Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Alice in Wonderland (late... :/) movie review

Alice In Wonderland
Dir: Tim Burton
Cast: Mia Wasikowska (Alice), Johnny Depp (Mad Hatter), Helena Boham Carter (Red Queen), Anne Hathaway (White Queen), Crispin Glover (Knave of Hearts), Micheal Sheen (White Rabbit), Alan Rickman (Caterpillar), Steven Frye (Cheshire Cat)
Script: Linda Woolverton
Length: 1 hr. 49 min.
Verdict: SEE
Rating: PG (Agree with this one. There is a battle scene and a few scary scenes here and there.)

I'm a big Alice fan. I own I own countless of Alice books and movies, and I'm really intrigued by the whole story of how Alice was written and all. And I do know that this version of Alice In Wonderland is worth it. First of all, the movie looks amazing. The whole set captures Wonderland just right with a mix of danger and creepiness but still keeping it fun and playful and, most of all, curious.
The movie basically begins when Alice Kingsley the now-grownup cute Alice, (?Mia Waskikowska? is perfect for Alice if not a little too pale, though that's probably thanks to make-up) is just deciding on a fiancee until she sees the white rabbit and then: well, you know what happens. Once she's in Wonderland the people and creatures have eagerly awaited her return. For the evil Red Queen, Iracebeth (played deliciously with a rather enormous head by Helena Boham Carter) has taken over Wonderland and has become the female version of Stalin. So it's Alice's job to go to the White Queen, Iracebeth's younger sister (Anne Hathaway is adorable here!) and ultimately fight the dreaded Jabberwocky with the help of the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp is perfectly cast here), a bloodhound (Timothy Spall), Blue the caterpillar (Alan Rickman also perfectly cast) among others.
WHAT??? This isn't the normal Alice in Wonderland storyline? WHAT IS THE WORLD COMING TO??? While it's true I didn't care much for the "good-vrs.-evil" story-line we've seen so many times in movies that's been better executed, I didn't mind much. In fact, for a movie like this, why the hell does story matter? Burton remains faithful to the world, to the characters, to the mood and to the theme and that's all what matters. And he truly does succeed.
I LOVED Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter. He IS the Mad Hatter. I don't see how they would have casted anyone else. Depp captures the creepy wierd aspect while still maintaining a level of sweetness and fun. Helena Boham Carter again is pefect for her role as the evil Red Queen (which I guess is a combination of the Queen of Hearts AND the Red Queen.) She's evil, but she also has a sense of humor, contrasting her sister, the White Queen who cannot hurt a single thing, not even waving away a butterfly (???) and who's kind of light headed, but she's still smart and certainly a lot nicer than her sister. I liked Anne Hathaway, she put her own stamp on the part, which I really enjoyed quite a bit.
Only problem, and I did mention this before, I wished the movie had some other plot line we've seen before. Not the "it's Alice's destiny to fight the Red Queen and save Aaaaall of Wonderland!!!" Really Tim Burton? You're so creative, can't you be even MORE creative with the plot of this movie? It did kind of ruined the movie for me, I wished Burton could come up with a more original plot and ending.
But, you know what saved it? That's right folks, can't believe I'm saying this, but the special effects, the costumes, and Wonderland itself is what saved the whole thing. This Wonderland is just beautifully done and recreated. I think out of all the Wonderlands that I've seen in movie history, this one's the best BY FAR! Not only does it look incredibly beautiful and colorful, it was faithful to the book, so the world looks daunting, charming and magical, but it also had quite a bit of darkness in it, which I appreciated as an Alice fan. And adding this great cast in this setting, I got into this world, and it never let me go, until Alice ultimately leaves Wonderland.
Overall, a bit underwhelming (curse you hype!) but it's still very enjoyable, I seriously recomend SEEing it!

Kiddie-tron: Well, it IS PG. It deserves its rating. Like I said, nothing too shabby, but there is a major battle scene, in which something's head gets cut off, and it might be a bit too scary for really young kids. But overall, it is a kid's movie, so you should be A-OK if you have kids. 

Alice in Wonderland is now out on Blu-Ray and DVD
The Red Queen: I need a pig here!
[Live pig is slid under her feet]
The Red Queen: I love a warm pig belly for my aching feet.

The Mad Hatter: What a regrettably large head you have. I would very much like to hat it. I used to hat The White Queen, you know. Her head was so small.
The Red Queen: It's tiny. It's a pimple of a head.

The Mad Hatter: Have I gone mad?
[Alice checks Hatter's temperature]
Alice Kingsley: I'm afraid so. You're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret. All the best people are.

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