Monday, March 22, 2010

2010.014 - Alice in (w)Underland

To the point, I personally did not think much of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. Despite it being in 3D (a feature I rarely feel adds to a film) the whole thing felt ironically flat.

The acting was not very good; although, I did like Helena's Red Queen. On the flip side of the royalty, they tried intentionally to make the White Queen this rigidly paper-thin doll of a good queen, but even that was screwed up somehow. "Here, Anne - wear this, hold your arms up so, say your lines and then you can leave." The Cheshire Cat was also well done; the claw-sharpening reflex on the hat was a nice touch.

The story seemed very linear, predictable and ordinary; there was little if any sense of suspense. The bookend part of story was very contrived; of course she wasn't going to marry him! Heck, I would have been more impressed if she had come to the conclusion to marry the poor sod.

Other than the entire pinching-to-awake trick that failed, niether the story nor the setting gave any real feeling that it was a dream, which it was in the books. I suppose they do try to portray Underland as a "real" place instead of a dream, but I would think the sense of confusion should still be there. Artistically, the settings also seemed empty; likely they were going for a very desolate appearance due to the storyline, but instead of feeling desolate, to me it felt underdone - a bit contrary to Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which was overly artistic (I didn't like that one either). But when in doubt... less is more, so it's hard to fault them too much there.

Then there was the annoying. Example #1 was the oft-repeated "Why is a raven like a writing desk?" I suppose it would not be as annoying if I were engaged in the film, but I thought it was said once, twice, maybe thrice too often. And example #2 was The Hatter's dance. I was hoping for something bizarre, but instead we're subjected to a very fake-looking attempt to make Depp "popping."

Was it attrocious? Hardly. Was i blown away? Hardly. I normally like Burton, well, up through Big Fish at least, but I've not really been impressed by his latest attempts.