Saturday, 20 March 2010

Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland

Forgot to say, Ben and I went to see Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland in 3D last Friday and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I'll start with the 3D then go onto the film, this is the first time I've seen a film in 3D so I can't compare it to other films but, I thought that it was a bit hit and miss. Sometimes it worked perfectly, generally if something was in the middle of the screen and coming towards you, then it came out clearly and was amazing. At one point there were some kids on the front row trying to grab hold of something as it 'came out of' the screen. Other times, generally when something went across the screen, or when it was half on screen it didn't work, because it spoiled the image where it suddenly stopped. Overall though, quite impressed and think that when it's been perfected it'll probably be quite amazing.
So, onto the film itself, if you've read the books (Both in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass) then you could, quite happily, pull the plot to pieces, however, if you sit and watch it as an entertaining film that's loosely based on the works of Lewis Carroll, then that's not a problem. No, the Red Queen should not be the same as the Queen of Hearts, yes, in Jabberwocky the slayer is most definitely male, but if you can let that slide then it doesn't matter.
The film starts with a flash back to Alice as a child having bad dreams about Wonderland then moves forward to (her) present day at about 18 where she's going to a garden party only to find that the son of the family holding it is going to propose to her in a very public manner, Alice panics and runs away before falling down the rabbit hole into Wonderland. This turns into the beginning of the book, 'eat me', 'drink me', but with voices talking about her as she does, then goes into Wonderland.
Wonderland is pretty typical Burton fair, weird, wonderful and really quite dark. Really impressive cast, all doing a very good job (although I did wince a little at Barbara Windsor as the dormouse, why would you do that?). Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter are old hands at Burton films and it shows, they look incredibly comfortable in their surroundings. Helena Bonham Carter is wonderful psychotic as the Queen of Hearts/Red Queen, with occasional flashes of Queenie out of Blackadder, but she's wonderful in the role and has been made to look quite freaky through it. Depp of course has been one of the main publicity calls of the film, and he was very good as the Mad Hatter ranging between comic craziness, terrifying madness and the occasional moment of heart breaking terror when he comes out of the madness long enough to realise that he is mad, he slides between this different emotions with consummate ease, and it's easy to see why he has been pushed to the fore for the publicity, this is a starring role. Matt Lucas does a wonderful turn as Tweedledum and Tweedledee, arguing with himself all along and I personally have to give kudos to Anne Hathaway. I haven't seen much publicity around her role as the White Queen but I have to say that I thought she was brilliant, she has these wonderful 'airy fairy' affectations that she puts on as the public face of the white queen, but as soon as there's no one looking she pick up her skirts and runs. As for Mia Wasikowska as Alice, I feel a bit guilty, as I don't really know what to say about her. She does hold the piece together as the one that the action revolves around, and she gives a  good performance in this role, but she pales into significance when placed next to the larger than life characters around her. That said, she has some wonderful scenes with Depp as the Mad Hatter who has the decency to not upstage her in some of his more 'emotional' scenes where she comforts him in the realisation of his madness.
All in all I did really enjoy it, and have gone around telling people that they should go and see it, and I will be getting it on dvd when it comes out, as I would like to own it, even without the magic 3D effects. It's a cast list that just roles on and on, and I can't mention all, although everyone does give a sterling effort (again, I'm possibly questioning Barbara Windsor a little bit, but apart from that). But I can only finish this review as I've been saying to the girls I share an office with, it's really good, you should go and see it!

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