Alice, an unpretentious and individual 19-year-old, is betrothed to a dunce of an English nobleman. At her engagement party, she escapes the crowd to consider whether to go through with the marriage and falls down a hole in the garden after spotting an unusual rabbit. Arriving in a strange and surreal place called Underland, she finds herself in a world that resembles the nightmares she had as a child, filled with talking animals, villainous queens and knights, and frumious bandersnatches. Alice realizes that she is there for a reason--to conquer the horrific Jabberwocky and restore the rightful queen to her throne. - synopsis from IMDB
Directed by Tim Burton.
Rated 6.5 on IMDB from 323570 votes.
Runtime: 108 min.
Whiew! That’s quite a line-up there for Tim Burton’s new production. Unfortunately, this doesn’t make Alice in Wonderland rise above average. In all its full 3D glory, with that magnificent cast and a story of that caliber, I was surprised to find the movie actually rather dull. “Which movie are you going to? Alice in Wonderland! Oh, you’re going to love it! It’s so fantastical and special!”, said the waitress before we went in. Well, yeah, duh. It’s Alice in Wonderland, see?
As an avid fantasy book reader, I’m not so easily impressed by special worlds. It’s more the story you tell in them. And let’s face it, there’s little dispute the source material is great. Can Burton make it work on screen? Well, nope. Not in the way the book did.
Now it’s been a while since I read the book and I can remember little of the story details and characters, but I do seem to recall that there is a strong magical sense to the book. Which is a natural requirement for a world that’s meant to be so special it could only exist in the mind of a child. And with that limited child’s scope, it’s mainly the characters that go around the bend. This is a crazy, hectic and fast-paced world. These people are bonkers and their habits are even worse. Back to the movie: of course, Depp is mad as a hatter and is almost a type cast. But otherwise, the uniqueness of the characters barely comes off. A fairly shallow look at all of them is all we have time for.
Luckily, there are some strong points as well. Bonham Carter is a brilliant red queen and in fact was the only one who managed to dig up some memories for me. Her role fit the long forgotten picture in my head just perfectly. I also really liked the Cat whose voice was performed by Stephen Fry, who did a great job. The scenery is well done and manages to portray the world properly.
On a more general note, this whole 3D thing has yet to convince me. It worked well in Avatar, but in Alice in Wonderland, it seemed an afterthought, as if the special effects were dropped in afterwards. Shame, that.
I guess many fans will feel this was another of the great Depp roles. I think I liked the captain better, that’s all. Eat that (pun intended).
Seen: 26 Mar 2010
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