09 March 2010

Alice in Wonderland (2010)

Possibly the most anticipated film of 2010? I know quite a few people who were super prepped and dying to see this movie. The combination of Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, and Alice in Wonderland should pretty much be a shoo-in but to be honest, Burton hasn't made anything amazing in quite awhile. Still, it's Alice in Wonderland right?

Overall, I thought the movie was enjoyable -- and not as bad as I feared or as great as I hoped. The story continues thirteen or so years after Alice first visits Wonderland (I had no idea this wasn't just a straight adaptation). I actually found the real world opening engaging and fun, and was initially thrilled with the world and the cool visuals before the story fell apart halfway through. Still, Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen was enough to make the movie for me. I think my favorite part was when she calls for a pig to serve as a footstool. "I love a warm pig belly for my aching feet."

Mia Wasikowska, or Gwyneth Paltrow-lite, is a serviceable Alice but she doesn't have much to do. And the entire quest of finding the vorpal sword and slaying the Jabberwocky was pretty uninspired and boringly executed. Alice was much more fun as a little girl and she's really got no personality in Burton's version. And I hate to say it but Johnny Depp pretty much mailed this one in. He was arguably better as Willy Wonka but both performances just made me wish there was Jack Sparrow coming around the corner.

The Slate review gets it pretty dead-on: "I guess it's too much to have hoped that Burton would do justice to the language of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, to Carroll's intricate logic puzzles and plays on the literal and figurative meaning of words." Burton can amuse us with some nice scenery but his movies have lately been empty and not mentally engaging at all.