks her heels and wishes for all from Oz (including an imprisoned Mombi) to return there safely and the Emerald City and everyone in it to be restored.
The magic of the slippers work, and the group is teleported to a field near the city. Dorothy is the first to notice Tik-Tok is still missing and realizes they didn't find him back in the collection, but a green medal is then revealed to be present on the Gump's antler. Dorothy touches it and says "Oz", and Tik-Tok appears from the medal. A celebration is thrown for the defeat of the Nome King. The Ozians encourage Dorothy to be the Queen of Oz, but Dorothy says despite the friendships she has cherished, she has to go back to Kansas. The understanding citizens comfort her in wishing that she could be in two places at once. But as she says this, the ruby slippers reveal a girl in the mirror behind her. The girl turns out to be the same mysterious girl (who presumably drowned) that helped Dorothy escape. The girl reveals her name is Ozma, rightful ruler of Oz, and promises Dorothy that should she ever need to return, she is always welcome. Tik-Tok says goodbye to Dorothy as she hugs him when she departs, knowing she will return to Oz another time.
Behind the Scenes
Tik-Tok originates from the 1907 book Ozma of Oz by Frank L. Baum, the famed author of the Wizard of Oz books.
In an interview which is included in the DVD's special features, Fairuza Balk described the Tik-Tok costume: An acrobat, Michael Sundin, was upside down inside in Tik-Tok with his hands operating Tik-Tok's legs and his feet tucked behind Tik-Tok's head. He used a monitor inside the costume. Sean Barrett provided his voice, while Tim Rose controlled his facial and arm movements.
The character of Wilkins in Alice Through the Looking Glass was inspired by Tik-Tok.