Monday, April 12, 2010

Movie Review Monday - Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland Review

I have to be honest with you. I waited a long time to see this movie because I was very very skeptical. When the screen shots were first released a million years ago I was pretty excited. From what I could tell all of the design elements were really clicking, and everything looked super interesting. But then I remembered Sweeney Todd. The screenshots of that movie also looked awesome. But I did not enjoy the film at all. Also adding to my skepticism was Tim Burton's take on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; Big disappointment in my book. Anywho, what I'm saying is that I was very worried that I would not like this movie one bit... I went and saw it anyway.

Honestly, it was quite good. As I expected visually it was stunning. I'm not sure if Tim Burton is a great director, but as far as I'm concerned he's one of the best designers in the business. The 3D element was not abused and I didn't feel like it took over the story, but simply added to it.

The greatest success for this film, in my opinion, is the casting.
I, for one, can't blame Tim Burton for casting the same people over and over again ie Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Timothy Spall, Alan Rickman, etc... if they consistently do a good job.

Johnny Depp's Mad Hatter had this great duality to him which was wonderful to watch. I loved the Scottish war hero that popped out now and then, even if there were some Jack Sparrow traces mixed in their somewhere.
Alan Rickman was perfect for the Blue Caterpillar, and Matt Lucas was, well, adorable as Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. Of course Helena Bonham Carter and Timothy Spall were great, respectively, as well.
My favorite character, though, was Stephen Fry as the Chesire Cat. I don't know what it was, but something about him was extremely like-able. In a freaky, not quite sure if I should trust you kind of way...
If I'm honest I wasn't really bothered by Mia Wosikowska as Alice, but I also wasn't extremely impressed. Her choices seemed obvious and safe. I was never taken out of the story by her... I just think she could've gone further is all.
The only casting choice I didn't agree with was that of Anne Hathaway as the White Queen. Not that I don't like her as an actress because I do. I can't even pin down what it was that I didn't like about her in this role. There was just something that I didn't like about her in this role.

The biggest failure for this film is the script.
Right from the beginning we know how it's going to end. We know she's the real Alice, we know she's gonna kill the Jabberwocky, and there are no great surprises along the way. Even the obstacles Alice had to overcome seemed conveniently easy to surpass. Particularly the whole get the magic sword mission. "Here's your eye back big creepy thing, thanks for the key."

The one nugget of unexpectedness that I liked was the little romantic sub-plot between Alice and the Mad Hatter. That was fun for me.

Other than that, the dialogue is fine, it's just the arch of the story that is unoriginal and predictable.

To wrap it up.
Beautiful visually.
Great casting, and acting.
Lacking in the script area.

I give it a 7 1/2 out of 10.

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