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Reviews Comments: A dissapointingly unremarkable waste of potential. Alice In Wonderland 2010 film/book review by Nolan J Burke

Yep, that title more or less sums up my feelings. I deliberately use the word 'unremarkable', of course, since the film certainly wasn't bad, and definitely had its merits: chief among them, the CGI work was great (although the whole 3D thing smelled rather strongly of bandwagon, IMHO), the environments were often breathtakingly dreamlike, and most of the character designs (Mad Hatter and Red Queen coming to mind) were absolutely wonderful. Certainly, they exemplify the remarkableness that could have been.

Unfortunately, such merits found themselves overshadowed by disappointing flaws - first and foremost of which was the plot.

If, like me, you're a fan of the Alice books, this one will probably be a no-brainer to you: I shouldn't have to talk about a plot at all. That was the whole schtick of the Carroll's books - to try and tie their events together would have been to smother the bizzarness that gave them their charm.

By contrast, this movie didn't just have a plot; it had a boring plot. Alice is The Chosen One, and has to find a speshul sword and hack up the Jabberwocky, a once enigmatic, shapeless creature that's now been reduced to an incredibly generic dragon-thingy? That's it? Come on, Mr Burton, I've read B-Grade fanfictions with more intriguing plots than that!

And then there's the acting. Now, of course, when it comes to the likes of Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, it doesn't matter what script they're thrown into, they'll always be able to make their awesomeness shine through, because they're simply amazing actors. This film was no different. Unfortunately, despite this, both Helena and Johnny find themselves nudged off camera far too often in favour of the lead actress, who is...I don't know, I suppose things would have gotten Narmy if she'd been overly emotional, but honestly, this woman was like a robot. There's a massive gap between the properness that Alice fought to maintain in the books and...this.

Plus, I'm not sure what they were going for when they told Johnny to randomly switch accents between lines, but even he couldn't make it work.

So I'll just end on this note: this was an adaptation of a remarkable book, by a remarkable director, featuring remarkable actors; how in God's name did it ever manage to be so incredibly unremarkable?


  • Phrederic
  • 29th Apr 10
My guess? Burton is off his game, he's in a rut of quirky "goffic" movies that the Hot Topic crowd will ate right up. I may enjoy some of his movies but I think that he has acquired Protection From Editors and needs to lose it, fast.
  • Doktor von Eurotrash
  • 2nd May 10
This review speaks my mind. The only thing I disagree with is about Mia Wasikowska's (Alice) acting: I didn't think she was that bad, though she wasn't great.

I agree with Phrederic, too. Burton needs to start being creative again if he is to get anywhere. Oh, and stop being Bonham Carter's and Depp's pimp.
  • PumpkinLore
  • 3rd May 10
The problem could always be not Protection From Editors for Burton (come on, if Burton had Protection From Editors, the movie would be ten times freakier), but Executive Meddling from Disney (who unfortunately is well known for that crap), but we'll have to wait for the Making of stuff and find out which one it is. But I personally don't think the movie's as bad as you say, though nowhere as good as it could have been.

I don't exactly agree with you Doktor, if Burton is using bad actors I would agree, but Carter and Depp are not. I would love some variety too, but more so the haters will shut up already rather then for creativity's sake.
  • maninahat
  • 4th May 10
This film pissed me off within the first ten minutes. The whole thing about Alice finding herself at odds with the sexist, repressive Victorian upper-classes got on my nerves. The film goes straight for the tired old period-drama cliches of corsets and arranged marriages. That shit was old, even in Jane Austen's day.

I plain couldn't see the point of this movie. Alice in Wonderland already had a written sequel for Burton to create. Most movies just follow the vague story of Wonderland and chuck in occasional elements from Looking Glass. All Burton had to do was make a movie that was more faithful to the Looking Glass story, especially as that is the book people are far less familiar with. Looking Glass actually has a plot as well, making Burton's job all the more easier. Instead, Burton decided to knock off a shitty Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe plot which had already been done (better) in a video game.
  • 2nd Aug 10
OK, good—I'm not the only one who thinks Mia Wasikowska didn't emote very well in the movie. Better than Kristen Stewart in Twilight, though.
  • ACrackInTime
  • 11th Aug 10
I found the film alright. A friend of mine ADORES it (she even bought a bag) but I'm stuck in the middle. The acting was either mediocre or Large Ham, the story was cliche etc etc... but I was drawn in by the scenery porn. I'm a sucker for scenery porn.
  • Bat1701
  • 31st Aug 11
I think if I wasn't an Alice fan, I would have stuck this movie firmly in So Okay Its Average territory. Unfortunately, I am a fan of the Carroll books, so this movie grates on several nerves for me. And you nailed it in the review when you pointed out the fact that they had bothered to give Alice in Wonderland a plot. I mean, good God, talk about missing the point!. The whole point of Alice in Wonderland was there was no point, and I loved it for it. I had high hopes, seeing some of the whack-a-dack stuff Burton had pulled off before this. But I just came away with a giant meh. Although, I will admit, as others have pointed out, the visuals were gorgeous. But visuals alone a movie do not make. Who would've ever thought there'd be cause to say the animated Disney film was more faithful to the books?
  • cg12345
  • 1st Feb 12
This was my reaction, too — great cast, gorgeous to look at, but The Chosen One? Really?

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