Reviews: Alice In Wonderland 2010
Someone cared about this movie...where did they go?
This film can only be called a disappointment to anyone who loves the original Alice books. What should have been a masterful combination of two quirky creators' ideas turned into a generic plot with no real goal which completely misunderstands the work by giving it too much structure. But like I said, someone cared! There are genuinely good elements. The character designs have some brilliant touches- the Hatter is made to look mercury-poisoned, creating a visually interesting design that shows research into the origins of the original character. The Red Queen has a giant head, in a nice reference to Tenniel's illustrations. And the music, being Elfman, is rather good. But the work loses sight of the madness and fun of the original work by dulling everything down with little purpose and turning it into a "kill the monster because prophecy" plot, all set in a warring-kingdoms story that nobody asked for. And I'm sorry, but someone really played fast and loose with the source for all the faithful touches. The character who by all accounts represents the Queen of Hearts is called the Red Queen, after the chess piece in the second book. The White Queen isn't at all related to her basis and could have been called anything. The Jabberwock is erroneously named for the poem's title, "Jabberwocky", and appears in this world despite being a fictional character within the story. And the Dormouse is a sprightly female warrior...what? Also, who is Alice? Her performance gives us almost zero indication of her as a person. The Alice I remember is a curious and kind little girl who doesn't quite meet up to society's expectations, because she's just a kid. This Alice...well, she's defying her expectations, but this is through one moment of extreme rebellion, and she constantly denies Wonderland's very existence with all the emotional delivery of a wooden plank. I suppose she's supposed to mature and gain responsibility- "becoming an adult", but there's no real emotional development. She kills a dragon, and she's good to go...? I don't know. It's harmless enough, but there needed to be a lot of overhaul to make it work. "Alice returns as an adult, as done by Tim Burton" could have been amazing. But it's really just like any other film. The sequel is worse, so I recommend you stay away. If you like it, I'm happy for you. But I can't stomach a work that goes so far out of its way to disappoint its audience.
Underland is superior to Wonderland
Tim Burton did it. He managed to suck the life, the soul, the essence out of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson/Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland's fantasy world. That's... actually an amazing accomplishment when you think about it. I couldn't do it, I know that. Not even with a budget of $150–$200 million. No way. Its not easy to force a war-story, prophecy, and chosen-one cliches, onto a colorful literary work where they don't belong. And congratulations are in order for making Care Bears in Wonderland appear 'sincere' and 'faithful' to the original and hugely-influential novel, by comparison. That takes some doing. Everyone expected he'd achieve something fitting and memorable with the world, like filling it with luscious and elaborate backgrounds as seen in American Mc Gee's Alice. He didn't and I'm impressed. Apparently, not being original, is the new original. Its not everyday you can turn an upside-world populated by peculiar and amazing anthropomorphic creatures and make them dull and lackluster. Also worth mentioning is in spite of Tim's sheer determination to not stick to the source material whatsoever in the name of "art", and risk angering lovers of the book and earlier adaptations, the film grossed over a billion in ticket sales anyway... that's amazing... ...I think the audience deserves its own applause.
I don't get why everyone hates it.
I was quite surprised at the backlash that this film received. I quite liked it. I've noticed that most of the people complaining are traditional Alice fans, who don't approve of the changes that Burton made to the film. I, personally, found it to be an interesting spin on the series. The quirkiness and charm of the film is enough to redeem itself for the fairly cliche plot. The main character, an older Alice, is a great role model. Not just for girls, but for everyone. When she rebels against social customs and expectations of her character, she is setting a great example for kids. It's a simple message: Just Be Yourself. Okay, so the film had somewhat of an awkward pace. So Alice's dialogue was fairly contrived and emotionless. But these flaws are easily forgotten when you lose yourself in the film's enchantment. Overall, 7.5/10. It isn't a perfect film, but it combines great ideas from the two quirky minds of Lewis Carroll and Tim Burton to create a film that is both uniquely enchanting and visually appealing.
Not Burton's best, but not as bad as people say
My opinion on Alice In Wonderland: Not the greatest, but still an enjoyable film to watch. Story: Unfortunately, the story isn't that remarkable.
Wonderland Underland has fallen under the rule of The Red Queen since Alice has been gone? Check. Alice is theChosenOne that can kill the feared Jabberwock? Check. Alice refuses to believe it, but finds that she can't fight fate? Check and mate (though that's not necessarily a bad thing - there's a reason why Cliche Storms become Cliche Storms, after all).
