Saturday, June 26, 2010

Alice in Wonderland

Rated: PG
Nineteen-year-old Alice (Mia Wasikowska) is attending a party at a lavish country estate when she sees a white rabbit with a pocket watch dart into the bushes. Curious, she follows the rabbit to an enormous tree, and tumbles down a hole that takes her to Underland, a strange world inhabited by anthropomorphic creatures in search of someone to save them from the dreaded Red Queen (Helena Bonham-Carter), who has assumed control of the kingdom by decapitating anyone who dares disagree with her. According to a scroll detailing a historical timeline of Underland -- including events that have not yet taken place -- it is Alice who will set the kingdom free by defeating the Jabberwocky, a powerful dragon-like creature under the control of the Red Queen. But is this Alice the same Alice who appears in the scroll? While some of the creatures of Underland have their doubts, the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) and his friends are certain she's the same girl who previously visited them years ago. When the Red Queen kidnaps the Mad Hatter, Alice attempts to free her friend and locate the one weapon with the power to slay the Jabberwocky, thereby restoring the White Queen (Anne Hathaway) to the throne, and bringing peace back to Underland.

I really liked this Alice in Wonderland. I confess that I have yet to read the books, but I know enough about them that I was able to appreciate everything the movie played off of. Some people apparently didn't like the fact that Tim Burton wrote a sort of sequel rather than the same old Lewis Carroll story, but I'm glad he didn't. Practically everyone knows the story of Alice in Wonderland; to turn it into a movie would have been dull, because - let us face it, - while it is an entertaining read, it really has no storyline. It's a journey story, with no clear goal in the end. While I like these sorts of stories, it can make a movie drag and feel pointless. Tim Burton did a good job with "rewriting" it. He didn't really toy with the original story, but rather just extended it. And yet this movie did not feel like a sequel.

The cast was brilliant. When I found out that they were making Alice in Wonderland, I bet my friend $10 that Johnny Depp would play the Mad Hatter. And he was a brilliant Mad Hatter, though I do have to complain that sometimes he spoke so quietly and quickly that it was difficult to understand what he was saying. Even when I read sections of the book Alice in Wonderland, I always did find the Mad Hatter a pitiable character - not entirely certain why, - and I'm glad Tim Burton played upon that. Still, the Cheshire Cat was my favorite - always has been, always will. He reminds me of Mr. Bunbury, my cat, except he's more polite and helpful. They could not have done the Cheshire Cat any better in this. Helena Bonham-Carter was a very good Red Queen - I thought she was hilarious, - and Anne Hathaway made a good White Queen.

I know one of my friends didn't like that the CG wasn't so pristine that everything looked real. You could tell that things were CGd. But I really liked that! It gave the movie a more dreamlike quality, more nightmarish; something that would clearly be in a person's mind. If the CG had been so good that everything looked real, it would not have worked.

Alice in Wonderland was a very enjoyable, entertaining movie, with just the right quality of darkness that it needed. No one else but Tim Burton probably could have done it. I had very strange dreams after watching it, but I was impressed. It was good.


  1. I watched this on an international flight this summer, and I tried to keep an open mind... but I just really didn't get it. I never liked the story of Alice and Wonderland because I thought it was boring and kind of weird, and this movie really didn't change that opinion. I thought Johnny Depp did a good job with the character, but it wasn't my favorite performance of his (he did speak a little too quietly/quickly at times).
    Yeah, I don't know....I just didn't really enjoy the movie at all.

  2. It's an "Alice in Wonderland" story. No point in even trying to get it, lol. It was fun to see, though.


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