Monday, July 26, 2010

Alice in Wonderland

Directed by Tim Burton.
2010. Rated PG, 108 minutes.
Mia Wasikowska
Johnny Depp
Helena Bonham Carter
Anne Hathaway
Crispin Glover
Matt Lucas
Stephen Fry
Michael Sheen
Alan Rickman
Timothy Spall

Michael Sheen

Plot: Alice (Wasikowska) falls down a rabbit hole and lands in a strange world.

The Good: Like the best of Burton, it uses odd angles, wild color pallets and eccentric characters to create a lively but still gothic vision. Things and people that would be grotesque in other movies are normal, even beautiful, here. Those we would casually consider normal are merely part of an oppressive establishment. This means Alice is a girl we feel doubly for. She simply doesn’t belong, regardless of where she is. Two of Burton’s muses, wife Helena Bonham Carter (The Red Queen) and long-time collaborator Johnny Depp (The Mad Hatter), turn in excellent work as usual. In particular, Carter is deliciously villainous and our evil queen.

The Bad: There are spots where the movie drags a bit. Most often, this occurs during the scenes Alice and the Mad Hatter have together. They seem to devolve into him aimlessly reminiscing about “the last time she was here.” Also, while I applaud Burton’s decision to focus on storytelling more than special fx, he underused the 3D technology. There are a number of occasions where it is used perfectly. However, there are also long stretches that make you forget why you’re wearing those silly glasses. Too many things happen going away from the camera. Things coming toward the camera are often at its edges, subtracting from the experience.

The Ugly: I’m still wondering why a raven is like a writing desk.

Recommendation: By now, you’re probably aware if you’re a Burton fan, or not. His trademarked wonderful weirdness is on display, as is his knack for patient storytelling. This means there is action, but it certainly no action flick. It’s just another quirky fantasy pic of the sort the director excels at making.

The Opposite View: Peter Sobczynski,

What the Internet Says: 6.9/10 on (7/26/10), 52% on, 53/100 on

MY SCORE: 7/10

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