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Alice in Wonderland

June 29, 2010

Alice in Wonderland

My first question was what would’ve Lewis Carroll have made of this movie?

My friend claims he would’ve loved it. “Carroll was tripping on acid when he wrote this” were his exact words. Perhaps so… but was this the colors and the vividness that he imagined? Did he want the subtle chemistry between the hatter and Alice?

There seem to be a rage of movies these days that are loosely based on classics – they adopt the name of the popular character, some of the plot and weave their own story for the rest. Sherlock Holmes was one such – and it wasn’t such a disappointment, and very Guy Ritchie. And Alice joins that line… and I can say very Tim Horton.

Of course, the Wonderland has glimpses of Avatar (but I say from now any tropical forest would look like Avatar). And Alice, the one who is overland is a little… lackluster. Awkward, like a fish out of water.

So she follows a rabbit down the hole, grows a little big and then a little small and finally manages to get herself across the little door, where we find out that this is indeed a bees saal baad story.

Why Horton didn’t go with the little girl… well…

So there is the caterpillar with his twisted words and “almost” statements. The Tweedle brothers, who are quite adorable actually. And the rabbit ofcourse. And the Cheshire cat.

The cat’s good. Really good. I never liked Cheshire cat. I don’t like cats. And he is as catty as they get. And there are the beasts and Alice needs to kill the Jabberwocky.

Now, from here, I need to go back and read the book… because I figure it slowly diverges.

The cat leads Alice to the Hatter, where there is a mad party going on. And Depp is perfectly suited to play the mad hatter. But he isn’t really mad, only a little sad, unless you are saying ‘mad’ as in being a little angry. So he manages to sneak Alice away, gets caught and soft-hearted Alice goes after him into the Red Queen’s palace.

Oh I wish they really had an elaborate scene of the flamingoes and the croquet!!! That was my favorite scene in the book… with the flamingoes and the hedgehogs and the little illustrations the book came with.

Helena Bonham Carter (of the Harry Potter fame) truly shines as the Red Queen. Her voice and expressions seem so natural, particularly in contrast with all the heightened things around her. Or even on her. And the White Queen – Anne Hathaway  – seems quite pale and boring. She does this stupid thing with her hands… reminds me of actresses from the 60s doing this weird dance.

No, the story of Alice in Wonderland isn’t so spectacularly strong or new. Good fights bad. Alice has to kill the ‘jabber-baby-wocky’ and defeat the Red Queen. She struggles with her conscience and the concept of ‘killing’ and all that stuff and then she figures yes yes it is the right thing to do. I wish Hollywood had a little more creativity sometimes… or just let go of the whole pseudo-conscience thing.

But the way in which they designed the concept is refreshing. And fun. It is a visual treat and as long as you can regard it as just that, it is so worth a watch.

And yeah, do not  compare it to Avatar or any of those movies.

Because Disney got it right a long time ago. Disney’s always cute.

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