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Old 03-02-2010, 03:50 AM
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Post Review: Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland



Tim Burton’s take on Alice in Wonderland is not focused on a little girl falling through a hole and discovering a world the likes of which she has never seen. This Alice is 19, mutinous, stubborn, and stands for her own beliefs, even if they are far from the norms of her society. Wonderland is not a new experience to her; it is a venture back to a familiar territory from long ago, and she’s left facing many of its battles.

The audience, like Alice, isn’t awed by the glorious and extraordinary colours and characters. This is a memory – a dream from their past, and childhood – where the wonderments of the landscape have flaws and the characters are vulnerable, weak, and oftentimes ones to pity.

Alice (Mia Wasikowska) escapes the confines of her aristocratic British lifestyle, where she is nearly forced to marry a Lord to behold a title in society. She sees her solace from this imprisonment in the form of the White Rabbit (Michael Sheen), who points out that time is ticking for Alice. Her choices must be made quickly, or she, and those around her, faces the direst of consequences.

Burton’s Wonderland (or in this version, Underland), is a desolate, drab valley of brown tones highlighted with bright talking flowers (voiced by Imelda Staunton), a hookah-smoking caterpillar who sounds as though he’s ready to send Harry Potter straight to detention (a gift of Alan Rickman’s, who voices the character), and the smooth-talking and manipulative Cheshire Cat (Stephen Fry), known affectionately to his friends as “Chesh.”

The contrast is alluring, but the undertones of the land make the Alice’s trek seem dreary and never-ending, which is how the film itself feels at times. Scenes, including Alice’s entrance into Underland, involving a series of drinking and eating foods to grow at the right size to fit through an opening door, take longer than necessary to execute. Such dragging sequences throw off the pace of the story telling; while action battles including the Red Queen’s Knave (Crispin Glover) and soldiers running through the forests to find Alice are fast-paced with swift-moving camera shots, a chat between a pair of characters, such as Alice and the White Queen (Anne Hathaway) seems to be go on forever.

Lewis Carroll’s characters bring the story to life. Burton’s tale may not focus on the story of the wide-eyed little girl who explores Wonderland, it renders itself as a sequel. What happens to Alice 13 years after that first faithful visit to the unknown areas of her imagination? Apparently she’s called back by the White Rabbit, and is destined by a magical calendar to fight the Red Queen’s Jabberwocky. Various characters, including the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp), the White Queen, Tweedledum and Tweedledee (Matt Lucas), and the Brown Hare (Paul Whitehouse), along with the Cat and Caterpillar, help Alice on her path, but she is brought down to bring right to a world domineered by a megalomaniacal decapitating dictator, played with wonderful zeal, madness, and bitterness by Helena Bonham Carter.

Carter and Wasikowska hold the movie together. It is Alice’s literal fights against her enemies and the Red Queen’s obliviousness to reality that hold the story together. Everyone else leads Alice to the final showdown, where the Red Queen’s cruel insanity and joy of beheading comes back to bite her in the rear. Her beloved pet Jabberwocky pays dearly for her poor choices.

Although the Red Queen admitted once that she would rather be feared than loved, her choice in the matter caused her exile - a lesson to learn from a woman’s foolish mistake.

The movie dragged in places, but it was held strong by great performances by several members of the cast, especially Wasikowska and Carter. The PG-rating itself might be a bit reaching, as there are a few very graphic violent scenes (including a bloody decapitation).

Alice in Wonderland is a movie for those who want a Tim-Burton twist to their beloved Carroll story: gloomy in tone, but rich in character.

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Alice in Wonderland hits theatres on March 5, 2010.
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Old 03-02-2010, 05:15 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Can't wait to see it! Brilliant interview! Another great performance by Helena Boham Carter! : D
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Old 03-02-2010, 05:25 AM   #3 (permalink)
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^ Agreed. Brilliant film. I'll just have to find out for myself when I get the chance to see it .

But it seems more like Through the Looking Glass, for anyone that's read the original books, only for the reason that Alice goes back to Wonderland in Through the Looking Glass. I believe they might have called the film Alice in Wonderland instead to draw more moviegoers.
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Old 03-02-2010, 06:45 AM   #4 (permalink)
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^Yeah I was thinking about Through the Looking Glass too.

Anyways, it doesn't matter because I know a lot of people aren't fans of Burton's tone/style at times, especially his executions but you have to admit it's unique in its own way and that's how a film screams Tim Burton. "...gloomy in tone, but rich in character." That sounds like Tim Burton haha. I guess I have to see the film on my own to judge it properly but nice review.

And oh I didn't know Imelda Stauton was in the film. I can totally imagine her in her high-pitched girlish Umbridge voice as a little pink flower...she isn't a deceiving little flower is she?

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Old 03-02-2010, 06:30 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Great review! I'm looking forward to seeing this
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Old 03-06-2010, 02:31 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I absolutely loved this movie!!!! There were some funny parts, none of it was really sad though. It's a must see film for any Tim Burton or alice in wonderland fan. My favorite was the Cheshire cat. He was portraid very well. The only thing I didn't like was while johnney depp made some very funny remarks, most of them were hard to hear and spoken in a very low voice.

BLOODY RED QUEEN!!!!!!!!
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Old 03-08-2010, 05:38 PM   #7 (permalink)

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Ooooh, sounds good! I wasn't really interested until I saw The Red Queen in the trailers-Helena's amazing! Hope I'll get to see it
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Old 03-11-2010, 06:19 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I love movie Alice in Wonderland!!!
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Old 03-13-2010, 04:41 PM   #9 (permalink)
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it was just AMAZING

loved Helena Bonham Carter's performance in it
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Old 04-07-2010, 12:44 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I haven't seen this yet...Although I REALLY wanted to I heard a lot of bad things about it. It kinda put me off going to see it which made me a little sad as I am a HUGE Tim Burton fan and LOVE Johnny Depp but I think this one I'll wait to see when it comes out on DVD!x
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Old 04-07-2010, 03:13 PM   #11 (permalink)
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it was amazing film..!! i love Helena Helena Bonham Carter's performance..she did a great job..!! her act is amazing..!!
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Old 04-12-2010, 05:58 AM   #12 (permalink)
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this was a great and wonderful film! one of the best films of 2010!
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Old 08-15-2010, 08:49 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I have heard a lot of mixed reviews on Alice in Wonderland, some good and some bad. I plan on seeing it soon (it is on my netflix queue) since I am a big Tim Burton/Johnny Depp/Helena Boham Carter fan.
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