Acting: Of course, Burton's usual suspects Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter is excellent as always (which is why I'm one of the few who don't mind Tim being their acting pimp — some variety would be nice, but Depp and Carter are great actors). I don't know what the last review was talking about with "changing the accents every other line" — the only times I noticed the change was when the Hatter was pissed, and I thought it was rather effective — and delightfully so. Our leading lady......err, not good, not bad. The problem is that she doesn't react to the fact that she's in an other freaking world with freaky creatures running amok! The combined Fridge Brilliance that she thinks it's all a dream and that she is a young woman in Victorian England does not help — which is why I cheered when she told off the upper-class pricks via Futterwacken (call it Eternal Sexual Freedom, I call it awesome). Anne Hathaway was very good as the White Queen. Her princess mannerisms being compensation for the fear of becoming evil is particularly intriguing. And Crispin Glover was good as Stayne "the Knave".
Voice Acting: Scores every target on this one. The only complaint is that the Jabberwock got so few lines (dammit, you've got CHRISTOPHER FUCKING LEE as the Jabberwock, use him!
Effects: Definately the crown jewel of the film, everything's being cheerfully eccentric. (Though I didn't like the design of the Jabberwork, too dragon-like. I actually thought he would be furry like the Bandersnatch for some reason.)
In summary, again, not Burton's best, yet still entertaining.
A dissapointingly unremarkable waste of potential.
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?
Definitely not for Alice lovers
If you were looking for an Alice in Wonderland adaptation with an original story that was actually faithful to the books, stay far away from this. Many people think Tim Burton's films are unique, bizarre, strange. In my opinion, they are not. Tim Burton is pretty mainstream as far as I'm concerned. He's really just there to comfort normal people who want to think they're "different". I mean, he made this for Disney. DISNEY! So, despite what the fangirls would have you believe, this isn't a darker, more adult take on the books. In fact, it makes the 1951 animated version quite tolerable in comparison. In fact, I LIKE that film thanks to Burton's. But enough boring ranting. So, the whole idea of this film is that Alice is now 19 but doesn't fit in with Victorian society (and that's never been done before, eh?). Apparently, they wanted to make Alice a feminist in this. What? How can they think Alice wasn't a strong female character in this? Burton's actually said he found Alice in the books too passive and that he wanted to punch her out. I don't know what he was reading, but it definitely wasn't Carroll's book. Alice in the books was a much stronger character than the one in the film could ever be. So, after running away from someone who proposes to her but she doesn't want to marry, she falls down a hole and enters Wonderland. Then she's told that she's the Chosen One and has to defeat the Jabberwock, whose name they get wrong. The "Chosen One" plot has been done so many times it just isn't funny. Are they even trying to be original? Anyway, Alice is convinced it's all a dream, until she remembers it isn't and has a flashback- which happens to be the ONLY GOOD SCENE IN THE ENTIRE MOVIE. Then lots of boring adventure stuff happens, Alice faces the Jabberwock and the Red Queen is defeated. The plot was so boring I've practically forgotten it already. Anyway, the worst part is definitely the characters. Who are nothing like in the books. Why is the Hatter a good guy? How could they possibly manage to confuse the Queen of Hearts and the Red Queen? Would it have killed them to put the White Knight in? Why do they all have stupid names? Burton tried to make the characters more complex, which didn't work. This story isn't faithful to the books. Instead it is a pastiche of previous Lewis Carroll fanon. Don't watch it. EVER!
Pretty On the Surface But That's About It.
As a warning, there will be spoilers in this. At first glance Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland isn't a bad film. It had quite a lot of good elements with stunning visuals, superstar casting, and a director that is known for making good movies. Unfortunately there's a lot left to be desired with this film as well. First I'll start with the plot. Somehow we've lost the delightful nonsense of Alice in Wonderland and we've turned it into a cliched Chosen One story. Alice has run away from her almost fiance and stumbled into Wonderland once again, only now she's the only one able to defeat an unkillable dragon and free the kingdom from tyranny. Any tension about whether or not Alice can really do this is lost immediately with the introduction of the Oraculum, an illustrated calendar that shows something happen everyday of Wonderland, which says that Alice will kill the Jabberwocky, whether she wants to or not. And the rest of the plot tells us all that You Cant Fight Fate when everything that Alice does leads her that much closer to her destiny. After defeating the Jabberwocky and returning home, Alice cleans up lose ends and runs off to expand her father's business (or bring Opium to China depending on your view.) The story just seems cliche and the writing feels lazy. I do have to say that the acting is pretty good. Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp are as good as they ever are and they bring the characters of the Mad Hatter and Red Queen to life and make them real and sympathetic. Mia Wasikowska tends to have dull surprise as her main emotion, but she does have the justification of Alice thinking everything is all a dream for most of the movie. The voice acting is very nice as well. The visuals are very nice. As per usual, Tim Burton there is quite a lot of Scenery Porn. The CG is smooth and the 3D is alright, if a bit bandwagony. Personally I miss the old Burton style of using puppets and claymation, but the art changes with the times, I guess. I can't say that I dislike this movie, but I don't really like it either. It really is pretty average, but that could probably be blamed on lazy writing.