Friday, March 5, 2010

Alice In Wonderland

Alice In Wonderland
Year: 2010
Director: Tim Burton
Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway

In My Own Words
“Alice In Wonderland” marked a momentous occasion for me, my first experience of 3D in my local cinema. I have experienced 3D before, but only in theme parks. It seemed like such a special concept at places like Warner Bros Movie World, Universal Studios and Disneyland, I guess that’s why 4D is becoming the rage there now. I didn’t find my 3D experience quite as exciting as I thought I would. It didn’t feel like it enhanced the film at all and it didn’t feel like it was quite the excitement it has been hyped up to be. I’m on the fence as to whether 3D is really worth the extra $5 we paid for it. I thought that is I was going to go to my first 3D film that Tim Burton’s “Alice In Wonderland” would be a good one to go with. Maybe I should have started with “Avatar”. Don’t get me wrong, there were some scenes where I thought the 3D made the visuals amazing...actually there was only one scene that stood out like that too me and that was where Alice was falling down the rabbit hole. I think I will be reserving 3D for the action films.

As for the movie, I really enjoyed this film. From beginning to finish, it is very Tim Burton though. Burton is one of those directors that you can walk into a cinema not knowing who the director is and recognise his styling trademarks not far into the film. The one thing I will say about “Alice In Wonderland” is in order to enjoy, take it for what it is. It is a family sequel to the Lewis Carroll tale which is a showcase of fantasy visual effects. Don’t expect a film that will shake you emotionally, Carroll’s fantasy was never supposed to be that.

These are my words and here is my review.

Tim Burton’s highly anticipated film “Alice In Wonderland” is, just like the original fantasy by Lewis Carroll, loads of fun and extremely enjoyable. Not just for children, unlike its Disney animation relative, the film shows Wonderland through a grown-up’s perspective as well as having aspects of it that children will also enjoy.Alice (Mia Wasiknowska) returns down the rabbit hole 15 years after her first journey to Wonderland to find that the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) has taken over and is out to get Alice, as she is the only one who can strip her of her rule. Alice is helped along the way by her friends which she made in Wonderland when she was young such as the White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat, Tweedledee and Tweedledum and the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) and the White Queen (Anne Hathaway).

The film is just beautiful to watch and a lot of fun. The visuals and script mix well together to create a film which is a pleasure to sit back and enjoy rather than worry about the ending. Yes, it is predictable, but “Alice In Wonderland” was always meant to be a family film and not to be too stressful. It is also important to remember just how strange the original novel and film is, and then the film seems fitting as it just carries on the tradition. The visual effects which Tim Burton employs are beautiful and completely appropriate. The costumes, especially the ones made for Alice, are beautiful and stunning. On the whole, the film is extremely Burton-esque. In the first 60 seconds, it is completely obvious that you are in a Burton film. The score, by Danny Elfman, is reminiscent of his past films and the visuals ring of “Charlie And The Chocolate Factory”. However, this does not take away from any of the beauty and the magnificence of the production. Although the story is quite original, the big criticism here is that it extracts from so many other stories. There are elements of the story which are so much like other stories. For example, there are traces of “The Chronicles Of Narnia”, “The Lord Of The Rings”, “Robin Hood”, “Where The Wild Things Are” and “Peter Pan” and its film sequel “Hook” in it all over the place. It almost feels like déjà vu throughout parts of the film.

Another criticism here is that there are many references to the Disney animation version of “Alice In Wonderland”. These are references that people who have seen the 1951 animation version will not get at all, but those who have seen it will recognise immediately, such as “Twinkle twinkle little bat, how I wonder where you’re at”. These references and this fact are not major criticisms though, as those who haven’t seen the animation, will still understand the film regardless.

Mia Wasikowska is the perfect Alice. She has the right amount of innocence and is picture perfect for the role. Although she does not strain herself at all in the role, she is extremely likable and brings to the role everything that one should. The Mad Hatter is definitely not Johnny Depp’s best role, but he is still good. It does feel as though he is channelling his inner “Drop Dead Fred” in this role through the visuals and as the young Alice’s mentor. Helena Bonham Carter does a great job as the Red Queen and her character stays true to the original Queen in the Lewis Carroll novel and in the first film. “Alice In Wonderland” feels like a very different film for Anne Hathaway. Although she has done fantasy films before, this is the first time she has not played the role of the young girl, and instead takes on the role of a superior, but quirky queen. The March Hare is also a great character to watch, as he is hilarious and definitely mad.

The most important thing when watching “Alice In Wonderland” is to purely enjoy it for what it is. It relies greatly on the visuals and not on an emotional journey or anything remotely thought provoking. It is purely fun and just beautiful to watch.

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