Alice in Wonderland (2010)

PLOT:

Alice Kingsley, 19, attends a party at a Victorian estate shortly after the death of her beloved father. Learning that the party is actually an engagement party to wed her into the family of her father’s friend and current owner of his trading business, Alice spots a White Rabbit wearing a waistcoat and pocket watch. In shock and confusion, she runs off into a maze and follows the White Rabbit through it. She eventually tumbles down a rabbit hole into Underland, learning that the White Rabbit has been searching for “The Alice” who is the only one that can slay the Jabberwocky, a dragon who terrorizes the inhabitants of Underland under the rule of the Red Queen.

Alice meets Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Dodo, and Dormouse as they and the White Rabbit take her to see Absolem the Caterpillar. But after he says she is “The Alice” they’re looking for, the Bandersnatch appears and chases the clan through the woodland. As he corners Alice and scratches her arm, the Dormouse jumps on his head and stabs his left eye causing it to pop out. Alice continues on after the Tweedles are captured and meets the Cheshire Cat who brings her to a tea party being held by the Mad Hatter, the March Hare and Dormouse. The Knave of Hearts, the Red Queen’s army and the Bloodhound show up and begins a search for Alice, but failing to find her as she was hidden the Mad Hatter’s hat after drinking the potion to make her shrink, they continue on with their search for her in the woods.

After the Mad Hatter is arrested by the Knave, Alice manages to sneak into the Red Queen’s castle to free him, but only able to obtain the Vorpal Sword and escape with the Bandersnatch after she gives him back his eye. While Alice arrives to the domain of the White Queen, the Mad Hatter manages to escape execution with the Cheshire Cat’s help, rallying a revolt before his group flee to the White Queen’s castle. Though Alice was at first reluctant to fight, she later learns from Absolem as he enters his pupa state that she had visited Underland 13 years earlier. This gives Alice the strength to face the Jabberwocky the next day in a duel, though both armies clash when the Mad Hatter intervened until the Jabberwocky is slain. With the dragon dead, the Red Queen’s army sees no more reason to fight, and the White Queen exiles her sister from the kingdom, handcuffing the Knave to her. With the Jabberwocky’s blood, Alice returns to her world where she turns down the marriage proposal to Hamish and instead carries on her father’s work as an apprentice in which she goes to China to expand the trading firm.

REVIEW:

This is not the Alice in Wonderland we’re all familiar with. Gone is the happy-go-lucky, magical Wonderland, and in its place is a dark, gloomy place called Underland. Having said that, though, this is a Tim Burton film, so you know there is plenty of fantastical whimsy to be had.

Lots of hype surrounded this film, pretty much from the moment it was announced. I was a bit skeptical about it until I saw some early shots.

The good…Johnny Depp was obviously the selling point for this picture. I can’t argue with that, but I’m more excited that he learned a new accent. Using Jack Sparrow’s accent for all his characters was getting old. I’ve read some reviews that said that Helena Bonham Carter stole the show. Eh…not for me. Sure, Depp wasn’t as big a deal as they made him out ot be, but Anne Hathaway’s over the top White Queen stole the show, in my opinion. Stephen Fry’s voicing of the Cheshire Cat really sold me on the character. He brought that calm and coolness that Cheshire Cat needs. Alan Rickman as the wise caterpillar was pretty good, but I kind of wish he had more screentime. The look of Underland, especially the two castles and the battlefield is vintage Burton. You don’ get much better than those. The Jabberwocky may be the best looking creature in the film. He has a mix of Norse dragon and Chinese dragon with a hint of originality. Nice touch!

The bad…the non Underland parts. I realize that you needed these bookends to set up the story, and that’s fine and dandy, but they were just too long, especially the opening. Honestly, what did it serve to give us the back story of her father? I didn’t understand the reasoning behind this. I wasn’t too crazy with the actress who played Alice, Mia Wasikowska. At one point uring the film, I was telling myself they could have just let Anne Hathaway do it, then she blew me away with her portrayal of the White Queen, but Wasikokwska just didn’t inspire me. She may look like a slightly prettier version of  Tilda Swinton, but she doesn’t have half her talent. Tim Burton films are known for their contrasting of bright, exuberant colors over a slightly dark tone which equals a fun, entertaining film, however, Alice in Wonderland seems…normal. The fantasy and everything that is usually associated with these stories is almost gone and this is almost just a fancy sci-fi flick.

I saw this in 3D and have to say that it was half worth it and half not. I say that because while the effects looked cool, there was nothing that just screamed out to me that this had to be seen in 3D.

What is the final verdict of this film? Well, the hype is a bit much, but it is not unfounded. It is very good and entertaining, though not as good as it could/should be. It is infinitely more entertaining that SyFy crap that aired a few months back, Alice, then again almost anything could accomplish that feat. So, should you see this? I’m not going to say you should spend your last $8 (or however much it is where you live) on this, or that you should shell out the extra couple of bucks for the 3D experience, but it is worth seeing in theaters, but I just don’t think you’ll miss much by waiting for the DVD in a few months. Either way, it still is worth watching.

4 out of 5 stars

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5 Responses to “Alice in Wonderland (2010)”

  1. […] Wasikowska, fresh off her time in Alice in Wonderland, still seems to be as wooden and uncaring as ever. However, her little outburst and affection […]

  2. […] flick that I don’t instantly fall in love with the contrast of light and dark. Well, maybe Alice in Wonderland, but the rest are a nice mix of bright-colored backgrounds with dark stories and characters. This […]

  3. […] With that said, while watching this, I felt underwhelmed, much in the same way I did after watching Alice in Wonderland. That isn’t to say this is a bad film, it just may have been overhyped. I can’t help […]

  4. […] not too familiar with, other than the few films she’s done over here in the states, mainly Alice in Wonderland, but Fassbender has more than proven that he is capable of pulling off roles of substance on both […]

  5. […] charm found in the first Alice in Wonderland is definitely missing in the sequel. The story is a mix match of going in the past future time etc. […]

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