Alice in Wonderland
Director: Tim Burton
Written by Linda Woolverton
Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, and Anne Hathaway
Before I begin this review, I think it is only fair I should warn you about some quick facts about me in regards to this film: One, I love weird, dark, and twisted. (I love all of Tim Burton’s Films that I have seen). Two, I have been waiting to see this movie ever since it went into production.
Therefore, this review might be slightly bias.
To me, everything about this film seemed right from the get-go: the cast, the director, the format... Over the past year, as I waited impatiently for its debut, I began to build up my expectations.
Thus I was petrified when it came out. Most of the time, the movies I am most excited for tend to flop. Also, the fact that it was rated PG did nothing to sooth my nerves. Tim Burton can do disturbing fairly well when given the wiggle room to do so (Look at Sweeney Todd for example. He got to pull out all the stops because of it’s Rating). However, when restricted…. well, lets just say it’s not as good.
With all of this in mind, I watched Alice in Wonderland today with batted breath.
I was not disappointed. Alice in Wonderland is one of those rare films that met all of my expectations and then some. It was brilliantly composed and delightfully mad
Here is the break down.
The acting in this film was fabulous. Not only were the core characters strong, but the side characters also gave an amazing performance, making the overall film balanced.
I would like to especially give mention to Mia Wasikowska. In Alice in Wonderland, Mia played the strong-minded Alice, the heroin of this crazy adventure. Her portrayal of Alice is perfect. She is clever, witty, brave and most importantly human. She makes Alice feel real and gives the audience a window into this crazy wonderland. Her acting is very solid, and truly makes the film. (Keep an eye on her; she is going places)
Also a shout out to all the magnificent side characters: Alan Rickman (caterpillar), Matt Lucas (Tweedledee / Tweedledum), Stephen Fry (Cheshire Cat), Paul Whitehouse (March Hare), Crispin Glover (Knave of Hearts)…. Their acting was amazing, and really made this film special.
I should also mention the other headliners. Jonny Depp was good as the Mad Hatter, which is to be expected, after all, this role was right up his ally. However, there were a few things that displeased me about his performance. For one, there were points where it felt as though his Mad Hatter was simply a blend of his past characters. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Johnny Depp, but he has this air about him that he tends to put in all his characters. Thus, I felt as though, at times, the Mad Hatter was just not enough “hatter” and too much “Johnny”. Otherwise, I loved his performance. I loved how he captured not only the Hatters madness, but also his grasps at sanity.
Helena Bonham Carter was excellent as the Red Queen and really added layers to the character (Which is always nice to see). There is really not much else you can say…
Anne Hathaway was interesting as the white queen. (When you see the movie you’ll understand the truth or that sentence)
Overall, the acting made this film strong and balanced.
The script was written by Linda Woolverton and based off the books by Lewis Carroll. Overall I thought the script was very clever. The plot is well thought out and interesting. I particularly liked how it included the after effect of Alice’s first trip down the rabbit hole; it added a lot to both the Alice’s character and the depth of the film. The script also made the film work on both a literal and psychological level through its use of dialogue and characters, adding to the sophistication of the film (which was again very nice to see).
I’d also like to mention that the dialogue was fantastic. It was light, witty, disturbing, and entertaining. It was the soul of the script.
Though I do love most aspects of this script, there was one element I did not approve of in the plot. Towards the end of the movie, the film takes on a Wizard of Oz like feel. This is clique and makes the ending lackluster. I could have done with out it.
The costumes in this movie are well done. Their use of color and style reflect a lot about the character and mood of the scene. Outstanding.
The make up was good for the most part; however, there were points where they over did it.
Here is the deal with the 3D: though it was lovely to look at, when there was motion in the scene the film got blurry. I do not enjoy watching blurred images, and I think it took away from the film.
However, I do recommend seeing it in Imax. This larger then life movie works well on a large screen.
Absolutely breathtaking work. Every aspect of this movie is beautiful to the eye. The animals looked lively. The landscapes once again reflected the mood of the scene and showed a true understanding of color. Also, the Cheshire Cat was perfect. Instead of just disappearing and reappearing, he flowed like smoke. Overall, the CGI was the backbone of this movie.
Danny Elfman’s music is great, as per usual. It plays a subtle roll in the film, and doesn’t really stand out.
I thought this film was a delight to watch. It’s definitely worth seeing on the big screen.
If you love twisted tales of adventure and wonder or just plain mad, see Alice in Wonderland in a theater near you.
My Star Rating: * * *
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