Alice in Wonderland (2010) Poster

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Treading water in Wonderland
Red-Barracuda22 March 2010
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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A Nutshell Review: Alice in Wonderland
DICK STEEL6 March 2010
I nearly laughed out loud at the family of three seated beside me, as the dad loudly remarked that they are probably the only persons in the hall who have read Lewis Carroll's books Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and the follow up Through the Looking Glass. It's one thing to try and brag to all around that they are well read and learned, and it's another actually to know that it's probably not Tim Burton's style to adapt a classic to the T, given various adaptations from print to screen thus far. The characters are clearly from both books with events vaguely resembling what was read before, but this film is a totally different ballgame altogether.

In some ways, the narrative screenplay that Linda Woolverton adapted seemed to be more in line with Steven Spielberg 1991's effort Hook, which had Robin Williams star as Peter Pan in the retelling of the J.M. Barrie character, only that Pan had grown up, and had forgotten his roots and experiences in Never Never Land. While the characters in that world clearly remembered him (although older, pudgier and without the ability to fly), much of the story explored how Pan had to rediscover his touch and memories of the place he once called home.

Which to Alice, played by the relative fresh and ethereal looking Mia Wasikowska, the audience joins her in that similar route to discovery, and we're left wondering really, like the rest of the characters, whether we're all mistaken if this Alice was the same as the one we grew up with, the wide eyed child who flitted from one random event to another in Underland, encountering fantastical characters such as talking animals, to jealous kings and queens. It's not quite how we remembered it to be, and Tim Burton also showed glimpses of how it would look like if he had played this movie straight, but that would be losing a lot of fun that had found its way to his vision, so much so that he provides such a trippy ride, you'd wonder who was more loony, Burton, or Carroll himself.

In fact, every character here seemed a little mad or come with that tinge of insanity, even the White Queen (Anne Hathaway) herself seemed a little bit over the top in her all white goodness. And the host of characters we come to love, such as the constantly grinning Cheshire cat, the twins Tweedledee and Tweedledum, the rabbit with the watch, and plenty of card soldiers now given a bit more flesh, all make a cinematic comeback thanks to the wonderful world of computer graphics, and 3D technology to make them all pop out of the screen vividly. While there were plenty of specially crafted 3D moments to enhance the visual storytelling (the final battle scene involving Alice being the most outstanding I've seen thus far), kudos also went to the wealth of British talent roped in for roles both in the flesh, CG enhanced or providing voices to their graphical representation, with the likes of Stephen Fry, Michael Sheen, Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall, Christopher Lee and even Michael Gough, who had collaborated with Tim Burton before.

And this film, like most of Burton's others, comes the return of long time collaborators Danny Elfman in music, Helena Bonham Carter having a field day as the ridiculously evil Red Queen with her big head being the butt of most jokes, and Johnny Depp, who wows in yet another unorthodox role as The Mad Hatter, given more screen time and more depth compared to the novels. We know how outlandish Depp can become each time he's in a Tim Burton film, and Alice in Wonderland is no different, but surprise surprise, Mia Wasikowska's performance as the titular character got curiouser and curiouser as the film went along, which is a good thing since she delivered enough not to be overawed by her co-stars, and stood her ground in making the character her own.

She's quite the clotheshorse too, given the opportunity to showcase some Underland fashion sense no thanks to her changing body size. She becomes quite the reluctant blonde messiah to Underland whose presence rings forth the prophecy in the change of ruler-ship. In her own world, we see how she's quite the stubborn girl who is a far cry from societal demands of fulfilling one's role as a dutiful young wife to a rich lord (thanks to her good looks), taking off during a surprise proposal ceremony in order to follow the white rabbit. Mia Wasikowska fit the bill as this headstrong girl with that tinge of uncertainty and curiosity, and makes it a delight to follow her in one heck of an adventure filled with comedy, danger, and spectacular computer generated graphics.

Purist shouldn't go up in arms that the film didn't stick to their beloved tale, as it had enough Easter eggs and references contained within that will please the fans when they spot them. This one in my opinion had more bite, and fit quite well as a compendium of sorts to the established classics, showing that Burton has the insane gall to add his own Midas touch to entertain the masses, with a quality effort complete with amazingly designed visuals that just might make everyone go pick up the books and give them a read again. Highly recommended!
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Fantasy , imagination and adventures is this peculiar version based on Lewis Carrol tale
ma-cortes30 June 2011
Tim Burton film version of Lewis Carroll's classic proves the special slickness of director to create weird worlds and strange characters . Alice (Mia Wasikowska)is 19-year-old and doesn't remember nothing about her former visit on Wonderland happened 10 years ago . Then she returns to the magical world from her childhood adventure, where she reunites with her old friends as Mad Hatter (Jhnny Depp), White Rabbit (voice of Michael Sheen), Chesshie Cat (Stephen Fry), Blue Caterpillar (voice of Alan Rickman) and learns of her true destiny: to end the Red Queen's (Helena Bonham Carter)reign of terror who helped by Knave of Hearts (Crispin Glover) is fighting her sister White Queen (Anne Hathaway)for the kingdom.

