Author Topic: Tim Burton's Alice and Wonderland  (Read 1241 times)

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Offline tibaltfox

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Tim Burton's Alice and Wonderland
« on: March 07, 2010, 03:30:46 am »
Surprised this hasn't been posted already! (and apologies if it has - I didn't see anything though!)
Your thoughts on the movie?

I thought it was very good. For reasons enumerated below:

1) It was very well contextualized. The beginning of the movie places the character of Alice on firm ground, and in such good context that the rest of the movie is very much better off for it. With that grounding, Wonderland and the characters therein take on new meaning and resonance, and the psychology of Alice is very much expanded upon. This means that her character, psychology, and story (despite its surreality) is something that I think most everyone will be able to find relatable. Much like Where The Wild Things Are, Wonderland seems more than anything like a psychological escape from an overwhelming, stifling world that doesn't understand the main character. Burton's movie wraps Wonderland up in a lovely package of contextualization that makes this all the more apparent and shines new light and meaning on the story.

2) The CG, and the movie in general, is beautiful. Burton's aesthetic vision really shows through here. Burton and the CG team succeeded wonderfully in painting a world that was at once amazingly surreal, saturated, and dreamlike and completely believable. I don't know how else to put it -- Burton's Wonderland is stunning, and the VFX are all executed amazingly well. Not to mention the attention to detail in the beautiful costumes. Oh yeah, and it was scored by Danny Elfman. So there's that.

3) Wonderfully acted. All the characters, both humanistic or voiced/anthropomorphic, play their rolls wonderfully (although the choice of Alan Rickman for the Caterpillar was a bit distracting -- I just kept thinking of Prof. Snape..). People often rant about Burton re-using the same actors, but in this movie especially, it works. It's not Johnny Depp as Johnny Depp nor Helena Bonham Carter as Helena Bonham Carter, it's Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter and Helena Bonham Carter as the Queen of Hearts, and in either instance it works wonderfully. All of the performances are equally amazing, but, in my opinion, Depp's is of particular note. While occasionally he lapses into an angry Depp-esque growl that hearkens back to the Sweeney Todd days, for the most part the character is entirely new, and Depp fills that (amazing) costume spectacularly well -- the character of the Mad Hatter is memorable, spooky, detailed, quirky, and unquestionably and engagingly mad.

There are other points, but those are the main ones. Overall, I thought it was a good movie that lends a lot of depth to the often glossed over and oversimplified tale, delving more into the psychology of Alice, etc etc. It offers something different from the bucket full of previous Alice remakes, whether it be the traditional Disney animation or the X-Rated, pornographic version, and does it in a way that is visually stunning and very well acted, all whilst simultaneously hearkening back to what has came before it. It doesn't water things down (too much, anywho) or try too hard to make things into a simple children's movie, and I respect it for that. The characters are very well painted, and all have a good amount of depth and roundness to them -- from Alice to the Hatter, the characters are generally very well rounded and complex (at least emotionally), refusing to remain flat and 2d (literally and figuratively).  I wouldn't say it was a perfect movie, however. The character of Alice, however well painted in the beginning, seems to slowly slacken as the movie goes on. I feel like there could have been a lot more done with her character that wasn't (a realm that, excuse me for being a nerd (and please don't hurt me), Syfy's miniseries remake managed to cover pretty well). Other characters, however, grow whilst Alice slackens. The Hatter, for instance, slowly reveals his complexity and depth over time. Overall, however, the movie seems to lack a few things, some of which are hard to pinpoint. Generally, it seemed to ease off as the movie went on -- I felt like there were a lot of missed opportunities and things left undone. While I credit Burton for not watering down things (aesthetically and psychological, at least -- in terms of story faithfulness it can fall a little short, which is neither good nor bad, necessarily) too much and creating a movie with psychological depth, it seems like he is also simultaneously guilty of skipping over some things in the interest of creating a movie that was still watchable and entertaining at a much simpler, more accessible level (it's the median point between Disney and Peter Jackson, it seems). As a whole, the movie seemed to lack a particular punch and resonance that so many great movies, to me, have. While the main characters have complexity and depth in their emotions, many of them still lack contextual background (Alice somewhat excused), not to mention the more minor characters. This means that the apparent depth of the movie is easily scratched -- the well painted aspects of some characters simply can not take on the weight of the rest. We have little background as to each character's individual motivation or history (Another arena in which the Syfy/Sci-Fi remake (my most recent frame of reference, I apologize) excels over this one), and so while each character is deep and complex in terms of emotion and acting, that depth lies merely on the surface.

To condense:
+Good context turns the story into a metaphor for alienation, imagination, and the feeling of being overwhelmed and stifled by the real world
+Characters are well acted, especially the core triad of Alice, The Hatter, and The Queen of Hearts.
+Costumes, CG, and visuals are absolutely stunning. Creates a unique visual world (although, gee, that windmill looks familiar..)
+Did I mention it was pretty?

