With this review comes the second installment of my he said/she said co-reviews with Eric Robinette, life and arts editor at Cox Media Group. You’ll find excerpts from his (very-opposing) review within mine, and to read his full review go to Sir Critic’s Cinema.
I really enjoyed 2010’s Alice in Wonderland, the film has such clever, funny and quirky dialogue which fits all the unique characters perfectly. I think I was able to enjoy this film as much as I did because I had no preconceived ideas of any of the characters or places and what they should be. A lot of the people I talked to didn’t enjoy it as much because of the previous renditions, but I was able to just take it for what it was — an entertaining adventure that touched on important themes, such as coming of age, being yourself, taking risks, etc.
The story is fairly well-known, I’m sure I don’t need to elaborate too much — stifled home life, big rabbit hole, wonderland exists, save it. I liked getting the background information we did from Alice’s relationship with her father. He was very imaginative just like Alice and encouraged her to believe in herself. “The only way to achieve the impossible it to think it possible,” her dad says. One of the film’s funniest parts was just how absurd Alice’s thoughts were to the townspeople. Having a thought as simple as ‘what’s it like to fly’ was seen as unfathomable by the people in Alice’s life. I can imagine how exhausting and frustrating that would be for Alice.
Australian actress Mia Wasikowska played Alice and did a great job portraying a young 19-year-old having to face ‘real world’ problems such as being brave, only relying on yourself, marriage, death in the family, etc. She was even a little rebellious, no stockings or corset, oh my! Other stand-out cast members include Burton staples Johnny Depp as Mad Hatter and Helena Bonham Carter as Red Queen, Anne Hathaway as White Queen and Crispin Glover as Stayne. There were so many memorable pieces of dialogue from the characters. The Red Queen, “I love the feel of a warm pig belly under my feet,” and “I love tadpoles on toast almost as much as I love caviar.” Tweedledee says, “On the contrariwise.” Mad Hatter says Alice has lost her “much-ness.”
Sir Critic says of the cast, “Wasikowska is excellent as Alice — all at once vulnerable, yet crafty and determined. Helena Bonham Carter devours the scenery with relish as the Red Queen. Unlike other reviewers, I rather liked Anne Hathaway’s icy take on the White Queen. And as is true of most of Burton’s films, it looks great, with its wildly weird designs and mostly wonderful effects.”
Sir Critic continues, “As it turns out, the movie is flat no matter what dimension it’s in. This is Tim Burton’s weakest film to date — the first I can’t recommend at all. This may seem like a strange thing to say for a Hollywood film, but this screenplay “thinks” too much, trying to provide the characters with motivations, with reasons for being.”
My thoughts are the opposite. For whatever reasons unknown, I don’t usually enjoy Tim Burton films (Edward Scissorhands, Sweeney Todd). I’m not saying I hate Burton films, but this one I really loved. The film sets and characters were so detailed that it almost put the viewer in Alice’s shoes. I was just as googly-eyed and curious as she was. One thing Burton’s excels at within his very imaginative sets is his use of color. It’s always so beautifully vivid.