Moving rendering of Lewis Carroll classic with gimmick of blending live action and computer generator puppets and 3D animation . Riveting for its casting , but overall , roller-coaster spectacle. Most of the charm and wit remains from original story in this particular version . It results to be an amusing of somewhat aloof , storytelling of children classic with a magnificent three-dimensional visual effects team at its best bring to life the following : the Cheshire cat , Blue caterpillar, the Queen of hearts, March Hare , Tweedledum and many others. Breathtaking array of technical effects with impressive set pieces illuminate the Alice's full-blown adventures. The amazing plot is pure entertainment and with interesting screenplay based on characters created by Lewis Carroll , though here Alice acts as a heroine who combats dragons , monsters and of course the evil Queen of Hearts . Episodic characters as Mad Hatter and Queen of Hearts are given major boost by strong personalities from Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter . Spectacular final battle full of action , groundbreaking frames and fabulous fights . Overwhelming production design , though full of digital effects with impressive scenes and portentous images . Stirring musical score fitting perfectly to story by Danny Elfman and colorful cinematography by Dariusz Wolski . The motion picture lavishly financed by veteran producer Daryl F. Zanuck is originally directed by Tim Burton in his exceptional style. Rating : 6,5 acceptable rendition .

Other take on based on this vintage tale are the following : 1933 by Norman Z McLeod with Gary Cooper , Edward Everett Horton and Jack Oakie ; 1950 by Dallas Bower with Carol Marsh , Pamela Brown and Felix Aylmer ; 1951 by Walt Disney directed by Clyde Geronimi, Hamilton Luke with voices of Sterling Holloway , Ed Wynn and Richard Haydn ; 1972 by William Sterling with Fiona Fullerton, Peter Sellers , Dudley Moore and Michael Crawford and TV version with Tina Majorino and Woopy Goldberg .
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Legendary_Badass5 March 2010
Alice Kingsley (Mia Wasikowska) is, unbeknownst to her, on her way to her engagement party. Turns out this is the famous Alice who 13 years earlier ventured in to Wonderland. Surely there is a creative reason to pull her back into the zany world. Nope, she merely felt the urge to chase a rabbit who himself was seeking to fulfill a prophecy. And so, Alice in roped back into the world of fantasy/absurdity.

If you've seen anything at all on this movie, then the strengths are obvious. It's Disney, it's CGI loaded, it's in 3D. Everything visual is well appointed with lavish detail. It makes me wonder if director Tim Burton is better suited as a set designer since he is always given projects for his vision. I recall a time where his vision wasn't hampered by the concepts of others, at time when his films were so wholly original that nothing else compared, and sadly he's been stuck in a limbo of "revisions" for a decade.

For a girl who can't remember anything, Alice is never surprised. She sees giant creatures, she shrinks, flies on a hat, all without a yelp. The first person to blame would be Burton, since Wasikowska lacks leading experience. Still I wonder what's going through her head when she decided to play Alice as oppressively jaded. Outside the last ten minutes, she's the antithesis of Dorothy. Having a protagonist who's so down trodden in a beautiful world is counterintuitive.

Johnny Depp. You pay the man and he'll do his thing. I can't tell you that his character, The Mad Hatter, is an original. I'm sure it's a combination of other Depp figurines. With the Hatter he has carte blanche to do anything, anything at all, and somehow be considered in character. It doesn't matter that he's periodically possessed by a Scotsman—he's in character and he's Johnny Depp so it must be fantastic, right? More amusing are Helena Bonham Carter and Crispin Glover, the latter of whom you wouldn't recognize.

The White Queen (Anne Hathaway) was in position to be the most complex element of the film. I suppose her role is to assume power in the event that her sister is dethroned. For a character who talks a big game of peace, she sure does mix together an abhorrent potion to return Alice to normal size. Despite repeatedly saying she represents good, I didn't see any evidence. Toes would have been crushed I'm sure, but the vibe from Anne's portrayal suggested that she wanted to be the calculating nemesis.

