Recently, I went to see Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. A film whose progress I have openly stalke
d during it's in-development stages up until the day before I went to see the film (thanks again, IMDB. I can alway
s count on you).
I will begin by saying how disappointed I am with Burton's rendition. And being a long-time Burton fan, it pains me to admit it but I feel I must explain
First, upon hearing of Burton taking on this project, I felt overcome with feelings of joy and utter excitement. I truly enjoy Burton's work (well, most of it considering I am about to bash this film) and he's a fantastic director. He has a vision and he truly knows how to execute it.
As I checked the IMDB page for this film almost daily, the excitemen
t built up increasingly so. Initially, I heard a somewhat unknown actress was to play Alice. I was thrilled, especially since it wasn't Lindsay Lohan, who so intently expressed her interest to the media in the role. Then again, why would I even worry that Burton would pick such a poor actress?
Anyway, as time went on, casting choices were made and as more and more incredible actors were added to the list, the more I began to hyperventilate over this film which I hadn't even seen yet. My ants-in-my-pants excitement reached a near peak when I heard Helena Bonham-Carter was cast as The Queen of Hearts (well, The Red Queen). I am a HUGE fan of hers and she's a brilliant actress and a beautiful woman.
At that point, I was pretty much so
ld. I checked to see who was writing the screenplay and it was Linda Woolverton. She's written for Disney animated films during their heyday; most notably The Lion King. I figured, "Alright, it's a Disney film and they got a Disney writer. Not bad." However, I'll get back to this shortly.
Then, I heard the characters would be CGI. Which I thought was good, considering the fact that a) we have the technology, might as well put it to good use and b) I'd rather have them be computer-generated characters instead of people dressed up and put in makeup (although I have to say, the 1999 Alice in Wonderland, starring Tina Majorino, was wonderful).
Anyway, next thing, photos are being released of the characters in costume and in CGI form and I'm getting even more excited.
Then, I hear that not only are the characters going to be CGI, but Wonderland itself was goin
g to be entirely made from pixels on a computer. Bummer.
Now, onto my review (sorry for bullshitting most of this post):
The film begins. It's a dark night and there's a little girl in bed having a nightmare. First of all, let me just say, why did they have to dip that poor child in a coat of white foundation and make it look like she was wearing a wig?! Honestly! That was just bad news from the start.
Next, we see Alice, all grown up and years (I think) after her father's passing. Here, at this moment, I realize Burton was pulling a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; he was giving Alice a reason to be so independent and filled with gumption. The fact that her father, the only person who understood her completely, had passed was the reason Alice had become so rebellious and against the rules of society. I mean, she wasn't toting a gun or anything, but she refused to wear her stockings and she refused to be thrown into an arranged marriage to an extremely creepy man. Anyway, Burton was putting his own twist on the story; giving Alice a reason to be the way she is, much like how he gave Willy Wonka a reason to be so strange and came to be the owner of a chocolate factory: he had "daddy issues."
I soon come to realize that the script was very dumbed down. I understand that the target audience for this film was children, but honestly, the script was pretty dull. I figured that they could at least speak with some sort of sophistication, much like Burton's characters in Sleepy Hollow. It wasn't Shakespearian English, but it wasn't a storybook to read to children at night. And neither was Carroll's story.
Mia Wasikowska was alright. She did the "gumption" bit fairly well and she was extremely beautiful.
Helena Bonham-Carter was great. She made me chuckle and I loved the fact that she wore the round sunglasses whilst playing croquet.
Crispin Glover didn't have the best British accent b
ut, to me, he's always sexy in that strange way.
Johnny Depp was wonderful as the one personality of the Mad Hatter. Being "mad", Burton gave the character a split-personality disorder. One personality was flighty, flamboyant, silly and had a lisp. The other was eager to be "down with the bloody Red Queen" and spoke in a Scottish accent, a mix of Jack Sparrow and John Barrie. The personality I liked best and wished he had been throughout the entire film was that of the flamboyant one.
Stephen Fry did some pretty great voice acting as the Cheshire Cat.
And of course, Alan Rickman did as well. Especially considering he put that damn sexy, velvety voice to good use.
I didn't really like The White Queen (Anne Hathaway) all too much. I mean, she was sweet and beautiful and kind, yet nothing really stuck out for me.
It's a shame because there were so many great actors in this film, yet nobody really shined; they all pretty much stayed on the same wavelength and I didn't like that at all.
I will give Burton credit for trying. Despite what I may have said on this post, I didn't hate the film. It was alright but not his best and not the actors' best either. It was okay, if anything. Perhaps I'd watch it again once or twice, but it really didn't click with me. Sorry, Tim.