Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland: Reviewed
Its maybe long, but hopefully not painless, well here on this blog, maybe a little!lol
I think that its pretty much a given to have pre-concieved (and rightfully so at that) before watching Tim Burton's films, and excpeing them to be really quite strange and fantastical, which they offen are. Edward Scissor hands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, James And The Giant Peach, The Corpse Bride, even his Batman was weird to some degree, though I'll be the first to say that its the best in the series. This movie, Alice In Wonderland is not short on Burton's imaginative weirdness, but it also works within the parameters set, as Wonderland is supposed to be quite weird in the first place.
Lets move on shall we?...
We start watching a conversation between a man (Alice's father), and some other very old looking men. A young girl (9 yr. old Alice) interrupts saying she had a (the, as she says) again, and that she worried she may be mentally ill, to which her father replies "You are, your stark-raving mad, but all the best people are". What a pep talk! Next we see a carriage speeding through a courtyard with teenage Alice, and her widowed mother inside, arguing over how she's dressed and her rebellious ways. She says she had the dream again. her mother gives her a necklace tat Alice's father gave her, and then off to what we later learn is Alice's engagement party. There we meet the parents of the proposed groom, an overly snobby woman, and a kind business man, whom worked with Alice's father, and now controlls and oversees his trading company. Her suitor, Hamish is a rather dorky look kid, who seems to be concerned for Alice's absent mindedness, he then says he wats to meet her under the gazebo (Again, spelling?). Her older sister soon rejoins her and lets her in on the surprise ahead of her (the proposal). She stumbles upon her brother inlaw cheating on her sister with another girl and then heads of to the gazebo. Heimlisch flimsily and slowly proposes to her infront of all the guests, and as she reasons it out (with voicing all but her own opinion), she runs off after the rabbit whom she's been seeing, chasing after. she discovers the hole and falls in.
Off to never, never land! Whoops! Sorry, Wonderland. Wrong movie, and possible infringement on Metallica. Sorry guys!
Now, after falling an inordinate amount of time, she finds the shrinking cake and eats some. She then discovers the door she needs to get though is locked, and the key is up on a very large table. The then drinks the enlargement elixer, and grows. She grabs the key and eats the shrinking cake, all the while being watched by the White rabbit, the Dodo and the Doormouse, who argue over her Aliceness authenticity. She then walks henceforth into wonderland. Walking along, she finally meets the White Rabbit, the Doormouse, the Dodo and the twins Tweedledee and Tweedledum. To confirm her identity, they take to to the Caterpillar (whom they ferfer to as Absalom). They roll out the calendar for wonderland, the "oraculum", and show her her destiny, though she believes it's all a dream, and says shes not the Alice they are searching for. They all become angry and confront her, when the Bandersnatch comes through, with the Queen of Hearts army. One by one, thet all fall as they run for safety but Alice, who faces the bandersnatch, and is wounded by the beast with a scratch to her arm. We are then shown that the Knave of Hearts now had the "oraculum" of wonderland, and realizes that she is indeed the real Alice, and searches for her. As its shown that all were captured by the Queen but Alice and doormouse, we first meet the Red Queen, who interrogates her frog servants about who ate her tarts. The Knave returns revealing the oraculum, and they devise a plan to find and kill Alice. She send the Knave, her army and a dog (who becomes Alice's ally later), whom they threaten with his captured family. Alice, still wondering through Wonderland, meets the Cheshire Cat, who bandages up her wound, and takes her to the Hatter. Here we meet the Hatter and the March Hare, who are still having tea, awaiting Alice's return. The hatter when angry, switches to a distorted Scottish accent and becomes quite dark and foreboding. Upon discovery by the Knave, the hatter hides Alice in a tea pot. When the dog, Bayod, sniffs her out, Hatter convinces the dog to to not signal her presence due to them both hating the Red Queen. After the Knave leaves due to not finding anything, Hatter takes her on a journey to tell her the story of what happened when the red Queen took over. All of a sudden they are closed in upon by the red knights. Fleeing, Hatter allows him self to to be captured, but not before throwing Alice (who has been riding on his hat) to safety. Alice Spends the night under his hat, but is found in te morning by the Bayod, who reveals to her they have his family captive, and agrees to help her free Hatter, and take her to the White Queen, in return for helping to free his family.
And its of to the Red Queen's Palace.