I can't tell you how stupid this movie made me feel. For some reason it figured a major plot point would be found in determining the identity of Alice. If you are seated in the theatre watching a film called Alice in Wonderland you will not be surprised to find that the lead character of Alice is indeed the very same mentioned in the title. Why we spend most of the film getting to this conclusion feels like an attempt to recreate Hook.

By the end you realize that Alice is the problem with Wonderland. In the 13 years she's been gone, her friends seem to be in good health despite the Red Queen reigning over the land. Why are they looking for her now? The Red Queen was in power this whole time and they seem to be in good shape, but when Alice gets there the queen challenges them. I suppose she's just as upset to have such a lifeless young girl in her land. I for one am disenchanted.
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The best "Wonderland" film I had seen
ja_kitty_7116 March 2010
Tim Burton is back! Along with his regular star, Johnny Depp, they both concocted this extension of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland (one of my favourite stories).

I saw the movie in 3D with my dad, and it was the second film my dad had ever seen in a theater. Also, it was the third 3D film I've seen. What I meant by the extension of the story is that we get to see a 19-year-old Alice returning to Wonderland (or "Underland," as it is called) after escaping a possible wedding engagement to some poop-a-doop-spoiled-brat snob, to end the Red Queen's reign of terror and restore the White Queen (who is the sister to the Red Queen) to the throne.

So anyway, I really love this film, and I love the film's musical soundtrack by Danny Elfman (Tim's regular composer). And it is truly the best "Wonderland" film I have ever seen.
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Movie Review: 'Alice in Wonderland' is a beautiful world to behold
d_art6 March 2010
Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland is a sequel and not a retelling of the original children's novels by Lewis Carroll. In this film, Alice is now 19-years old, and soon after the death of her father, is proposed to be married away. Feeling pressured, she runs off, following a white rabbit, which leads her to Wonderland, a place she only vaguely remembers from childhood. There, she meets past familiar faces as the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp), the Blue Caterpillar (Alan Rickman), the Cheshire Cat (Stephen Fry), and eventually the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter), who has been terrorizing the land with her harsh rule and beheading of heads. Alice finds out that her destiny is to end the Red Queen's rule by slaying the queen's dragon, Jabberwocky, as written in the prophesy. Along the way she meets up with all sorts of colorful characters.

If you remember, Steven Spielberg's Hook was the live action sequel to Peter Pan. Similarly, Tim Burton's film is very much like a close cousin, except it's about Alice. The progression of the story is also kind of similar, where the main character, Alice, like Peter, must rediscover herself and finally defeat her nemesis. Likewise, both films are both elaborately staged, they are both about growing up and making choices, and there's a big showdown. Chances are if one liked Hook, one will find many things to like about Alice.

Tim Burton's version of the Wonderland's environments are gorgeous, imaginatively created, lots of colorful details, and breathes life. The castles are sleek and intricately designed. The creatures are generally live versions (CG) of the Disney's previous animated version, and they're even more odder and fun to look at. I particularly loved the portrayal of the Chesire Cat in this film, and the way he snakes through midair like water feels very natural, although it wouldn't feel so natural in real life. Only complaint I may have in terms of visuals would probably be where we see CG versions of natural creatures like dogs--they're not particularly stylized so their CG-ness can be more noticeable.

Danny Elfman's score fits the environment just right, giving added intensity when needed. This film is essentially Tim Burton's playground and even if there wasn't any story, it still would be plenty of fun to just watch the loony characters in their environment. I will add that 3-D aspect of it helped a lot.

Johnny Depp plays the Mad Hatter with usual gusto, as he brings much energy and quirkiness to such an oddball character. I suppose there is a mix of Willy Wonka and Jack Sparrow in there somewhere. Given that other characters are mostly or completely CG, Johnny Depp's character can feel a bit of out of place, as he still feels human. Helena Bonham Carter as the big-headed (literally) Red Queen is fun, expressive, and extremely likable for such a short-tempered character. Mia Wasikowska is particularly noteworthy as Alice, which she plays with free-spirited pluckiness, charm, and beauty.

The story, admittedly, is a simple one, although it is to the story's credit that Alice is now an adult--it helps since many happenings in Wonderland can be quite unfriendly, bizarre, and grotesque. Thankfully, no more worries about some dream causing some lifelong trauma to some poor child. I also appreciated the fact that her Wonderland, like dreams, is an extension of her frustrations with the "real" world, where she felt she had many "expectations" from outside forces. At the same time, it's not like Where the Wild Things Are, where other characters are actually projections of real-life people from the main character's life. For example, to read Mad Hatter as an extension of her father feels a bit like a stretch, although the Red Queen could possibly represent her future mother-in-law since they both dislike animals. Certainly, one can merely enjoy it at face value and the creativity of this world and be fine with it.

