So…over the weekend I finally went to see Alice in Wonderland…a classic Disney tale written by Lewis Carroll. I remember watching the Disney version as a kid and it has this light airy feel to it (like the White Queen) because Disney captures the “sweet” and not the “dark. Although recently I have noticed that Disney is beginning to move to the dark side. Okay, so back to my thoughts on Tim Burton’s masterpiece…I felt like I was in Wonderland, or inside the mind of a mad person. The movie was weird, strange; it was exactly the way that I pictured it. I read Lewis Carroll’s classic last year for a children literature class, and overall I thought that the book was mad nonsense. I was surprised because I only ever remember the “sweet” Disney version…and this was odd.
My anticipation for the movie was fairly high because I am a fan of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. I had heard rumors that there were changes to the storyline…a somewhat modern day setting in which Alice is nineteen and ends up returning to Wonderland. When the movie began I was skeptical because I was not used to seeing Alice all grown up. However, I must say that Mia Wasikowska captured Alice extremely well. She is rebellious in the beginning…refusing to wear corsets. She is rude and distracted by things that no one else seems to see (like the rabbit that keeps running through the bushes). Maybe this is because Alice’s mind is fixed on the imagination and everyone around her have their minds fixed on what is proper…and who could blame Alice for not wanting to marry the grotesque Hamish.
I have to admit that it did not take long for Alice to get to Wonderland. I was worried about that in the beginning that maybe half the movie would be about her getting back to Wonderland, but thanks to Alice for being so easily distracted by nonsense that didn’t take long at all. When Alice first arrives in Wonderland she ends upside down (literally) and comes crashing down to the ground. I am wondering where the movie is going with this…and I soon find myself back in Lewis Carroll’s classic. Alice frantically checks all the doors, but none will open, then she finds a key, but it will not open any of the doors, except for the small door, which she would never be able to fit through…unless there was something that she could drink that could shrink her. And it is so strange that she should turn around and mysteriously a bottle should be on the table with a label that says: “drink me” and of course we know that Alice is going to drink it because Alice is always obedient in Wonderland. However, no one said that Alice was smart because if she was smart, then she would have grabbed the key off the table before she shrunk, but Alice doesn’t do this…so she finds herself in another predicament. How does she get the key off the table? If, only there was something that she could eat to make her grow and then she could get the key back and isn’t it interesting that there is a small cake under the table that says, “eat me” and of course Alice will eat it. And Alice grows and grows so tall that she is squished up against the ceiling, but her task is not through because now she needs to get the key, drink again, shrink back down to size, so that she can get through the door.
When Alice actually enters Wonderland it seems very Gothic, very dark, and not very magical. It seems more like an Underland then a Wonderland. I liked the Gothic undertone to the movie because the book does have that “darkness” to it and I think that Burton captures this well. In addition, to this, I loved the twins-Twiddledee and Twiddledum. They were hilarious. I just wanted to pinch their cheeks. Matt Lucas who plays these two unique, fun characters is amazing. I looked forward to seeing them and I loved how they carried dialogue well, and just added an overall lightness to the darkness. I was a little disappointed with the Cheshire Cat and I am not sure why because Stephen Fry who gave the Cat his voice was superb, but there was something missing and I don’t know. Maybe I put my expectations to high on the cat and that is what happened. I was completely taken back and surprised over the Blue Caterpillar because I almost forgot about him in the book, but who better to voice him than Alan Rickman. He has this velvety, silky voice that is just oh so suave. His voice hypnotized me or maybe it was from the all the smoke he was blowing from his Hookah (just kidding). The White Queen was really annoying. I hated the way that she walked and carried her arms, and what was with the dark eyebrows and lipstick? Maybe it was to contrast the lightness of her that we see and then the underlying darkness that is inside. I just didn’t buy Hathaway’s performance. There was something very fake about it. However, I loved The Red Queen…Carter’s performance was exceptional and exactly how I imagined The Red Queen to be. She was evil, scary, and big-headed. I loved how she had this humongous head and small body.
The Mad Hatter I was surprised at the extent that this character played in the movie. He reminded me sometimes of this little child that just wanted someone to play with him and then there were times that he reminded me of a “father figure”, which sounds really strange because he is The Mad Hatter. The only disappointment about Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter is that I felt like I have seen him play this character before. If you combined Edward Scissorhands, Jack Sparrow, Willy Wonka, and mixed them together, you have The Mad Hatter. There were times when I saw the childlike innocence of Edward Scissorhands, and then there was the creepiness of Willy Wonka, and finally, the strangeness of Jack Sparrow. I didn’t know understand why Depp was talking with a lisp-it was funny and strange, and I think that it worked for the character. There were times when I was confused as to what the relationship was supposed to be between Alice and The Mad Hatter. I thought at one point that he (The Mad Hatter) was in love with Alice, which I thought was weird. I am still not sure where The Mad Hatter fits into Alice’s life. He is in love with her, a “father figure,” or a figment of her imagination? Maybe Alice sees herself like The Mad Hatter, a misunderstood person, who just wants to be accepted for whom they are.
The 3-D…I didn’t like it because I felt that there were times when I could have watched the movie without my 3-D glasses…so I am wondering why Disney made this choice. It is just another way to make money. I paid $11.99 for a movie that I normally would have paid $8.99.
Overall I give the movie:
P.S. I really think that the Finnish band Him should have written a song for the soundtrack.