Originally posted at moniqueblog.net
Tim Burton has now reimagined three already successful films-Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, The Planet of the Apes,
and now Alice in Wonderland
. But where Burton excelled with his version of Willy Wonka, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,
he narrowly escaped the same ground he tread with The Planet of the Apes
In this version, Alice (Mia Wasikowska) runs away from a badly proposed marriage and falls down a rabbit hole into Wonderland. Little does she know that she’s been there before.
While the overall story is a noble one-a girl finding herself as well as her place in life-there is a lot of clutter that overshadows it, the most important thing being that the story doesn’t start where people are most familiar with it.
Most people (myself included) assumed the story would be the traditional telling-where Alice learns about Wonderland, goes to the now iconic tea party, and battles the Queen of Hearts. But instead, the story has the inhabitants of Wonderland knowing and expecting Alice. It’s a bit off-putting for the audience because the story they know is now part of Americana storytelling.
The uneasy feeling of not knowing a story you’ve grown up with magnifies when some of the characters-like the White Rabbit-seem duplicated (in the movie, there's the traditional rabbit in a blue waistcoat as well as a crazy rabbit in a waistcoat who is not introduced properly) and others-who were initially nameless in the actual Alice
books-are given names and histories. The dormouse, caterpillar, and the Red and White Queens (Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway, respectively) have names that are both complicated to say and superfluous to the movie. And the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) has a past that has influenced his now political activist, rebellious nature. These characters are already iconic enough-they don’t need names to make them fancier. (As an aside, the characters at Alice’s supposed engagement party are rather superfluous too; her older sister and her brother-in-law are barely introduced, and when they are, it feels rushed and haphazard. In all honesty, the movie would move much faster if about half of the engagement party scene was taken out.)
That isn’t to say that the acting isn’t good. Depp, as usual, takes us through delightfully crazy turns as the Mad Hatter (the crazy dance aside), Hathaway shows that she can be a really good character actress, and Carter delivers both zany narcissism and touching tragedy to the Red Queen. Wasikowska’s take on Alice is unique; she’s not prim like the Disney version-Wasikowska’s Alice is much more moody and disappointed in life and the people in it, not counting her deceased father.
The special effects in this movie probably look better in 3D than the normal version, but even still, the modeling work itself isn’t very realistic. That’s not a bad thing, per se, but it takes a while to adjust to the look. The character and set design (created by Imaginism Studios
), however, is flawless, and if the computer modeling had matched the creativity put into designing the world and characters of Wonderland, the effects would have been elevated to another level.
Overall, Alice in Wonderland
is a movie that is great entertainment and fun for the eyes. And, for those of you that equate Alice
to substance taking, there are a lot of substances Alice consumes.
pictures from disneylicious.com