Monday, March 8, 2010

Film Review | Alice in Wonderland

I honestly don't think I have been this excited to see a movie in a while. I have been looking forward to Alice in Wonderland since I saw the first preview. However, I might have been a little too excited. While promising, Alice in Wonderland was nowhere near as good as it could have been. I hate to say it, but it definitely fell short which is strange for a Tim Burton film. To keep the spoilers to a minimum, the full review is after the jump.

Grade: D

Image from Disney Dreaming

Like I mentioned, this film was definitely not one of Burton's best. He is known for his dark and often creepy style. However, his style is very unique and quite attractive on screen. In the case of Alice in Wonderland though, it wasn't the best. I watched it in Disney Digital 3D (no IMAX though) and I don't know if the film gained anything from that. The 3D didn't make the movie more engaging at all. It would've been fine in two dimensions.

The biggest issue with the film was that it did not explain that much. Unless you are familiar with Lewis Carroll's works, you won't really understand all the lingo and characters. Even some of the story was difficult to understand considering the speed at which the characters spoke. For many, the White Queen will be a completely new addition to the tale, and her role in the story was not very well-defined. The Red Queen was extremely well portrayed, but her purpose is quite understated. Also, a lot of emphasis was placed on the Jabberwocky which did not have the "umph" I was expecting. Overall, the film had lots of dry moments and one part that might make you jump (or squeamish). The actors did a great job of bringing their roles to life, but the writing was sub-par. I wish that Burton had taken a little inspiration from The Looking Glass Wars (Frank Beddor) to give this film more substance.

As I mentioned before, the graphics were not what I was expecting. Tim Burton's style is already quite stunning, but it felt subdued in the film. It's a surprise considering how crazy and outlandish it could have been. The film at least starts and ends the story of Alice's reality quite nicely. However, it all seems very dry, drawn out and even rushed at moments. Perhaps I expected something truly amazing considering that this is Tim Burton we are talking about. He had a great cast and an okay idea. It just fell apart in the middle and end.

The defining question: Would I see it again? Maybe if it is free on television. It's not worth the money to see it in 3D and I don't even know if it is worth it to see it as such. Whether you see it is up to you, but don't say that I didn't warn you.

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