Film Review – Alice in Wonderland (3D)
While not quite the same story as most of us remember from our childhood, this Tim Burton film sees Alice back in Wonderland after 10-12 years when she’s 19. Alice gets invited to a really large garden party where the surprise of the day is that this stuffy ginger boy is going to propose to her.
Alice has been seeing what she thinks is a rabbit all day and when the ginger finally proposes, she says she needs time to think. After chasing the rabbit, she falls in a hole and goes to Wonderland. When she arrives, the characters we all know (Cheshire cat, Tweedle-Dee, Tweedle-Dum, etc.) don’t recognize her and are unsure if she is the same Alice as before. The Red Queen’s men (or cards, rather) show up, led by Crispin Glover and a giant attack dog – a Bandersnatch (which is now my new favorite word) and capture some of them. Alice escapes and runs into the Mad Hatter (played by Johnny Depp) who gets captured while trying to protect her from the Red Queen’s men.
When Alice shows up at the Red Queen’s palace, she says her name is “UM” and befriends the queen. There’s all the “off with their heads!” yelling, as you’d expect from the previous story, but eventually the Red Queen and her men find out she’s the Alice that’s been sent to kill the queen’s champion – the Jabberwocky. Alice is trying to get the Vorpal sword which is the only thing that can kill a Jabberwocky, so it’s up to Alice to find and free the well-protected sword. There’s an epic battle at the end of the film between the White Queen and the Red Queen to determine who should hold the crown.
As many of you know, I loathe CGI. This movie is sort of an exception since I liked what they did with CGI about 40-50%. I especially liked what the director TRIED to do with CGI. For example, the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) had an enormous head which I absolutely loved and totally bought 100% – and sadly, found strangely arousing. But then Crispin Glover’s character had Crispin’s head and a tall, skinny, and awkward CGI body. WHY?!?! Isn’t Crispin Glover tall, skinny, and awkward? YES! Another fun and cool thing was Johnny Depp’s eyes. Just his eyes were CGI’d – and totally believable and realistic. I buy it. But then some of the talking animal stuff was absolute bullshit and hokey. Almost all of the landscape and background stuff the CGI people did was exquisite though – I loved that part. Either I’m becoming numb to CGI now or they’re just getting better at it.
Secondly, I saw the 3D version of this film, just to make sure I got ALL the awesomeness. And truly, they did an amazing job with the 3D aspect of the film – about 75% of the time. Lots of cool visuals with things flying at the camera and very cool shots where you could definitely see the depth of the shots. Then they’d computer-generate some dumb-ass flying rocking horse fighting a sea horse or something and it would completely ruin the illusion. During the scene where Alice fell into the hole to get to Wonderland, there were ridiculous CGI things happening that just angered me – the falling part was cool and you felt like you were falling as well, then you’d see something that made you yell “Come on!” and then you’d just get angry (or maybe that’s just me. Hahaha).
I loved the little things that happened in this movie. For example, the Red Queen has animals holding all of the furniture and fixtures around the palace. Monkeys are holding candelabras and desks, pigs are underneath chairs, walking fish are serving drinks, frogs are butlers, and flamingos and porcupines are croquet mallets and balls. Very imaginative and mostly well-depicted with CGI. I loved the fact that they explain that Alice had been wrong all along calling it Wonderland instead of Underland – which is actually what it is called. I loved the voices playing the CGI animals and people. Alan Rickman (Snape) played the opium-smoking caterpillar, Stephen Fry played the Cheshire Cat (who was awesome), I love Crispin Glover, Anne Hathaway as a hilariously aloof White Queen, and one of my favorite actors – Matt Lucas playing both Tweedle-Dum AND Tweedle-Dee (it took me forever to realize it was him playing both parts and arguing with himself hilariously – I LOVED these guys, especially because they almost looked like Matt Lucas).
There is, oddly, lots of eye-gouging in this movie. Multiple characters get their eyes plucked out in this film, so at least be ready for it. None of it is actually bloody and it always ends up being sort-of comical, but it’s still people and animals getting their eyes poked. Weird. And also look for the woman with the shelf-boobs on the Red Queen’s court – they’re awesomely hilarious and only in one scene where she catches Crispin Glover putting the make on Alice, even though he and the queen are an item. Finally, when you put dancing in my movies, I’m going to get mad. Sorry. There was ridiculous AND computer-enhanced dancing in this film that was 1000% unnecessary and infuriating. What a waste of the movie goers time – thankfully, it was only like two scenes.
Overall, I thought this film was really well done and pretty entertaining. It is a great spin on the original story and doesn’t try to copy it for the most part. I was annoyed with the CGI, but I knew I would be. Despite the oddly used CGI and ridiculous dance scenes, there were enough cool CGI things and fun parts (and 3D parts) that I really enjoyed the film. Go see this one with friends or a significant other. You’ll be entertained, fo sho.
(3 out of 5 fus)