Alice in Wonderland
We had one of those unfortunate viewing experiences when we went to see this movie last weekend. The house was mostly packed and behind us was an incredibly obnoxious family complete with a kid that wouldn’t stop coughing on ScottE‘s neck. Which is why I’m convinced he’s had “the plague” the last few days.
So it’s remarkable that despite the bad environment I still enjoyed the film. It wasn’t amazing but excelled in the areas I expected it to. Under the direction of Tim Burton you knew that it would be a little bizarre and almost creepy. The personalities were bigger than life. And the weirdness of Lewis Carroll’s characters was that much…weirder.
The script is an amalgamation of Carroll’s two Alice books, which made the story itself a bit odd and meandering. It lacked substance and the bookend stories of Alice’s life outside Wonderland (called Underland in this movie) seemed odd and out of place. My other disappointment was with Mia Wasikowska in the lead – she was a bit milquetoast and didn’t seem as wide-eyed with her environment.
Fortunately the characters of Underland were clever and richly drawn. Johnny Depp is truly off his rocker as the Mad Hatter and so is his erstwhile companion, the March Hare. Helena Bonham Carter is a delight as the big-headed and vitriolic Red Queen, while Anne Hathaway floats around to the point of absurdity as the White Queen. But my favorite by far was the Cheshire Cat (voiced by Stephen Fry) – he made you wish you could just fade in and out like that at will yourself!
The animation throughout Underland is top-notch and you’ll be dazzled by the colors. Which may lead you to ask – is it worth seeing in 3-D? My answer is – not really. I felt like so much more could have been done and instead the 3-D filming was done as an afterthought. In the future I’m keeping in mind that if a 3-D presentation wasn’t the main goal of the director (e.g. Avatar, Coraline), then it’s not worth the extra bucks.
Overall this is a good film, but not a great one. I give it a B.