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Old 9th Mar 2010, 11:54   #1
amner
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Default Alice in Wonderland

So I went to see Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland.

I'm not a fan of Burton (I know, imagine) but a) I thought I should give him another chance, and b) the showing I saw fitted in with my day, which is as good a couple of reasons as any.

Mostly, I'd have to say that it manages to be OK.

I'm really underwhelmed, can you tell? Any reason for that? Several: it's unengaging; it seems to feel there's a need for back-story; it drafts in new characters from the Disney Staple Character Database; it has a seen-it-all-before CGI monster battle at the end. In short, I expected it to be a dicked-about version, and it was.

Not that it isn't entertaining, because for the first couple of acts it is, and there is one genuinely brilliant moment right at the end when Alice (in this movie a 19 year old), recalls her 7 year old self's original journey, but overall I wondered why we all bothered...them and me.




NB. once again the 3D is pointless and, in all honesty, fairly moribund. The RealD ident (gotta love the comments under that) was the best bit by a fair margin.
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Old 9th Mar 2010, 12:00   #2
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Default Re: Alice in Wonderland

I'd heard the story had been so screwed over, it was a major fail; but does the conjuration of the characters, Wonderland actually provide a visual entertainment?

They apparently name Alice's father as "Charles Kingsleigh" [sic].
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Old 9th Mar 2010, 13:02   #3
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Default Re: Alice in Wonderland

Kingsleigh, yeah. What is the point? I mean, really?

The world and the characters...hmmm. Well there you hit the nail on the head. The world is quite fabulous to look at, but then we expect that don't we? But it's a fantasy world, not a nonsense world, and there's a difference, isn't there?

There is no need for the back stories, we don't require grounding for these bizarre creations. They've formed out of thin air, for crying out loud! In the movie, Alice is 19. She goes back to Wonderland on the eve of her engagement and it's washed out and grubby and somewhat gone-to-seed-y and I guess we're being asked to consider - oh, what? - that we shouldn't return to our childhood? Or that we should? Or that it won't be the same? Why does it have to try to be smart?

The brilliant moment, incidentally, is a dozen seconds of pure inspiration when we have a sudden dreamy scene of Alice back at 7, visiting Wonderland for the first time. Colours are vibrant, the little girl has a face full of astonishment and then...it's gone. And we return to a rather lovely teen in peril:



doing CGI battle with the Jabberwock:



(which, although based on John Tenniel's illustration above, is waaay bigger than the scale represented there and simply comes across as WETA's Balrog).

Stop already.
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Old 9th Mar 2010, 14:46   #4
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Default Re: Alice in Wonderland

I get the feeling that I keep imagining that I'm more of a Tim Burton fan that I really am. I think it's because I really loved Sweeney Todd and didn't necessarily expect to, and so that has made me excited for any new Burton film, but how many, honestly, of his older films do I actually like that much? Ed Wood, certainly, and I think Sleepy Hollow is a lot of fun. Big Fish. I admire the imagination of Edward Scissorhands and appreciate that with Scissorhands Burton gave Vincent Price his final film role. But that still leaves a lot on the indifferent-to and don't-like piles.

All of which is to say that, interested as I was when I first heard about it, Alice in Wonderland simply doesn't look very good.
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Old 9th Mar 2010, 15:12   #5
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Default Re: Alice in Wonderland

It's had some terrible reviews here, Bill.
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Old 9th Mar 2010, 15:18   #6
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Default Re: Alice in Wonderland

It's actually had some pretty good ones here. One of the main main NYT critics gave it a qualified rave, for instance, and there have been others. There have also been some outright slams, but that mix is intriguing to me. It's the actual footage from the movie itself that puts me off.
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Old 9th Mar 2010, 21:42   #7
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Default Re: Alice in Wonderland

I like Tim Burton films in general: the Batmans, Sleepy Hollow, the two stop-motion animations, Big Fish definitely, Sweeney Todd similarly; Charlie & Choc Factory, not so much so, but that's mostly because I don't like Roald Dahl stories. But I'm seriously worried that I'm going to be disappointed with Alice.
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Old 10th Mar 2010, 18:17   #8
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Default Re: Alice in Wonderland

i'm off to see it tonight because in general I've liked the spectacle that Burton puts out, but I was thinking it would be the original story at least. Ho hum.
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Old 11th Mar 2010, 11:41   #9
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Default Re: Alice in Wonderland

Quote:
Originally Posted by Digger View Post
i'm off to see it tonight because in general I've liked the spectacle that Burton puts out, but I was thinking it would be the original story at least. Ho hum.
Finger drum .....
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Old 11th Mar 2010, 13:02   #10
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Default Re: Alice in Wonderland

meh... Both the SO and I were just a bit underwhelmed, much like amner. Thankfully it's been years since I read the original two so wasn't too disturbed by the story being messed about, though the story that they did pick up on didn't really draw me in - also didn't really see the need for the backstory though the SO found a review that said they needed to age Alice up to 19 to appeal to the 'tean market'.

Cheshire Cat was the best of the characters, White Queen appeared doped all the way through, Red Queen just spoilt - which of course she is but that's no excuse for a dull performance though we did like all the stuck on appendiges from the courtiers, Jonny Depp was just Willy Wonka and why oh why the broad Scottish accent, not always just sometimes and most inexplicably!

Both SO and I wanted the world itself to be just a little more miraculous, wonderful, imaginative. Aside from the rocking horse flys and two flowers with faces S thought that the world conjured up by del Toro in Pan's Labyrinth and Hellboy II were both better and more entrancing than Wonderland, even if it was supposed to have been spoilt. I'm pretty certain that Disney's castle turned up as the Red Queen's palace in one distant shot, which is just lazy, and we both wanted more fun to be had in the last battle, so many card game visual effects or jokes could have been had but weren't.

Of course my experience wasn't aided by the pathologically uncomfortable seats in Oxford's odious Odeon (I really must complain this time) but I get the feeling that even if I'd been in my favourite cinema with icecream and no one else (we had the annoying and talking teanage market behind us) I would still have come out feeling meh.

from me too.
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