Saturday, 6 March 2010

Alice In Wonderland - Is that it?

When i was little, i was never really a massive fan of Alice In Wonderland, not like other people that i knew were. It just never really grabbed me like certain other Disney classics: Robin Hoon, Dumbo, Pinnocchio. So i'm glad i went into the theatre on the opening night of the new Tim Burton creation, without watching the original "Alice" beforehand. In fact, i was probably about eight when i last saw it. This meant that i didn't go into the movie with any premonitions of what it should be or how it should look, or even how the story should unravel. However, i did go in with high expectations (thanks to pre-hype and previous Burton + Depp experiences), which sadly, were not met. I've spent almost twenty four hours trying to figure out why, and i just can't put my finger on it.

Let me get this out of the way now. Visually, it's a masterpiece. Anybody who doubts that can shut the hell up. The 3D experience only helped to enhance the visual utopia. I just love everything, from the fat boys, to the talking flowers, to the Red Queens' Army of Cards. My personal favourite was the Cat, absolutely adorable and enchanting. The acting and voice acting was also excellent from the majority of the cast. I felt Alice could have been cast better. I don't really rate Mia Wasikowska after seeing her performance in this. It was actually quite stale and hard to believe, and probably actually contributed to the general feeling of dissapointment once the credits began to role. She never really seemed to react to anything as you would expect somebody to, or as you would yourself, which was odd. Fair enough she thought it was a dream until half way through, but i'd still be pretty chuffed about stumbling on a place like this, and being told i had to slay a gigantic Jabberwocky. She just plods along, not reacting to anything as she should be. The dialogue was like a British summer, some good and some bad, constantly up and down, none of it notable enough for me to remember and quote here. The story was undoubtably lacking something, although there were no obvious flaws or plot holes. The music, although well composed, was too bland and generic to really impress me. Tim Burtons' direction was faultless as always, utilising the best angles and applying just the right amount of light to get the full effect from a scene.

A friend pointed out to me, and i wholeheartedly agree with this, the film did seem to focus on Mr Depp aka "The Mad Hatter" a little bit too much, but who am i to question this!? It is their creation after all. It's not like his character was disappointing and shouldn't have allotted so much screen time, because he was awesome. You just expect it to be more about Alice. Maybe they were trying to distract us from her mediocre acting. The film had funny moments, although not really laugh out loud funny, more like a little chuckle and smile moment. It also had dramatic, heart racing moments, where you're genuinely scared for Alice and friends. I'm going to be a bastard here and say the credits were disappointing. The Credits are a unique opportunity for some fun outtakes or removed/extra scenes, or even just for some fancy effects to be shown off, but they were dull and dreary, with no visual sweetness to keep the audience involved once the movie finished.

I could sit here and speculate for hours about what may or may not have left me feeling dissapointed with this film, but as i honestly pointed out, i really can't put my finger on it. Maybe it was inevitable as a result of my dissinterest when i was younger. Therefore, this review was probably pointless and useless. I don't want to give the impression that i hated the movie. It was definitely worth the ticket price. It's just that the story was too obvious/linear/predictable (there's never any real surprises), the music was bland and the dialogue was adequate. The ending was predictable, corny, and seemingly rushed. I've decided that if the movie was made by someone other than Tim Burton it would be amazing, but my expectations were way too high. Go and see the film, i recommend it, that's all i can say. Just don't expect your expectations to be filled or exceeded. It's no "Nightmare Before Christmas". That way, if it does blow you away, it will feel even better.

Overall, i'd give this movie 3.5/5.


  1. Thanks for the review, it's always risky to have too high expectations.. I heard so many good things about this movie lately (haven't seen it myself yet though), I'm afraid i'm expecting too much of it myself already. I guess your review is my warning :) Nicely written btw

  2. Hi, thanks for the comment, i'm glad it helped you :)