Sunday, March 7, 2010

Alice in Wonderland

Oh and he gets everything so right in the beginning. Young Alice is grown up yet still a dreamer, engaged to be married to a boring stiff and hoping to escape her stultifying Victorian upbringing. The English countryside and houses are wonderfully filmed and you wonder if Tim Burton will not let his weird sensibilities take over this reimagining of the Lewis Carroll classic. Yet, the rabbitt appears, Alice gives pursuit and falls into the hole and is swept away to Wonderland again or rather to a set out of Burton's imagination that we've seen in plenty of his movies. There are scenes of beauty, but most of its uninspired. We meet the same characters as before, some I wasn't familiar with. Johnny Depp appears as the Mad Hatter in a fleshed out role, where he gives another off-the-wall performance which seems similar to his other "unique, off-the-wall" performances. The 3D is unnecessary and actually becomes headache inducing after a certain point. Helena Bonham Carter aka Mrs. Burton  is atrocious as always as the red queen. The real talent comes in the form of the voicework of the animated characters such as Alan Rickman as the caterpillar and Michael Sheen as the rabbit. Actually, newcomer Mia Wasikowska makes a very suitable Alice. This may sound like an incendiary review, but I must admit I did enjoy this movie for most of the film until at some point towards the end, it turns into some kind of a Lord of the Rings mashup with with the good side of hodge podge characters engaged in battle against the evil clones, with a dragon and 4 false endings thrown in for good measure. This material is out there enough as it is that letting it be helmed by an terminally strange director will not do it justice.
**1/2 stars