March 6, 2010 in Movie Reviews
I just got back from watching Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, considered an “extension” of the Lewis Carroll novels “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass”. In 3D, of course.
The story needs no introduction, but keep in mind that it is not a direct adaption, not even a re-imagining, so while there are familiar elements and characters, not everything will be expected.
Visually and stylistically, it’s almost as impressive as anything I’ve seen from Tim Burton (I’d probably still say Edward Scissorhands and Sleepy Hollow were better). The CGI is blended in seamlessly with the live action actors, led by Australian Mia Wasikowska as Alice, Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen, Crispin Glover as the Knave of Hearts, and Anne Hathaway as the White Queen.
As for whether the film itself was any good, well…it started off well, but after a strong introduction, Alice in Wonderland lost a lot of that initial intrigue and excitement. It may have coincided with the appearance of Depp’s Mad Hatter, who was given a much bigger and more important role than expected.
I could tell Burton was hoping for more of an emotional connection through the relationship between Alice and the Hatter, but I don’t think he succeeded. For once, I think seeing more of Johnny Depp actually made the film less interesting. Blasphemous?
As for the others, Mia Wasikowska was a pretty standard heroine, not bad but not oozing with star power either. Anne Hathaway, covered in goth-like make-up, was the ugliest I have ever seen her. And Helena Bonham Carter, with her massively over-sized head, was my favourite character (and not a terribly horrible one for a villain either).
Anyway, I thought Alice in Wonderland was okay. Good but could have been better. It was a visual feast and about half of the 109-minute running time was pretty fascinating. At times it was amusing and exciting (and even a little scary), but on the whole, not particularly entertaining by Burton’s usual high standards, and a film that got progressively weaker towards the end, including a pedestrian climax.
3 stars out of 5!
[PS: the 3D was good but to be honest I didn't feel like it made a huge difference to the overall experience.]