Monday, March 28, 2011

Movie review: Alice in Wonderland

I meant to post this yesterday. So, here you are.

Maybe it's a bit late to be doing a movie review on a movie that came out like what.... a year ago? But I rarely see movies in cinemas (way too expensive) and it's even less likely that I'll rent a movie as a new release. Pretty much, if I hear about a new movie that I'm interested in seeing, I settle in to wait until it hits the library.

So when I noticed this one on the shelf at our local library I grabbed it up. I had seen previews for it when my father-in-law took us to see Avatar for Christmas the year before last (last movie I've seen in cinemas, and I only went that time because it was a treat). My first thought was "not another Alice movie!" The Disney Cartoon was good enough! And lets not go into that entirely-too-long live version they made a while back. Really, the book was an excellent read and no movie can really capture the politicality (did I make that word up?) Lewis Carroll incorporates into his strange and imaginative stories. Books, I should say, though they always treat Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass as one and the same.

But then. *cough* I noticed it was by Tim Burton. I have liked a lot of his movies. Even though Charlie and the Chocolate factory was really nothing like the book, and Johnny Depp will never beat Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka...I totally enjoyed that movie. And I loved the Corpse Bride which was really a good story and quite whimsical despite the grim title and scary idea it conveys. So.... I thought I'd like to see it after all.

I brought it to our friends' house to watch after dinner with them one evening. And the result? I liked it!

A lot. It was inspiring art-wise, and funny story-wise. The characters were fun. To look at, watch, listen to. The graphics were beautiful. It was whimsical and mysterious, beautiful yet darkly real too. Real, that is, for a fantasy world.

I loved Alice's clothes. The first dress was a bit boring; the typical Alice in blue. But as she shrinks and grows, her clothes frequently do not re-size themselves with her. (You never see anything though, thank goodness!) So she acquires new dresses and outfits throughout the movie. My favourite was the red and black one she gets when she goes to the Red Queen's castle. (as pictured above)

I also really enjoyed the emphasis on the "Six impossible things before breakfast" quote, which has always been one of my favourites. It just makes me feel like every day is rife with possibilities (impossibilities?) when I think of that in the mornings.

As for things I didn't like it, there weren't many. Since it wasn't actually supposed to be the traditional Alice in Wonderland story, I didn't mind that it veered a lot from that track, but I didn't like how some of the traditional characters were represented. The caterpillar, I felt, didn't get enough screen time. And the March Hare was just kind of there and jittery and not really much of a presence either. Occasionally, I felt I saw Jack Sparrow coming out of the Mad Hatter, but then, Johnny Depp is just an actor and I suppose he can only be so different before he's really just...the same. The White Queen was...well, she seemed too good, too perfect; it made me wonder if it was all just a facade, but you don't really get to find out. And in the end, I was disappointed that Alice didn't stay. The beginning really didn't give you a feeling that she had any real reason to live in "The real world."

The Cheshire Cat, however, I loved. Adorable. Makes me want to get a green tabby cat with big green eyes and a big white grin. Haha. And I loved the part where Alice was small and rode on the dog's back. Makes me want to be small and gallop away on creatures I wouldn't normally be able to ride.

I also kind of feel like making cookies and icing them with the words Eat Me. Overall, I'd recommend seeing it if you're the magic and whimsy type, which I definitely am.

p.s I have my computer back up, thanks to my darling husband, so there should be a good photograph laden episode tomorrow. Stay tuned!

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