Saturday, April 3, 2010

Alice in Weirdoland

Now, don't get me wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed this film, as I have always been a fan of Tim Burton, but really, I don't think Lewis Carroll had this in mind when he penned this story. It's dark, even creepy at times, with lots of humor and goofiness thrown in, as only Mr. Burton can do. The story begins with Alice attending a party in the English countryside (the scenery is gorgeous but I felt that the 3d actually made it look flat.) Her friends are introduced to us through conversations and then you start to notice that many of her friends look familiar, such as the two sisters who have on striped dresses like two little characters who show up later in the film. Alice then discovers that the party was actually thrown in her honor and that her suitor, a very stiff and stuffy young redhead named Hamish, was going to propose to her in front of the 100's of guests. When he does, Alice runs off following the White Rabbit she had seen earlier in the garden and falls down the same hole that she had fallen down as a child. That's when the 3d really takes hold and the mayhem begins. The scenes in the house as she's trying to get out are wonderful as she first becomes small, then large and then small again. She finally gets out the little door and continues on her adventure. She meets the Tweedles, who are very odd little people very similar to the very scary (at least to me) Ooompa Loompas, the White Rabbit again, and many other very strange creatures in her new world. We all know this story so I won't go into further detail but I do want to mention the stand out performances. I am very glad that Mr. Burton choose to use a relatively unknown actress (Mia Wasikowska) as Alice. She was delightful, strong, willful, and very funny at times. A perfect casting choice. Johnny Depp was very good as the Mad Hatter and the relationship that develops between he and Alice is very touching and believable. But the show stopper is Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen. Go see this film just to see her and the very funny Crispin Glover (remember Back to the Future's George McFly?) as her knight, Stayne. Crispin and Helena steal the movie. There are many other famous voices (Alan Rickman, Michael Sheen, Stephen Fry) and Anne Hathaway does a fine job as the White Queen, despite her bushy black eyebrows that I couldn't stop staring at. So, I guess I'm recommending this film but if you don't get to see it at the theatre, it's okay. Even without 3d, Weirdoland is still Weirdoland - I sure wish I could hear what Mr. Carroll thought about it.

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