-Slackens as it goes on
-Characters lack true depth and history, motivation.
-Delves deeper, but not deep enough if that's what you're looking for -- this is not a Peter Jackson film, etc etc. It's still, inexorably, a children's tale, despite Burton's dark vision.
-Has depth, but only surface depth -- it doesn't go far. Not the kind of depth that results in a truly memorable, touching piece.
-Yawnn. Still, at its core, meant to be consumed as relatively passive entertainment. I give Burton credit for trying, though. He contextualizes Alice well.




Score:
6.5/10
Good and worth watching, if not merely for the aesthetics and acting. But hardly great. Burton's vision and potential seems muddied by the fact that this is still a Disney movie, and a PG rated one. It's still passive entertainment, and while it shows potential, it ultimately falls quite short of completely fulfilling it.

Now, that said...
Go watch the Syfy version :3
« Last Edit: March 07, 2010, 04:03:29 am by tibaltfox »
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Offline 800880088

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Re: Tim Burton's Alice and Wonderland
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2010, 03:59:35 am »
I watched that film yesterday. Couldn't stop laughing at the queen of harts when she got pissed :p

Offline lucien

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Re: Tim Burton's Alice and Wonderland
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2010, 05:20:43 pm »
I'm already breaking my hiatus to post in this.
Just saw the movie yesterday, and I have to say it was FANTASTIC. I've been keeping track of this movie ever since it was announced a while ago, and it was definitely worth the wait.
I disagree with your rating! I'd give it a 9/10.
I loved it. It was amazing. The graphic were great, Johnny Depp (despite the WTF factor of his character) was sexy as usual, and it was a very amusing movie.
it was oddly graphic for a Disney movie though xD
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Offline Daniel A. Skirtandzy

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Re: Tim Burton's Alice and Wonderland
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2010, 06:24:19 pm »
I want to see it.
It looks almost, different... but that is all the more reason I would like to see it.
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Offline Zane

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Re: Tim Burton's Alice and Wonderland
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2010, 05:16:42 pm »
i thought it was OK not tims best work but it was good.
 i was disappointing at how you knew exactly what was going to happen next.

Offline Steelyphil

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Re: Tim Burton's Alice and Wonderland
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2010, 09:30:00 pm »
Eh
It wasn't really that great in my opinion
Although the CGI was great they used it WAY to much
Like they even used it for the horses and stuff
Which, I dunno about you guys
But the way CGI looks really bothers me sometimes
It looks to PERFECT
To smooth
To be real
The best CGI I've seen mixed with live action would have to be Gollum, and the stuff in Avatar.
And compared to them this movie's CGI effects pale in comparison.

Also what bugged me was that the Mad Hatter wasn't really even that crazy
(maybe mentally unstable but not enough to be crazy)
and NEITHER was the Cheshire cat
The only one that actually seemed crazy in the entire film to me was the Hare
I was also hoping there would be alot more character development, but I felt like there was very little.
I think the only character that striked me as Interesting was the Cheshire cat.

But Whatever,
Just my opinion.

EDIT:
Another thing
I didn't like that they put in a random dance sequence, I guess I understand that they did that to make it more fun for kids
But it was like "The Queen of Hearts is exiled!"
*Dance dance dance*
It really was a change in pace, that I feel as though the film would have been better without.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2010, 09:43:48 pm by Chilipowderfib »

Offline Chopin

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Re: Tim Burton's Alice and Wonderland
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2010, 12:35:44 am »
I thought it was really entertaining. I loved how Depp got the thick accent when he was quoting the original story, I thought it was a really nice touch.
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Offline tibaltfox

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Re: Tim Burton's Alice and Wonderland
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2010, 12:51:11 am »
Another thing
I didn't like that they put in a random dance sequence, I guess I understand that they did that to make it more fun for kids
But it was like "The Queen of Hearts is exiled!"
*Dance dance dance*
It really was a change in pace, that I feel as though the film would have been better without.

I totally agree. Ever since Shrek every kids movie has to have a random dancing scene, just for the lulz. It was annoying, random, and incredibly out of place. Le sigh.

Ultimately the movie suffers from the fact that it's still a PG, Disney movie.
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Offline Steelyphil

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Re: Tim Burton's Alice and Wonderland
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2010, 07:55:12 am »
Yeah I feel like Tim Burton has been lacking recently
It's probably because he's working with some different people on his most recent films.
I miss his old stuff like Edward Scissorhands and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (hehehe)

Offline copb.phoenix

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Re: Tim Burton's Alice and Wonderland
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2010, 09:15:58 pm »
I'd throw... maybe a 7 or a 7.5? Wonderful visuals, plot would have made Carroll proud, but yeah... Once the curtains close, Don Bluth will be shaking his head yet again for people being sold something that does them no good other than a theatrical experience.

But I did like a certain character's accent whilst reciting Jabberwocky, and I do think same character was played well considering that he's supposed to have three or four different personalities that have to switch throughout the film.

In my evening style:

The furry in you will like it because... Ok, if I have to explain this, you need to read a book. Seriously. I'd recommend purchasing the special edition hardback of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.

Oh: The legs are long and narrow, and they can both produce a great and many notes, though most of them flat. (If it was driving you as insane as it was Alice and the Hatter.)
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