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Friday, March 5, 2010

Movie Review: Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland - A Walt Disney Pictures’ Release


Release Date: March 5th

Rated PG for fantasy action/violence involving scary images and situations, and a smoking caterpillar

Running time: 108 minutes

Tim Burton (dir.)

Linda Voolverton (writer)

Lewis Carroll (books)

Danny Elfman (music)

Johnny Depp as Mad Hatter

Mia Wasikowska as Alice

Helena Bonham Carter as Red Queen

Anne Hathaway as White Queen

Crispin Glover as Stayne – Knave of Hearts

Matt Lucas as Tweedledee / Tweedledum

Stephen Fry as Cheshire Cat

Michael Sheen as White Rabbit

Alan Rickman as Blue Caterpillar

(L-R) Johnny Depp, Mia Wasikowska, Anne Hathaway ©Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Our reviews below:


Alice in Wonderland Review By John C.

***1/2 (out of 4)

I am sitting at my raven as I write this, with my feet firmly resting on a warm pig belly.

Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland is a deliriously twisted and bizarre take on Lewis Carroll’s deliriously twisted and bizarre piece of literature. And Burton has found the story’s muchness. This is a sequel of sorts to the original books, with a now-19 Alice, (played wonderfully by Mia Wasikowska), escaping a forced engagement and following the White Rabbit down the rabbit hole.

In Underland, which could be misinterpreted as Wonderland, she meets a strange, yet strangely endearing cast of characters. Including the Mad Hatter, who is truly mad and played wonderfully by Johnny Depp, the Mad March Hare, also truly mad, The Red Queen, (Helena Bonham Carter, with an enlarged, bulbous head), and her sister The White Queen (Anne Hathaway). She is chased by a Bandersnatch, and has to battle the evil Jabberwocky. But my favourite character has to be the Chesire Cat.

Not your cup of tea poured through a smashed tea cup? Well then you obviously aren’t familiar with the source material. Though being a sequel, it draws much inspiration from the pages of the books.

Despite having both names on the poster, this is more Tim Burton than Disney, and parents should see this as a warning. While it will be immensely enjoyed by older kids and adults, this is not a film for young kids. Some scenes are quite creepy. But they’re also scenes that are just off the wall, like when an obviously CGI Mad Hatter dances the Futterwacken.

The look of Underland is a cross between darkly beautiful, beautifully dark and wonderfully bizarre, as every scene grows curiouser and curiouser. Although there are a few arguably uninspired moments, like a CGI battle that could have perhaps used a touch more wonder, the visuals of the film are spectacular.

My biggest complaint is that, while adding a nice sense of depth to the entire movie, the 3D in the opening sequence really dulls the picture. Despite this technical flaw, Alice in Wonderland is another great collaboration between Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. One of the very best movies of the year so far, this is definitely one worth going out to see.


Alice in Wonderland Review By Erin V.

***3/4 (out of 4)

As you read the following, klotchyn, some words may not make much sense...

As the story begins, we meet Alice once again who has grown into a young lady of 19. She is to have an arranged proposal (that everyone but her knows about) with the uppity Lord Ascot, who has absolutely no imagination.

Needing a moment to think once this is presented to her, she runs off and falls back into 'Underland' on Gribling Day after following the familiar white rabbit, McTwisp. Turns out they have been waiting for her, as she is destined to slay the slurvish Red Queen's Jabberwocky in the Tulgey Wood on Frabjous Day, in order to restore power to the White Queen for the first time since it was taken from her on Horunvendush Day. Once that has been done, the Hatter may finally be able to futterwacken once again... Downal wyth Bluddy Behg Hid!

And I do understand how that last paragraph must have sounded absolutely gallymoggers to you, and for that I apologize, but nunz - I have more to say.

I absolutely loved the artistic style of this film, which is very close to the original drawings. The colours are stunning, and the cinematography beautiful. I found Alice in Wonderland to be paced well, and the characters appealing. A few of my favourites are the Cheshire Cat and the Mad March Hare. The costume design was also very good, as was the editing, and musical score. I also really liked the messages in this film about trusting yourself.

This film is very close to a four star film for me, but not in 3D. It worked very well and I enjoyed the sense of depth it gave, if only it weren't so dark. I hope they find a way soon to make the glasses not dim the picture by approx. 30%. This was particularly apparent in some of the opening scenes, parts of which I watched with my glasses off. I'd be interested to see this one in 2D to get a better feel for it. Judging from the pictures from the film, I would love to see it in it's full colourful glory. And I don't even know why I would add this, but I would have loved to have seen Underland on Gleb, the day when the sky rained fish for no apparent reason.

Fairfarren. Thanks for reading all of this slightly nonsensical review, which made spellcheck go gallymoggers... Oh, and for explanations of all of those Outlandish words, you might want to seek out this book... Review here.


