Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Alice in Wonderland (2010)

Boring and empty movie. It seemed as though Burton desperately wanted to do his own version of the visuals for the world, so he snatched up the first Alice script he could find without bothering to find a compelling story.

Alice returns to Wonderland, though she has forgotten her earlier adventures there (which is never explained), and for some reason must kill a dragon? The dragon sort of works for the Red Queen, who is I guess evil? And only Alice can do it because there's a scroll that says so? What a mess of a script. Characters are undefined, relationships are simply assumed, emotions instructed. The story is never intriguing, the danger never apparent, the tension non-existent. There is never any doubt that she is "The Alice" and that, for some reason, she will eventually kill a Jabberwocky (thus embracing her true potential).

Why is the Red Queen bad? What does Crispin Glover's character want (and who is he)? Why is the White Queen good? What does The Hatter want? Am I supposed to care about his character? What has actually happened since the first adventure? Hook may not be considered a great movie, but as a story that is very similar to Burton's Alice, at least the plot and characters were clear. I understood it perfectly as a child. As an adult seeing Alice, I either didn't understand or I didn't care.

So what was good? Well, it's Burton, so you've got visuals, right? I guess they were ok. It was fun seeing Matt Lucas (of "Little Britain") as Tweedledee/dum. Helena Bonham was a very funny Red Queen.

But without a story the movie falls completely flat. There's really nothing for me to recommend it. Even with a few good performances you'd be better off spending your time elsewhere. The best thing I can say about it is that it made me want to watch the animated Disney version.

(Got to see this one for free in 3D thanks to Shane!)


_Shane said...

I completely agree on all accounts.

My favorite thing about the film was the March Hare. That's about it.

jeric2003 said...

Yeah, I was underwhelmed, although entertained enough, which is what I expected.

I think the 3D was a complete waste, and the Mad Hatter dance was one of the worst things I've ever seen.

Helena Bonham Carter and her call for a pig were awesome. I also liked Alice.

Ryan said...

Yeah, 3D was unnecessary, and Hatter dance was lame. It should have been something genuinely good and surprising, like Napoleon Dynamite's dance. Especially after they hyped it up the whole stupid movie.

Jonathan said...

For some reason I assumed the Mad Hatter's dance was never going to be shown because it would be too amazing to actually witness it -- then after I had forgotten about it, it was suddenly happening before my eyes and ruining a movie that couldn't afford to be any worse.

I thought the actress who played Alice was good and HBC as the Red Queen was the only character who amused me. Depp is becoming samey and his Hatter bored me. I thought the CG looked quite amateur for 2010 (e.g. Crispin Glover's digitally extended arms).

Your comparison with Hook is well made and indeed reflects badly on Burton's attempt to do the same thing.

I once saw a much better version of this Alice in Wonderland called Big Fish. If only that director could make some more movies.