Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Alice Returns to Wonderland

When it was announced that Tim Burton was directing the live-action Alice in Wonderland, it seemed like a match made in heaven. Well, after viewing Alice’s new journey I wouldn’t say it was a perfect match, but it had its moments.

The story remains some what the same. It’s not really a full fledged retelling as it is a re-imagining. I like to look at it as a sequel, because technically it is.

The film has an adult Alice, who is being forced into a life she doesn’t want and to escape this she chases the white rabbit down the infamous rabbit hole. She ends up back in Wonderland, oh wait I’m sorry it’s actually called “Underland”, and finds herself in the world she used to dream of as a child. We soon learn that Alice is the chosen one to defeat the Jabberwocky, a dragon of sorts, and restore the throne to the pure White Queen (Enough with “The Chosen One” storylines).

The story has a lot of similarities, in my opinion, to the mini-series Tin Man. If you haven’t seen that, it was about an older Dorothy returning to the Land of Oz to defeat the Wicked Witch once again. You can argue that they’re completely different, but for me they felt very similar.

There are things I liked about Alice in Wonderland, but it’s not a perfect movie by any means and has some real problems.

The first thing I want to talk about is the story. The story, for me, is the most important aspect of any movie. If you don’t have a good story then how are you expecting the audience to get emotionally involved?

In Burton’s Alice, he gets rid of the book’s narrative and a lot of its heart and swaps it with visuals. Why? I didn’t really like the visuals; I thought it all looked too cartoony. I would be able to bare it if the visuals had Burton’s personality in them, but they didn’t. I think I saw Tim Burton shine through twice in this movie and everything else felt nothing like him.

The CGI world just annoys me. It’s just like Avatar, these computer created worlds don’t have the same human feeling as actual sets and locations and these films SUFFER because of it. I want this overuse of CGI to stop, I don’t care about 3D, I don’t care that each blade of grass took a team of animator’s months to create; I just want a good story, with REAL sets. All these CGI worlds are a waste of time and money.

The Positive things about this movie are in its performances. Mia Wasikowska was very believable as an older Alice and did everything well, even in scenes that felt rushed and lacking any real emotion (the ending battle scene).

The beginning when Alice was in the real world, I thought it was very well shot and done. I thought those were the most magical moments of the movie, because it was real and I felt connected to what was going on. Then we get into the fake looking Wonderland and that connection you had begins to break.

Johnny Depp reminded me as Jack Sparrow, the way he moved and talked was all Sparrow, but it works. For people who were looking for something completely different from Depp might be let down, but he was a decent Hatter. But why does The Mad Hatter have such a huge role? Why is he the character in the center of the DVD? It’s not The Hatter in Wonderland, its Alice in Wonderland and Alice gets pushed to the side on the DVD and blu-ray covers.

The Blue Caterpillar was awesome and really the only CGI created character I liked. He told you exactly how he feels, which made for some great moments with him and Alice.

Going back to the scenes that felt rushed, everything moved fast, which sucked because once we got to the ending I didn’t really feel connected to the characters. I didn’t feel the characters really had that much enthusiasm in saving Wonderland aka Underland, it felt like they were just doing it, because they had to.

The movie has some flaws, but for kids it will be fun. For those of you who are looking for a very unconventional Tim Burton film are going to be very disappointed. This film is very conventional.



Treasures By Brenda said...

I enjoyed your review, although I disagree that this movie is for children. It should have been but I think the violent parts are, well, a bit violent for children.

Micky Shaw said...

Love your review,it's one of my favorite films.. for kids or not, it's great