It's Harry's third year at Hogwarts; not only does he have a new "Defense Against the Dark Arts" teacher, but there is also trouble brewing. Convicted murderer Sirius Black has escaped the Wizards' Prison and is coming after Harry.
Alice, an unpretentious and individual 19-year-old, is betrothed to a dunce of an English nobleman. At her engagement party, she escapes the crowd to consider whether to go through with the marriage and falls down a hole in the garden after spotting an unusual rabbit. Arriving in a strange and surreal place called "Underland," she finds herself in a world that resembles the nightmares she had as a child, filled with talking animals, villainous queens and knights, and frumious bandersnatches. Alice realizes that she is there for a reason--to conquer the horrific Jabberwocky and restore the rightful queen to her throne. Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
While Alice is riding Bayard, her wound from the Bandersnatch disappears momentarily. See more »
Charles, you have lost your senses? This picture is impossible.
Precisely. Gentlemen, the only way to achieve the impossible, is to believe it's possible.
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In the opening credits the Cheshire Cat can be seen smiling in the form of a cloud overlaying the moon. See more »
Sometimes I think that I should like Tim Burton movies more than I do. Don't get me wrong, the man has made some excellent films, such as the masterful Ed Wood. But all too often, despite an agreeable tendency towards visual flamboyance, I leave his films feeling somewhat underwhelmed. Alice in Wonderland is a case in point. It's a movie where CGI effects rule the day. But the trouble is that the true weirdness that is at the heart of this story is not captured at all with all the computer-generated imagery on-screen. Sure it's very efficient and well-designed but like CGI in general, it's far too polished to really strike a chord and convince. There is a distinct lack of wonder in this Wonderland. The otherworldly weirdness is dissipated too by the use of overly-familiar voices to give life to the various denizens of this world, we are left thinking 'Oh that's Stephen Fry, hey isn't that Alan Rickman, I'm sure that's Christopher Lee and isn't that the bloke from Little Britain, etc'. It consistently takes us out of the movie and grounds the characters in a way that is just counter-productive. We want weirdness from an Alice in Wonderland film, not slick CGI and famous voice-over actors.
There is also a dangerously cosy predictability at play here too. Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, Danny Elfman they say familiarity breeds contempt, well that's a bit strong but it IS seriously lacking in surprises and you cannot help think that all three individually talented men could do with taking a break from each other for the good of their careers. Depp's Mad Hatter is pretty uninspired by his standards, while Burton's visuals and Elfman's music are nice but ultimately completely forgettable. I found it very difficult to care for any of the characters in this film, and that is never a good thing. It also meant that the conclusion came across as deeply trite, as we have been given nothing to empathize with. We don't know or have any interest in these characters, so when Alice goes around her extended family one by one imparting her new knowledge onto them, it means nothing. It also doesn't help that the journey to Wonderland has made absolutely no difference at all to the title character's state of mind at the beginning she does not want to get married to the upper-class chump and at the end she does not want to get married to the upper-class chump. So you are left wondering what exactly was the point?
I saw this in 3D and if there is one thing that this film has taught me it's that I am done with this 'new and improved' technology. I sensed it was a gimmick even before I watched Avatar; now I am certain. A bad film is a bad film, and no amount of extra visual depth is going to change that one iota. It's all surface-veneer, and really that's this movie's ultimate problem, there is nothing of interest within the CGI/3D. A great shame, as the source material is undeniably compelling.
I realize that I am almost done here but I have not even mentioned the worst thing about the film. What was it? It was when the Mad Hatter and then, subsequently, Alice do a truly cringe-worthy little dance near the end of the film. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I half-expected Britain's Got Talent winners Diversity to pop up in a cameo appearance at this stage and join in with some urban street dancing manoeuvres. That didn't happen. And that is, at least, one saving grace.
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