Alice In Wonderland Review
Fun fantasy and adventure
There are just some thing’s that make sense in Hollywood. Michael Bay signing on to make another explosion filled blockbuster, Jennifer Aniston making another ridiculous love/hate rom com and Scorcese doing the mob. But one of the great moments of pure sense was when we heard that Visual master Tim Burton signed onto an Alice in wonderland adaptation. His neon gothic approach of late would be perfect for the LSD inspired Lewis Carrol masterpiece. Alice in wonderland is one of those timeless stories that is so ingrained in our culture it has become an archetype with its stranger in a strange world plot. But could Burton bring justice to it?
Burton has changed up the story making this film a sequel of sorts with Alice returning to Wonderland 10 years after the original. Wonderland is now a different place from what we remember as the red queen has taken the throne and caused havoc on Wonderland or as it is called here; Underland. The film starts in a sterile world of upper class England with Alice basically being forced into a marriage with a Lord to save her ailing family. She then sees a rabbit in a waistcoat and follows him down a big friggin hole. Then the film begins. The amazing thing we see in Wonderland is Tim Burton’s head on screen and it is a world that is beautiful but very unsettling. We’ll get more into Burton in a second, let’s get to the cast.
Australia’s Mia Wasikowsksi is good as Alice. Whilst it is not a career defining role, she is capable as a lead that has to really play second fiddle to her surroundings and to the mad hatter. As for the critic who said she looked like a heroin addict, I am not being bias because she is Australian but he really needs to watch every other Burton film to see that the pale, dark eyed look is a Burton trademark. The animated characters are great with voices of Stephen Fry and Alan Rickman great as the Cheshire cat and the worm thingy. Anne Hathaway is beautiful as the white queen and reminds you that she is a big part of the next gen of actresses. The best queen here is the red queen played brilliantly by Helen Bonham Carter. Her role is great as the issue ridden Red queen who keeps her land in check with fear from her penchant for chopping off your head. Serial weird guy Crispin Glover stands at her side as her loyal hunter but you can never outshine a woman with a head that big. Helen is clearly having so much fun with the role that any scene she is appears is exciting. Also the effects around her head are real and seamless.
Now to the main reason most people will watch this film, Johnny Depp as the mad hatter. You have most likely heard both sides of the fence. I have read it as well. Some have hated his performance and others have praised it, as for me all I can say is that it’s Johnny Depp. The man is magnetic to watch in whatever film he is in and he is particularly good in this. Whilst the Hatter is no Jack Sparrow, he is a good mixture of tom foolery and downright madness. What separates this from other roles is that Depp brings reason to his madness. We see a man who was most likely just a bit off kilter to start and is now just deeply and utterly mad. Depp shows all aspects of madness perfectly from the happy go lucky mad to dark, brooding and actually scary madness. He speaks in different dialects and tones like he is all of Depp’s greatest characters fused into one form with all fighting for a piece of the spotlight. Once again he is just a pleasure to watch and the definite highlight of the film.
Now to Burton. This story seems too easy for the great director because this film suits his strengths so well. He has made a world that is great and would have been even more amazing had it been just before Avatar but unfortunately with its 3D drawcard we can’t help but compare. The visuals are imaginative and the story is a good LOTR inspired adventure.This is a Burton world and you can’t help but get swept away with it. It will look glorious on Blu-ray. The only problem I had with it is that you can tell this was a 3D post job. I can’t narrow it down more than that as I am not learned enough in the process to explain specifically but you can just tell. But our projectionist wasn’t that great anyway. This is a film that doesn’t have to be seen in 3D and even though I haven’t seen it in 2D, I think the film will be better in its normal format.
But all in all this is a film that has already broken some records and it is because it is fun and more light hearted than Avatar. It isn’t a better film than it but it will be a movie that will keep you entertained and one that I know will grow on me the more I watch it. So far this is looks to be a great year for film and this will be one of the reasons it is. Go out and see it but you don’t have to see it in 3D to appreciate it.
Posted by Prester John - 3/10/2010 3:08:56 AM