Review: Alice in Wonderland (2010)
- From: Homer Yen <homeryen88@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Tue, 23 Mar 2010 23:16:56 -0400
"Alice in Wonderland" - Through the 3d Looking Glass
by Homer Yen
It's a whole new world out there. I can't begin to imagine the
technology or the work or the imaginative powers that go into melding
CGI, live-action, and 3-d effects the way that film's are doing
nowadays. The juggernaut that is "Avatar" has shown that movie-going
audiences are embracing this next-generation form of entertainment.
And, the added ticket price certainly doesn't do anything to turn away
people, even in this financially-strapped decade that has just begun.
While interest in "Avatar" is fading (I mean, with $730 mil of box
office receipts, who HASN'T seen it yet?), the baton of 3d
entertainment is ready to be passed on to a successor. And, "Alice in
Wonderland" carries that baton confidently forward.
Even if people haven't read the semi-eerie children's tale, most
people have heard bits and pieces of it. Tim Burton's version updates
it nicely. Alice (played by Mia Wasikowska) enters Wonderland as a
girl in her late teens and not the 1st grader that readers are
familiar with. And, this works to the audience's advantage because
Alice's role in Wonderland is to fulfill a prophecy by restoring peace
and balance. It's too heavy a responsibility for a 6 year old,
especially considering that there will be a final confrontation with a
dragonlike creature. However, even without having read the book, I
would think that the author didn't envision an all-out confrontation
between the forces of the evil Red Queen's camp and the forces of the
peaceful White Queen's camp. Eh...that's Hollywood for you.
With this film, there are people involved here certainly at the top of
their game. Tim Burton has created a bizarrely beautiful world that
is suited to more adult-like tastes. While it sometimes suffers from
the inherent 3d dimness, the renderings are visually sumptuous, from
the evil queen's castle to the chessboard-like battlefield to the
barren forests. If you go to see movies as an escape, then this one,
like "Avatar," is the right ticket.
Meanwhile, the film introduces us to over-exaggerated characters that
seem more appropriate in a child's nightmare rather than a fairy tale.
Their appearances are distinctive and strikingly grotesque. Among
them, Tweedledee and Tweedledum (voiced by Matt Lucas), look like a
distant cousin to Humpty Dumpty. Johnny Depp turns in a very good
performance as The Mad Hatter. No matter how eccentric Depp's roles
are, he performs them with such amazing gravity that he is always fun
to watch. But it's Helena Bonham Carter that really steals the show.
As the bulbous-headed Red Queen, she is a hilarious, self-serving
tart. Oh, and I should say that it was an inspired casting choice to
have Crispin Glover as her right-hand-man, the Knave of Hearts. Tim
Burton's unique fingerprints on this project are as evident as the
The characters are rich enough. The story is interesting enough.
And, it gets better as it goes along. While the film is not as
engrossing as the superior "Pan's Labyrinth", this film certainly
comes across as a far more creative and well-acted and less-cluttered
cousin to the "The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe." I'm not so
excited that I'm going to dance the Futterwacken, but I left the
theatre completely satisfied.
S: 0 out of 3
L: 0 out of 3
V: 1 out of 3
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