22 February 2011

Movies: Alice in Wonderland (2010 Tim Burton version)

Alice in Wonderland http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1014759/

Tim Burton's adaptation / amalgam of Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass" - with Burton's attempt to make more of a continuous story as opposed to replicating the "wondering aimlessly from one crazy thing to the next" feel of the original stories.


What it ain't: the 1939 The Wizard of Oz

What it is: Visually stunning with a great cast of characters.  Pretty amazing visual distortions of people for certain characters.

Definitely a sit back and enjoy type of film. Gets rather violent at times, with some weird predilection toward stabbing/poking things in eyes. Worth watching for sure.


Burton-cast standards Johnny Depp and Helena "Burton's squeeze" Bonham Carter, plus Anne Hathaway, creepy-ol' Crispin Glover, funny but underutilized Matt Lucas (x2), and a gal I've not seen before but did a great job as Alice: Mia Wasikowska. Some good voiceover work too.  Especially Alan Rickman. Alan Rickman rocks the hell out of his voice-only role, as Alan Rickman tends to do. 'Cause his middle name is "Awesome".


I'm left remembering mostly how amazing everything looks - I recall less about the story. I realize it is a retelling of pieces of the original stories with some characters beefed up and put more prominent into the film story. Unfortunately it has been such a long time since I read the Carroll books I can't give a point-by-point contrast. Regardless, as far as how this film stands on its own, I felt the story was kinda 'meh' overall. I suppose there was some learning and growing up done by Alice based on her adventure, but it just didn't really seem to sweep me as a viewer through the experience, not near as successfully as the "Wizard of Oz" film does. So even though the story felt kinda flat to me, the visuals and performances punched it up enough to make it worthwhile. Had a hint of "Narnia"-ness to it too, subtly, but enough for me to notice. Probably unintentional.  Being mostly CGI generated didn't fake-ify the feel too much.  Pretty amazing how good that technology is getting.


As far as how does this flick compare to Tim Burton flicks in general? Fares pretty good. I'm a Tim Burton fan and will watch anything his name is on just because it's by Burton. However I will never forget that his "Planet of the Apes" was such a disappointment (vs. expectations) I was ready to give up on him. Luckily "Big Fish"  was such a good movie I almost forgave him for "Planet of the Apes". Almost. Corpse Bride didn't do much for me either, but he's been way more hits than misses, so he still gets the 'view based on name' pass.


I noticed things in the flick that have "Tim Burton" written all over 'em - like certain tree shapes against skylines with moons in them, the black-n-white stripes on the Tweedles, Elfman scoring the film. Probably more signature stuff in there.

(original post 5 Sep 2010)

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