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Monday, 15 March 2010

Movie Review: Alice in Wonderland

The other day I went to watch Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland much to the insistence of my siblings. For quite some time now they’ve been saying things like “I want to watch that!”, “It’s going to be awesome!” and “Tim Burton’s the best movie maker!” and that really got annoying after having seen the trailer myself. Once I saw the trailer I immediately thought to myself “Well… Can’t be that bad.”. I wasn’t wrong but I hardly felt that it was a movie that was worth going out of the way to a cinema to watch, much less one located in a place without much else going for it besides the cinema thanks to my brother’s friends’ idea of a good time.

Basically, this movie revisits Wonderland years after Alice first stumbles upon it. She comes back as an adult that has lost much of her childhood qualities despite still being an oddball in society during that era. Wonderland has fallen into turmoil since Alice left as the Red Queen had taken over the fantasy world and now Alice has to rediscover herself so she can slay the Jabberwocky and release them from the Red Queen’s tyranny.

I really have to wonder what the hell the producers of this movie were thinking. Why exactly are they trying to continue the story with a plot that doesn’t work in the same spirit as the source story? Does anyone actually have any good ideas left in Hollywood? Mind you, I’ve never read the entirety of the original stories but I know that the author would be rolling in his grave because of this take on his world. Seriously, how do you go from a story of a curious child discovering a wonderfully mad world and twist it into a crapsack world that needs saving.

I’m also dishing out “What the hell were you thinking?” to Tim Burton for accepting the job to this film at all. I’m not quite as big a fan as my siblings but I know the guy has a sweet macabre style when it comes to film making. He did a decent job here but it lacked that great style of his. The plot was ridiculously generic for the guy and the direction felt half-assed for a good portion of the film. The only thing I felt was actually his work were the designs for the human characters but other than that the rest of the stuff felt like they were thought up by a rookie who only knows how to copypasta other people’s style. The climax was surprisingly dull for what’s supposed to be the peaking point of the movie and the concluding scenes of the movie were so horribly awkward that it may just have been the worst part of the movie.

The main wallbangers of this movie would have to be plot setup, Alice’s actress and the lack actual originality where it matters. Throughout the movie I was thinking why exactly did the place go downhill so much after Alice left? In the big picture, she wasn’t anything more than a lost little girl who passed through Wonderland and yet her brief visit had shaken the world so much simply because she was there for what should have been a few hours. I thought there would be more to it than just the oracle scroll thing saying that it was her but apparently there was no big twist to it at all. In fact, there didn’t seem to be any twists in the movie at all. The actress didn’t do very much to help the situation either. Her acting was wooden where it needed and didn’t need to be. You could pass that off as old British behavior in some scenes but it becomes apparent in the rest that they made a mistake casting roles. Speaking of which I felt it would have made the movie more interesting if Johnny Depp had been someone other than the Mad Hatter even though he did his job sufficiently well enough.

In conclusion, Alice in Wonderland is just one of many others with similar plots and that any hype sparked by the inclusion of Johnny Depp and Tim Burton on the staff is not justified by the contents. I could say the same of “9”, another one of Tim Burton’s movies, if it weren’t for the fact that it actually did show off his style despite its predictable plot. Hopefully the Book of Eli will live up to my expectations as I hear that it has some pretty good twists for a Survivorland movie.

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