So yesterday I saw Alice in Wonderland. Truthfully I have never been a very big Alice in Wonderland fan. It all goes back to the time when I was but a mere wee pup, watching Disney’s version of ‘AiW’. I absolutely despised that movie. Many years later and some deep philosophical thinking I came to the decision that I hated the movie because it was just too damn weird for a 6 year old to watch and WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY too mean. Have you ever noticed that in some kids’ movies, there are characters that are just so unreasonably mean? Like in Dumbo where all the elephants (and everyone else for that matter) are so mean and cruel to that poor widdle baby. Well in AiW it was the flowers being mean to Alice that got to me. I don’t like it when people are mean and unreasonable to children, and Disney’s AiW was particularly cruel.
Having said that I don’t really dislike the story of Alice in Wonderland, truthfully I realised that I have actually NEVER READ THE ORIGINAL!!!!! (I came to this realisation yesterday). I can recall half watching a very good Hallmark version of Alice in Wonderland. It starred Tina Majorino – whom I absolutely adored in Waterworld (yes the Kevin Costner movie critics despised, but sci fi fans loved). Recently the SyFy Channel made an Alice miniseries, which took the idea of another world and completely changed it. I really enjoyed it. Wonderland was a casino, where pearls (humans from Alice’s reality) are sapped of all their emotions so that the people of Wonderland can experience all those intoxicating emotions. This ‘drug trafficking’ kingdom is ruled by the Red Queen. Alice’s boyfriend Jack Chase, is kidnapped by the Queen’s ‘cards’ and taken to Wonderland, Alice follows and all sorts of mayhem ensues. My favourite thing about the miniseries was that it was completely different yet very similar to the book (which I haven’t read). I also loved that Alice wasn’t some weakling, and that she and the Hatter had this lovely I-don’t-trust-you-I’m-falling-for-you relationship.
Right, so back Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. I loved it, and at the same time I felt there was something lacking. And apparently I wasn’t the only one who felt this way, I just took longer to come to the same realisation that my friends did. And apparently we are not the only ones.
Now before I go on I should say that there is a girl (well she is more a young woman) who works at Disney, has a stunning art style, and has a deep and unrequited love for Disney’s Alice in Wonderland. I consider her an authority on the subject. So I was quite interested to read what she had to say on the movie.
Here is her blog entry on the movie: http://bri-chan.livejournal.com/352799.html#cutid1
You don’t have to read it, it’s just interesting. Also here’s a deviant art account bri-chan.deviantart.com She is such a talented person.
Right, back to Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. Visually it is a treat. Stunning special effects and costumes. My favourite characters in the movie were the March Hare and the White Queen. The March Hare has the most stunning facial expressions ever. I loved the twitching ears and eyes, how jittery and neurotic he was. And Anne Hathaway as The White Queen was just stunning. She has a refined gentle nature, and when she isn’t being courtly and refined she has this gentle silliness to her. (I don’t think I’m making my point but I hope you get the idea.)
I really liked that this wasn’t a retelling of Alice in Wonderland but a continuation of the story. (I love it when people take the classics and rewrite them, but differently). I think one major point of contention I have with movie was that there wasn’t a big climax. If it were an action movie I would say it was missing that final explosion the one that totally destroys everything and bring an end to the movie. Also, throughout the movie everyone is waiting for Alice to realise that she is their destined hero blah blah woof woof. When she finally comes to this realisation…….. Wait did she really? See there’s my problem, Alice never had her big epiphany where she goes ‘Oh my God I am the chosen one!’ it was more a fizzle than a bang. Also I had a bit of difficulty following the Hatter when he swopped over to a Scottish accent, and it is not too clear why he actually swops to a Scottish accent, but I get that its meant to show that the Hatter has schizophrenia or something. I also loved the dialogue. Like ‘Futterwaken’, what a wondrously strange word. Unfortunately I can’t think of anymore examples but trust me they’re there.
I think the thing that bothered me the most was the ending. Alice goes back. After everything we have seen, why she would want to go back to such a stifling life when everything she ever wanted is in Wonderland. Also the Hatter is totally in love with her and it’s not like she’s going to find a liberal man in the society she is from.
So Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland not as climatic as Avatar, but a fun movie.