Monday, April 5, 2010

'Alice in Wonderland' review, no huge spoilers

Got to see Alice in Wonderland. I will not go on about how many time I read both 'Wonderland' books as a kid and all the usual blah-blah.
I couldn't stop reading them, and have a segment in my soul for those wacky writings.
Short verdict;
All around nicely done, well worth seeing, but a bit short on some of the surreal kookiness .
Plus sort of saddled with a linear ending that killed some of the insane joy the film otherwise brings.

The most pain for me was the 3-D. It didn't benefit from it, except for the most digital scenes that clearly weren't suffering from this enhancement.
I kept looking over my glasses during half the film.

The digital looked well, but often it seemed a bit lazy for as spectacular as it generally should have been.
For as good as the forced perspectives and digital creatures/people interacted, the Knights were too video-game like. And man, those horses looked purty digital, which always irks me. We can create life-like dragons, but not horses?

Costumes were actually a bit disappointing. They looked, gasp, too Disney and simple for much of the time to me. Sure, the Hatter had the best one, and the Red Queen had some great ones..... but it still reminded me of old princess gowns and such. Alice's armour and sword had a nice appearance, but looked cheap up close.
The first 'Narnia' film suffered the same way to me; nice design, executed with an air of 'it's a kids film, so what if it looks like plastic, kids don't notice'?
Trust me, we kids do notice.

Alice was fine for the part, and looked well. I wish she was more certain of herself and almost obstinate, like in the original stories, but I reckon that character change reflects the overall feel of the movie atmosphere vs. the original material.

The voice work was top notch, and the toppest of top notch. The weakest point;
some of the voices only had a few lines! Micheal Gough AND CHRIS LEE only had a sentence or two?!
C'mon the heck on, that's unfair!!!

Otherwise, Stephen Fry is a Cheshire Cat in real life, and he could read a phone book and make it funny.
Totally CGI looking, but the surreal fluidity worked for that feline.

Alan Rickman as the Blue Caterpillar? Say no more. ;-) Same with Sheen as the White Rabbit.

Oh, yes, digital bunnies have come a long way, the White Rabbit looks and acts like a white bunny I own, LOL!
The Hare was great.

I thought I would hate Tweedledee and Tweedledum, but honestly, they were funny and endearing enough.

I adored Baynard the Hound, and though the kind of anthropomorphic Disney-look for him was suitable .

Helen Bonham Carter works so much harder than people give her credit for, she's a gem.

Crispin Glover was eerily Brad Dourif-esq/Grima like, and I loved to loath his character.
He had a nice costume, btw....... (adds to list)

Anne Hathway was a nice surprise, she's a mix of ethereal purity and her own kooky daffiness.

Oh yes, Johnny Depp? Futterwacking excellent. I think too much time was devoted to him, but maybe that is not a bad thing.
I didn't expect sparks between him and Alice, but I suppose every movie needs a love story now. Whateva.

I also liked Marton Csokas' at the beginning as her father, and kind of sad he wasn't in the rest of the film.

Biggest letdown was, there was not ENOUGH TIM BURTON.
I am not begging for full-out severed heads and evil naughtiness, but 'Nightmare Before Christmas' had more kooky spooky moments. I suppose there is too much Disney control to make that happen.
The elements many people are having qualms with is it's not following the original story, and it shouldn't; it's set after the prior books and liberally moving around the prior events.
But in that sense, the film feels constrained; it doesn't want to deviate and recreate things from the original source, but it's a rehash of the events.
I would have rather seen a totally new vision of the original story with Burton's spin on it.

All in all, fantastic for the small fry and young, great for anyone with a sense of imagination and lunacy, but a watered down version of what could have been a futterwacking good film.
And I do plan on seeing it again.
It still does not answer why a raven is like a writing desk..........

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