Saturday, March 13, 2010

Movie Review: La Parisienne Reviews Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland"

A very important movie date.

Of course “Alice in Wonderland" is good -- any time Johnny Depp and Tim Burton team up, good things happen. (Everyone would probably be surprised if the movie turned out to be awful.) A good movie, however, does not necessarily equal amusing, but Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” is the most amusing movie watching experience I have had in years. I can sum it up in one word: FUN.

Now, I am not against movies teaching lessons or having morals. I just hate it when movies present these lessons with all the subtlety of swinging a sledgehammer over my head (*cough* Avatar! *cough*). “Alice in Wonderland” managed to get its point across without healthy doses of guilt or constant nagging. This seems to be a dwindling skill in Hollywood and I was happy to see a film that made it possible to get lost in the story.

Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter presents a heroic and sensible character who just happens to be a little mad. Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen manages to be cruel and evil, yet she is almost pitiable (outside of the whole head thing.) They have both received glowing reviews for their performances; however, the rest of the cast should not be overlooked. Alan Rickman is unmistakable as the voice of Absolom the caterpillar, fans of “Little Britain” will be pleased to see Matt Lucas, and Anne Hathaway plays the all-too-kind White Queen. Now we come to the character essential to the story, the Cheshire Cat. What? I always loved that cat. This is where 3D technology makes all the difference, not to mention the talent of Stephen Fry. I suppose I should mention Alice, after all, the title is “ALICE in Wonderland.”

Mia Wasikowska is a wonderful Alice. In her own world she refuses to obey convention yet struggles with the desire to do the right thing. Like most young adults, she is at risk of having her identity and dreams swept away by the people around her, and Mia Wasikowska manages to convey this without CW-style monologues. Alice grows as a character in Wonderland where she is able to do the impossible with the help of her new friends.

I didn’t find any glaring flaws in the film, but I do admit that I don’t want to see any. The jabberwocky was not as terrifying as I expected, and this is the problem with turning literary creatures into movie characters. Everyone has a personal vision and mine is much scarier. I suppose terror has to be toned down or they run the risk of scaring children. Overall, I give the movie a solid A for sheer viewing pleasure.

PS: If you can’t get enough 3D action, stay for the first part of the credits.

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