Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Thoughts on Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland

Nothing bothers me more than reading a movie review that sits on the fence. You know, when they mention all these positive things and then the same amount of negative things too, so after you're done reading it you're just as unsure of the opinion as when you began. Drives me crazy! That being said, I'm about to do the same thing to you.

Let me start by saying, I liked the movie. I did, it was good, but it wasn't all it was hyped up to be. Sure it was Tim Burton, and yeah, it was Johnny Depp, and yes, it was in 3-D... but I didn't fall in love with it all over again like I was expecting to. I loved the books and I very much enjoyed the Disney animated film; but I think there was too much pressure riding on this new one. Anyone who has seen the original Disney animated film and expects Burton's to be just a pretty little remake is going to be gravely disappointed. Anyone who has read the books and expects it to ride closer to The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland shall be surprised when it steals a bit from that and Through the Looking Glass. So either way, hardcore Alice fans of both directions will have problems accepting this movie with all the surrounding hype.

Alright, past all the hubbub of the fans we can get down to the meat of the movie... you know: plot, character, cinematic portrayal, ect.

The 3-D was lovely, but unfortunately the film lost a great deal of color (or colour... whichever you prefer). That took away from the luster of the fantastical adventure. Don't get me wrong, the 3-D technology was well used and very entertaining, but I watched it a second time in a regular theater and saw so many wondrous details that I missed the first time I watched it through the glasses. Burton is notorious for being dark, and while the 3-D version of the film was rather dim, it didn't have his signature morbidity sewn throughout it. It was twisted and strange, but that's also how Carroll wrote the books to begin with. There are some dark elements here and there throughout the movie, but it wasn't over done, which pleasantly surprised me.

The characters were all so wonderful! Helena Bonham Carter did a phenomenal job (as always) playing the Red Queen and Mia Wasikowska made an absolutely lovely Alice. Now, my personal favorite was the March Hare. He is gloriously mad and Paul Whitehouse did a magnificent job voicing him. I know what you are all thinking, "What about Johnny Depp?" well keep you're pants on, I'm getting there. As a child, watching the animated Alice in Wonderland, I had no clue what a "hatter" was. I assumed they called him the Mad Hatter because he was crazy and wore a big hat. Silly I know, but that is why I appreciated the glimpse we get of Depp being the Mad Hatter and actually "hatting." Oh, and he did a pretty good job acting (luckily he didn't out-shine everyone else like is his typical style).

As for the plot of this tale, it won't give too much away for me to say it was predictable yet lovable. I did enjoy the film, wouldn't nominate it for anything, but the morals and meanings are wonderful. The story is enriched with little treasures that you have to pay attention to see. I don't know if I'd recommend this movie to everyone, but at least to anyone who just wants an escape from the real world, even if just for an hour or two.

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