March 6, 2010

Alice in Wonderland - 2010

Director: Tim Burton
Writer: Linda Woolverton
Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Crispin Glover, Stephen Fry, Michael Sheen, Alan Rickman

"You're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret: all the best people are." The latest jaunt into Tim Burton's scarred psyche, Alice is a unique spin on the works of Lewis Carroll; the film finds Alice (Wasikowska) at age 19, suddenly thrust into Wonderland with no memory of her prior visit 13 years ago. Despite the disorientation, she must quickly gain a sure footing to accept her destiny.

My expectations for this film were high. The cast list is all-star, it's visually phenomenal, and I've always been a fan of Burton's adaptations (everything from 1999 to now has been based on an earlier written work). However, Alice falls short. While weaving an origial, quality plotline based on someone else's work is a Herculean task (and was achieved to an extent by Woolverton) some...interesting choices were made.
  • The characters are given names beyond Red Queen, Caterpillar, Mad Hatter, etc.
  • Wonderland is actually called "Underland." I wish I were joking.
  • Depp's Mad Hatter oscillates back and forth between an English and a Scottish accent. He also does a very...peculiar dance.

I'll give the film points for the Wizard of Oz homage (people in the real world having analogues in Wonderland), but the writing falls short beyond that. A few good Carroll lines are in there ("I often believe in six impossible things before breakfast," etc), but they kind of bash you over the head with them, like the opening scene and its tenet of "Conformity is bad." Curioser and curioser...let's hope that the 1960s vampire soap opera adaptation works out better.

1 comment:

  1. Wait, so this film is almost a follow-up to the Disney version of the story? (re: prior visit)