Alice in Wonderland Review By Nicole

**** (out of four)

“Twas brillig, and the slithy toves.” So goes the first line of The Jabberwocky, a poem that appeared in Through the Looking Glass, and which has become the basis of Tim Burton’s latest masterpiece. Combining characters from both of Lewis Carroll’s Alice books, and drawing inspiration from John Tenniel’s illustrations, Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland takes off where the two original books left off. In the film, Alice is now 19, and is expected to marry stuck up Hamish Ascot. She doesn’t want to be stuck with him. So when Alice spots a familiar white rabbit, she follows him, falling once again into a large hole. Back in “Underland,” (Alice thought it was called “Wonderland”), Alice finds things out of sorts. The cruel Red Queen has taken control of Underland away from the gentle White Queen. The only way to defeat the Red Queen is to slay her guard dragon, known as a “Jabberwocky,” on “Frabjous Day.” According to the Oraculam, a prophetic scroll that catalogs every day in the past, present and future, Alice is the one who is to slay the Jabberwocky with a Vorpal sword. Alice, being a gentle individual, is not sure if she is right for the task.

Tim Burton has proven himself to be the right one to adapt Lewis Carroll’s classic Jabberwocky poem into a film. Many of Carroll’s famous characters and inventions are here, including the White Rabbit, Dormouse, Mad hatter, (brilliantly played by Johnny Depp), the Dodo, Cheshire Cat, Caterpillar, and Queen of Hearts (Red Queen - from Alice in Wonderland), and Tweedledee and Tweedledum, the talking flowers, the Looking Glass Insects, the White Queen, the Bandersnatch, and the Jungle Bird from Through the Looking Glass.

This is the darkest, and one of the most imaginative adaptations of the original books. Although quite different from the original, this film captures the feel of the original perfectly. The visuals are incredible, dark, but with a magic that rivals the Harry Potter films. The acting is amazing, and the score by Danny Elfman has a magical, haunting quality to it. Alice is a likable and strong, inspiring female character. As a fan of the original books, I was pleased with this film. Just leave young children at home.


Alice in Wonderland Review By Maureen

***3/4 (out of 4)

Tm Burton’s adaptation of Alice in Wonderland is a deliciously dark visual treat. This story is a sequel with Alice, now 19, falling down the rabbit hole as she runs off to avoid becoming engaged to the dreadfully boring Lord Hamish Ascot. It turns out that the inhabitants of Underland (the proper name) have been waiting for Alice to return and save them from the heartless Red Queen of Hearts.

Back in Underland Alice meets up again with White Rabbit, March Hare, Dormouse, Tweedledum, Tweedledee, Cheshire Cat, and of course Mad Hatter played with brilliant madness by Johnny Depp. The crazy cast of characters must convince Alice that it is her destiny to slay the Red Queen’s Jabberwocky and restore control to the much nicer White Queen, played beautifully by a very pale Anne Hathaway.

The cast of characters stay close to the original books. The spectacular visuals and special effects that bring the characters to life are uniquely Tim Burton. This is a stunning movie to watch. The fight scenes between the Red Queen’s and White Queen’s armies have a medieval and gothic feel to them. There are a lot of dark images and scary scenes throughout the movie. This is not a little kids’ Alice in Wonderland.

This Alice in Wonderland has an excellent acting cast, (especially newcomer Mia Wasikowska as Alice), beautifully original visuals, and a perfect Danny Elfman score to match the overall mood. The closing credits include an original song by Avril Lavigne.

My only complaint would be about the 3D. While it was amazing in most scenes, particularly with my favourite, the Cheshire Cat, the 3D dulled the colour in the opening segments before Alice fell down the rabbit hole. It will be interesting to see it again in 2D.

Alice in Wonderland is a must-see for older kids, teens and adults. This one’s a real treat and is destined to be a classic.


Alice in Wonderland Review By Tony

**** (out of 4)

Alice in Wonderland, Tim Burton and 3D–it’s all we can expect and more. It is actually a sequel with the 19 year old Alice revisiting the Wonderland largely forgotten since her last visit 12 years prior. She discovers her destiny as the champion of the White Queen is to battle the jabberwocky, the dragon champion of the tyrannical Red Queen. Those coming to her aid will include the Mad Hatter, Cheshire Cat, Caterpillar, Bandersnatch (a sort of terrible snow leopard) and Bayard the faithful dog. I don’t want to spoil the fun by providing too much detail, but be warned that Alice in Wonderland has disturbing images that may not be for small children, such as the Red Queen’s castle moat filled with severed heads.

The 3D and special effects work perfectly as human and non-human characters interact seamlessly together–a tribute to the director and actors that often worked to a blank screen with minimal cues. As expected, the cast is brilliant, with Australian Mia Wasikowska in the title role, Johnny Depp (inevitably) as the Mad Hatter, Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway as the Red & White queens, Crispin Glover as the Knave of Hearts, and classic British talent voicing the various creatures. The score by Burton’s house composer Danny Elfman is brilliant as always. Perhaps Tim Burton has some clout with the Disney Studio since the good closing song was not sung by someone named Cyrus or Jonas, but by Avril Lavigne.


Alice in Wonderland Film Frame Johnny Depp ©Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved


Consensus: Alice in Wonderland is a visually stunning achievement from Tim Burton. Though it will be too dark for young kids, this is a dark delight for teens and adults. Hugely enjoyable and tons of fun from beginning to end. ***7/8 (Out of 4) [Sorry for the Gallymoggers 7/8 stars, we must really be bonkers - all the best people are]


(L-R) The White Rabbit, The Dodo, Helena Bonham Carter ©Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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