Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Movie Review: Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland

Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland

So Tim Burton takes on Alice in Wonderland, the classic Lewis Caroll "children's" tale. This movie isn't just a simple remake of the Disney Cartoon, but an add on. In this one, Alice is not 10 she is now 20. Tim Burton fails to capture any of the magic of the book or the old cartoon. The audience is left hanging from lack of story or feeling about any character in the entire movie. While the acting is OK and the visuals are OK, lackluster special effects and line delivery, a movie doth not make. It seems this director is trapped in his own grandiosity and has completely forgotten that he is making a movie for other humans to see. Wait till you can rent it for a dollar if you simply must see it before you die. Other than that do not waste your time and your money.

By the way, I did check other reviews before I started my review and every single person agrees with me. This movie is rubbish.

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The Tim Burton Alice in Wonderland "Story"

So in the prologue to Alice being in wonderland she is first a little girl. We find her having a dream of wonderland. She is disturbed by the dream and goes to get her father, who tucks her in and talks to her about it. She asks if she's "mad". A bit of obvious foreshadowing since the entire movie centers around the Mad Hatter, played by Johnny Depp. Her father makes her laugh and she drifts off to sleep. In the next scene she is now 20, played by Mia Wasikowska, and is saddled with an engagement to a local Lord's son, this being set in the Elizabethan era. She whines about having to get married to a lord. When everyone gathers in the garden to witness the proposal, she runs away to chase the white rabbit, leaving 200 guests with mouths agape. She sees the rabbit go down a hole and this grown woman now tumbles down the rabbit hole.

So Alice is now in wonderland. She is greeted by the white rabbit, played by Michael Sheen ( from New Moon, never seen it, and probably won't ), Tweedledee and Tweedledum played by Matt Lucas, and Doormouse played by Barbara Windsor. They are debating whether she is the right Alice, apparently the white rabbit has retrieved more than one Alice before, only to be disappointed. They decide to take her to Blue Caterpillar, played by Alan Rickman ( from Harry Potter *yay* ) since he is the wisest in the land. He refers them to their visual calendar of events. In there it is shown that the next day Alice is to slay the Jabberwocky with the vorpal blade. When Alice balks at the idea, everyone decides that she is in fact the wrong Alice.

The entire movie then is set that she should come to her senses and slay the Jabberwocky. Boy, who could see that coming. Except, there was no montage of her training with the vorpal sword. Thank God Tim Burton left that cheeseball Hollywood playbook kitchen sink out of the movie. I don't know if Hollywood is stupid or Hollywood thinks audiences are that dense.

About Wonderland

The very idea of wonderland normally conjures up a world visualized through a smoke filled hazed one can only conceive of from a hookah pipe. Either Tim Burton is sorely lacking in psychedelic drugs or has no imagination whatsoever. I'm not one to condone drugs normally, but Tim, come on, next time take some shrooms for.... research purposes.

The entire movie was just so bland. While some of the visuals were nice, they were just that. "Oh that's nice." As bland as... this jelly is nice.

If Hollywood wants to produce eye-popping movies and crazed stories, perhaps they should throw their hat in to stand against the government's "war on drugs" and recognize that drugs, while harmful in a stupid person's hands, are quite the artistic boost in other hands.

Literally, a 4 year old with an exceptional talent for drawing could have come up with a far superior world than Tim Burton.

About the Story

Lord of the Rings was a box office smash. It seems any and everyone who can throw in a grand melee war scene, does so, hoping to ride the wave of battle scene mega bucks. So instead of the story being about Alice fighting the evil Red Queen and her army, played by Helena Bonham Carter ( from Harry Potter ), they throw in the White Queen, played by Anne Hathaway ( from The Devil Wears Prada ) and her army. Instead of Alice being this cheeky, witty and mischievous girl, she is instead a warrior princess, a la Lion Witch and the Wardrobe, in full plate mail, wielding a vorpal, long sword +5 vs Jabberwockys.

Tim Burton tried to throw in the failed reluctant hero, a la Matrix, but there was no montage of training. In fact there was no story at all. Once you found out they had the "wrong" Alice, since she refused to slay the Jabberwocky, the entire movie just moves toward her coming to an epiphany to slay the Jabberwocky. However, there is no epiphany. There is no sense of duty. There is no man vs anything in the whole movie.

Well what about the Red Queen? Isn't the Red Queen the enemy? No, in fact, due to mistaken identity, Alice is invited as a guest to the Red Queen's court. And the Red Queen, although the acting was fine, was nowhere near the terror of the book nor the cartoon. The script just was not there.

What about the mad hatter? Johnny Depp is falling into being typecast now. He has accepted too many roles of, weird English eccentric character number 3. While he sort of played the part OK, he was neither "mad" nor eccentric. The script for him was so dull, you would not have identified him as the mad hatter, were he not in costume and presented at the mad hatter table. I am sure everyone saw the movie preview where he walks on the table to shake Alice's hand. That is the summit of his madness in the entire movie.

What about the chesire cat? The chesire cat, played by Stephen Fry, was so boring it is laughable, and not in a haha way, but a derisive, "oh how droll" way. Whoever wrote the lines, needs to seriously just do some drugs and ponder their navel as it relates to world hunger for a few hours and then do a do over.

Save your money. This is a let down of let downs.

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