Director: Tim Burton (I guess).
Cast: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Stephen Fry, Michael Sheen, Crispin Glover, Alan Rickman.
Year of production: 2010.
I have a very basic system to rate movies, videogames, music and people. I start with a note of 5/10, that is the average note, and I downgrade it or upgraded depending on how the movie, videogame, music or person in question does. That said I must say that “Alice in Wonderland” is the most flatlined movie I have seen in my life, since the note of 5/10 didn’t move from there up until the Cheshire Cat showed up. And that was only because I love Stephen Fry’s voice.
“Alice in Wonderland”, that is the Alice in Wonderland from 2010, is a sequel to the original Disney animated master piece “Alice in Wonderland” from 1951. One must be allowed to think that, but since we spend the first 50 fucking minutes of movie revisiting the same locations of the original film it feels more like a remake instead of a sequel. Yeah, sure, the entire world is passed through the Fallout filter of apocalypsism but I didn’t even notice since this is the way Tim Burton does his every movie that’s not based on a Roal Dahl’s novel.
Speaking of Tim Burton it’s staggering how this movie is so filled with inside references to his own work and yet it doesn’t feel Burtonian at all, like a creepy stalker who sneaked into his house and made a collage with his colorful shirts. We go from location to location finding brothers to the Dead man’s tree and the burned down windmill from Sleepy Hollow, we step onto corridors from Beetle Juice, gardens from Charlie and the Chocolate factory, freaks from Big Fish, and a final battle recreated with life actors from Nightmare Before Christmas, except not good. Yet the entire conjunct feels empty and hollow, which is ironic when you think about it, but it lacks the Burton touch, that little tingle of reality that always makes his movies so delicious.
The contrast between the real world and the fantasy one is what made his movies so fantastic. Take my favorite film of his, Beetle Juice. If you stayed all the time into the dead world you will end up bored and over cluttered. The excerpts into the real world intertwined with the dead world gives the entire universe a sense of silly realism, which was the basis of every Burton film to date. In this movie, we go from the real world to Wonderland in the blink of an eye, and then we return in another blink. We are supposed to believe that that’s how it happens and that that’s how it happened in the original animated movie, but I think that’s not true (watch Alice in Wonderland 1951 again if you think I am wrong).
I don’t want you to think I am unfair to Tim Burton, but before speaking about the things I really did like of the movie (which will neatly fit in one paragraph) let me tell you about the biggest murder victim in the entire film, the moral. The original Alice in Wonderland (the novel, not this movie nor the 1951 version, Jesus Christ this is so fucking confusing) was about growing up. Becoming an adult through a traumatic experience and been forced to change and shift to get out of the problems life throws at you. This has been present in every adaptation of Alice, even that horrible TV one with Whoopy Goldberg and Jonathan Hyde. Alice in Wonderland is about a girl becoming a woman. Hell, even Spirited Away was a better Alice movie than Tim Burton’s! I don’t know what was the screenwriter thinking when writing this, but she (yeah, it surprises me that a woman couldn’t catch the metaphor that beats in every word Lewis Carroll wrote) really wasn’t right in the head…which is, again, ironic when you think about it.
But now that I vented what I did not like of this movie, let me tell you about the things I did really like. As I foreshadowed in my intro, Stephen Fry as The Cheshire Cat is a wonderful casting choice, because he licks and purrs every single line of dialogue like it’s a thick, sweet toffee apple. He managed to make me forget the original Cheshire cat, that’s how good he is. The other thing I liked about the movie is Anne Hathaway, and no, it’s not because she is smoking hot as The White Queen, although that made her win a lot of points. She is one of those rare cases that it doesn’t matter what role or character you give her, she takes it and wears it like…well, like a queen. She is awesome in every gesture, pose, twitch, inflection and pronunciation, and she makes what should have been a forgettable character in the best performance of the movie, gobbling down Johnny Depp and Bonham Carter for breakfast.
Speaking of which, Tim Burton, stop casting your wife and Edward Scissorhands! We are sick if Johnny Depp reprising his acting method from Pirates of the Caribbean, why didn’t you make him apply his method from Sweeney Todd!? Somebody put a jock strap on his mouth, because he definitely went insane. The Mad Hatter’s dance at the end of the movie is the worst tacked in masturbation vehicle Depp has had in his entire career, and those things should never happen again for all we care about. He doesn’t need a spot light, he needs somebody to tell him that subtlety is also a method of acting, before he hams so much he could be serving sandwiches in a Seven Eleven.
If it sounds like I didn’t like the movie, then I must not be explaining myself correctly. It is not a bad movie, but it has a lot of flaws. Going back to my rating, the movie stayed on a 5/10 most of the time, then it rose up to 6/10 when Cheshire Fry showed up, then u to 7/10 when Anne Hathaway appeared, and at the end it lowered itself down to 6/10 again. I don’t know if it would have made more sense in 3D. I feel like those who watched “AVATAR” in 2D and left the theatre empty and unfulfilled. I understand those guys now, as that visuals don’t accomplish the lack of a good story. But I still defend it for a very clear reason, and that is first impressions, kids. The first impression “GiantCat Smurfs VS Evil, evil humans” gave to me is so good it doesn’t matter it sucks in 2D, it’s still the most amazing cinematic experience of all time. The first impression of Alice in Wonderland couldn’t have been worse, but this is what I am willing to sacrifice in order to have Stephen Fry licking my ear with his kitty tongue.