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March 21, 2010 / Prof Cupcake.

alice in wondersham

Straddling the divide between children’s film and grotesque adult drama, alice in wonderland achieves neither. A blemish on Tim Burtons otherwise interesting career, this film it the biggest disappointment since I realized sea monkeys were not actually monkeys.

The plot features a mixture of characters and references to both Alice books, but takes place 13 years after the first film. Now we find Alice a grown woman, who is finding herself shoved into an adult world. When things get to much the lackluster awkwardly pale girl, who has clearly never used a color enriching shampoo as her head more resembles a sun bleached ragged old mop then hair, falls back down the rabbit hole, (talk about running away from your problems) and stumbles around underworld (wonderland) looking for the vorpal blade to kill the jabberwocky who is the pet of the red queen who is some how responsible for much evil in the land. (It could be because she is always cutting off peoples heads) In the end, after little character development and way to many unnecessary costumes changes, Alice arrives at her destiny. (but I won’t tell you exactly what happens as that would ruin it. )

The acting in this film is not exceptional. However before individual performances are touched on it is important to note that the complex computer generated effects do not improve any of the performances. The constant shifting highest and appearances simply make all the characters appear offish and awkward. (Plus will some one please give the mad hatters contacts back to the twilight vampires)

Mia Wasikowska is as washed out as her skin, (have I mentioned its pale, its like taking the concept of the English rose to an almost Casper extreme.) She spends the first half of the film convinced she is not Alice and Mia, honey, I could not agree with you more, Alice was precious and interesting not BORING.

Johnny Depp, has a crazy wandering accent which is aggravating and when the most expressive part of his performance is his changing facial makeup you know you are in for a problem. None of the comic timing he displayed as jack sparrow is shown here.

OH HELENA, you are an actress. But stop getting roles because you sleep with director, I don’t think its helping either of your work ethics. Like remember when you were in Sweeny Todd and no one could understand you?! WHY DID YOU PLAY THAT CHARACTER AGAIN. With out any character direction or plot either, the red queen is just a villainous and two dimensional bad guy. With the exception of one interesting scene, it is all together a painful performance.

However the greatest disappointment is in the writing and the directing. There is incredible potential in this story, and it is that it is never realized which makes this so disappointing. By not crafting their own story to tell, this film has become an awkward rehash of the Alice mythology while also trying to appease fans. I feel that taking the Alice universe and creating their own story could have led to brilliance. Instead of this utter tripe. The dialogue is flat, the plot is linear and event based, which is not bad, but lacks any heart. Finally the camera work is clunky and any finesse is lost in the non breath taking visual effects which dominate the mise-en-scene.


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