7 Mar 2010

Alice in Wonderland [review]

so this evening myself, along with my parents, decided to go and see the apparent Tim Burton epic "Alice in Wonderland" - which is on general release from yesterday (so if you're reading this you have either already braved the hoards and seen the film, or, are silly).

Before I start I must confess that we didn't go to see the film in 3D, it plays havoc with my eyes and head and my mother is not a fan either - so instead we opted for the 2D version at a local cinema (Odeon Chatham). The showing we were in was the 17:15, perfect timing for a chinese buffet straight afterwards.

I must say I have been looking forward to this film for quite some time, ever since I heard that Burton had got his wonderfully creative mits on the film - and do what he does best, make stories that extra bit darker. I was, or rather am a fan of the original animation - the lucid colours and ridiculously surreal story soften my heart, but I was eager to see a feature length "acted" version, even with high amounts of digital animating which is evident in most recent Burton films. I was also eager to see none other than Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, as for some reason it excited me oh so much and I grew quite fond of seeing Mr Depp plastered in every newspaper with ginger hair and psychadelic eyes.. and i've got to say, after seeing the film in its entirety still think he looke fabulous.

Now, to the opinionated part - and I shall try to be as neutral as I can but be warned - I am a Depp fan and at a push a Burton fan, I love the majority of the films they have done together (Sleepy Hollow, Ed Wood, Sweeney Todd, Edward Scissorhands) and of course the features they have worked on separately... and I know for a fact that a lot of reviews will centre around the "Depp/Burton/Bonham Carter" saga of creating masterpieces but I instead want to give my thoughts on the film as it stands and not just on my love for the cast.

Actually, I am lying as I have got to say - without giving any spoilers the cast of the animated creatures (voice overs, etc) were spectacular, Barbara Windsor as the doormouse - Stephen Fry as Cheshire Cat the list goes on! even though I knew which actors/actresses voiced which animated marvels I still didn't feel as though they were separated... to me it felt as though the characters were genuine, real - even plausible to be realistic but then again I do have quite an imagination and I am a sucker for the original Alice in Wonderland, so I think my joy at seeing the characters rendered into better quality made me quite giddy - either that or it was the bottled water I had.

I am going to continue in short point as I just noticed the time and I do feel quite tired after such a long day - I will edit at a later time (ie. tomorrow) if I feel the need.

The main thing I noticed was the storyline, I felt quite lost - I figured the film was perhaps a mish mash of both Alice in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass since I didn't think the first story included Tweedledum and Tweedledee, nor the Jabberwocky - but then again I haven't read the books for quite some time!

The unknown actress who played Alice was perfect, I couldnt help pick up notations of sarcasm and wit - whether that be intentional an in the script I do not know but it lightened the mood somewhat during the more chaotic scenes. The lady is stuning, perfect to play Alice and I am insanely jealous of her hair!

The Cheshire Cat, March Hare, Rabbit and other creatures were really well executed, as in... animated, they just appeared perfect, especially the rather odd March Hare - and I have major love for the cat, I am a bit of a Fry fan too so that has clouded my judgement a tad... plus the fact I have no technical knowledge in animating or anything film related, I am winging this review as an extension of my opinion.

The ending felt rushed, I wont go too much into it as people get annoyed when they catch a major spoiler... but even though it was a fictional film, fictional storyline - it still felt a little farfetched... and the stand off between the white and red queens' was not well enough explained (along with Alice's history, the relationshi with her father and Wonderland, her situation (I didn't get the whole proposal thing, we didn't know enough) etc etc.

I think maybe it could have had another half an hour on it easily.. it was barely 2 hours long (not postive on this, just what it felt like) and I would have easily sat there for a bit longer for a more inventive opening scenes and ending.

Over all I really enjoyed the film, regardless of the negative points i've picked out (mainly cause i'm tired) - I can't help wonder what the difference is with the exeperience between 2D and 3D, I can imagine the shrinking and growing would be more impressive - along with several other aspects of the film.

Okay so if i'm gona review films more often I guess i'd better start scoring, so out of 10 I give Alice in Wonderland 2D a respectable 8/10 - mainly due to the overall appearance and creativeness of the film, and the fact that the cast were well chosen (regardless of what people think of Burton for working with the same people. If I was judging the film merely on the flow and storyline the score would be lower, probaby a 7/10 since I didn't feel as though it flowed, and the Jabberwocky scared me a little bit so marks down for that (this is a PG film, there are some animated violence that families should be aware of).

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