Once behind the walls of the Queen's fortress walls, Alice is found by the White Rabbit, and is given some enlargement cake. She is found by the Red Queen, who is fooled by Alice into thinking she is a girl named Um, from Umbridge, and is soon befriended by the Queen. In the palace, she sees Dee and Dum, and is almost given away by one of them, before the Queen sends them away. The Knave returns with the Hatter, and quickly takes a liking to Alice, whom he also thinks is Um aswell. The Hatter tricks the Queen into letting him go, by saying he'd like to hat her, which she accepts. Meanwhile, Bayod returns and tells the White Queen of Alice's whereabouts, and to prepare for her return. Late that night, the White Rabbit steals back the oraculum, and reveals to Alice where the special Vorpal sword is kept (In the bandersnatch's pen). On the way, she is cornered by the Knave, and she fights of his unwanted advances. Once inside, Alice gives back the eye of the Bandersnatch, whom then befirends her as well, and lets her have the key around its neck, as well as cure the infection in her arm wound. The Red Queeen while being hatted by the Hatter learns from the Knave, who lies about the encounter between him and Alice, sends her army after Alice and imprisons Hatter and Doormouse. Alice escapes and heads to the White Queen's palace, with the aid of the Bandersnatch.
To the White Queen's kingdome...
Alice brings the Vorpal sword to the White Queen. and they talk about her time with the Red Queen, and gossip about her head, while they return Alice to her normal size.back at the Red Queen's palace, the Cheshire Cat returns and helps to free the Hatter, Doormouse from execution while as the hatter, while the real Hatter exposes all the Queen's friends fakes, while their "enhanced" body parts fall off and are revealed as liars, and turn her people against her.
Off for the big battle...
Upon escaping, Hatter, doormouse, Dee and Dum, Rabbit, Cheshire and bayod's family return to the White Queen and Alice. Alice then talks with the Hatter about her fear for Frabjas day, when she is supposed to slay the Jaberwockey. the next day, Alice in fear, again runs away from her choice to slay the Jaberwockey. Then in talking with the Caterpillar (Who's in a cocoon, ready to transform into a butterfly) once again, she finds her inner-strength to battle the Jaberwockey. We are then revealed to her past adventures in Wonderland, and that it never was a dream, and she has been going there for years. On the battlefield, Alice returns to champion for the White Queen to slay the Jaberwockey, while the armies battle it out as well. Alice defeats the Jaberwockey, and the White Queen sends the Red Queen and Knave into permanent exile together, which prompts the Knave to try and kill the Red Queen.
Alice is returned home, only to again turn down the marriage proposal from Hamish, and to tell off her mother, and would have been mother in-law, to the delight of her would have been father in-law, and joins him in her fathers business, where she then develops the first trade root to China.
"And Now I Wait My Whole Lifetime"
For me, I feel the film was excellently done, and I like it very much, but it's not that there aren't some flaws. I feel that this could have deffinitely been longer, cause an hour and forty some minutes certainly doesn't do it justice. I feel they started out nice and paced, but as time went on, they rushed it for some reason, and some key character development, and not trying to feature more of Alice's prior visits to Wonderland more/make her past visit activities recent. I actually would have been fine had this been a 2, 2 and a half, 3 hour movie, and still would have been into it for that long.
As far as acting goes, you couldn't have asked for a better cast for it. They all turn in absolutely amazing performances. Mia is a great Alice, and possibly the best Alice since the animated Disney film! Depp's performance as the Mad Hatter is perfect, could not have picked better actor to have played the role. In fact, if they ever use the Mad Hatter as a villain in the Batman movies, I vote Depp's version and Depp.
However, IMO, I still feel we don't have the definitive version of it yet. We're close, but no cigar on this one. If you took the length, and closeness to the story the 1985 TV movie had (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_in_Wonderland_(1985_film) ) and the timelessness of the cartoon, and mashed them up with this, then you'd have the perfect Alice.
Definitely buy it, and for sure treasure it, and its the best we'll get for a long time, and possibly the best we'll ever get.
4 1/2 out of 5 stars.
Alice: Mia Wasikowska
Hatter: Johnny Depp
Red Queen: Helena Bonham-Carter
White Queen: Anne Hathaway
Tweedledee and Dum: Matt Lucas
The Knave of Hearts: Crispin Glover
Cheshire Cat: Stephen Frye
White Rabbit: Michael Sheen
Caterpillar - Alan Rickman
You can view the full cast list here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1014759/fullcredits
Hey! Hey! Take note of all the Metallica references, not only is it an allusion to a future happening, but 2 future blogs as well, one possibly being up later tonight!