Overall, I enjoyed this world of Alice. In one sense, that may be the important thing, if one were to stick to the flavor of the original novel. The story within the Wonderland, I felt, wasn't as poignant as "real life" moments, which were filmed with much love and detail. Given the fact that original story consisted of series of random events and character interactions, it was nice to see the characters work together a bit. The overall result isn't something beyond what one would expect from this style of work, but it's fun, and where it succeeds, it succeeds well, thanks to the consistency of Tim Burton's imaginative visuals. *** out of **** stars.

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Maybe the formula needs invigorating...
doibhlin3 March 2010
I attended the Cast and Crew screening on Sunday, in Leicester Square, with high hopes for this film as it's without doubt the most exciting job I've had. This was my first feature experience, and working for Tim Burton was a hell of a way to start.

But, even as someone with a lot of time for his films, and a pre-existing bias, I couldn't really connect with this. The cast acquit themselves well, especially considering the noted difficulty in emoting to a tennis ball on a stick, but all their tics and quirks seem to be masking a void at the centre of what should be a free-floating, evocative trip. Sure, it's weird looking, but we've seen it before, and back then in films like Edward Scissorhands it had a sense of purpose. Now we're left exploring a CGI wonderland that seems to be without a great deal of wonder. The book revels in its bizarre environs, absurd dialogue and whimsical characters. This film grounds them, drains them of that mystery and leaves us with a colourful but forgettable retread. It seems intent on driving us to a narrative conclusion that few people will have had much stake in through its running time, simply because we're not giving much to care for.

With a source material so familiar, even to those whose knowledge is second hand references, there needs to be a degree of innovation (as in Svenkmejer's dark stop-motion version, or the co-opting of Terry Gilliam in to his "Tideland" narrative), or else a studious and inspired adaptation that completely returns to Lewis Carroll. What we end up with is a mid-point that fails to get to grips with what enchants people about the Alice story, and another chance to see a beautiful waif walk around twisted, quasi-Gothic landscapes to a score by Danny Elfman.

Not that this isn't an enjoyable experience in itself, and as seen in the vast Screen 1 at the Empire it is at times breathtakingly pretty. It's just inessential, and while it may be unfair to expect a classic from a favoured filmmaker every time out, when they tackle something with the pedigree and history of Alice In Wonderland you can't help but hope for something special. And that's the problem, that Tim Burton, while he is still making decent films, has been a long way off special for some time now.

6/10 (if they gave half stars it'd be 6.5), but that doesn't mean it's a bad film. It's possible that my grade is affected by high expectations and lost potential. If you have kids, I'm sure it'll be better than 90% of the dross that passes for family films now. At least there is some artistry involved, and while he might not be at his best I'll still always pay to see a Tim Burton film (although I got this one for free...)
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Alice in blunder-land ( oh wait, that's not the real Alice!)
sashank_kini-115 March 2010
What a over-rated, self-indulgent movie. Right from the inclusion of Johnny Deep in a maddening avatar to Helena Carter as the tyrant witch witch an oblong head, Tim Burton yet makes another movie that is barely watchable and completely loony, in a bad way.

Mia Wasikowska stars or rather pales as Alice, devoid of emotion or interest. Her pale, frail look gets on one's nerves as she sleepwalks throughout the film, with an expressionless countenance that feels weakens the movie significantly. The scenes where she is supposed to be brave look rehearsed and forced. In fact, I and my friends got so bugged that we wanted her clothes to fall off so that she could create some stir in the audience!

Anne Hathaway, vibrant and exquisite in Rachel Getting Married, gives a superficial portrayal of the kind and loving White Queen. Poor soul is soulless in the movie as she tries hard to be Meryl Streep or Julie Andrews but falters. Why did Tim have to cast her for a role more suitable for an older actress? Though miscast, she at least tries to make a character of her own, unlike Mia, but looks robotic. In fact, she looked like a typical deceiving hag who would bear her fangs anytime. "Oh, she's wearing white! Symbolizes peace. She must be the good one" but unfortunately, she ends up getting wasted. And even though her performance is being berated by a number of viewers, I feel that she at least tries to get into her role. Wish she didn't look so hideous here!

Mad Hatter is played by the outlandish Johnny Depp but he too doesn't cast much impact in his half-baked role. None of the characters, including him, connects with the audience. None are very likable. I remember, in Chronicles of Narnia, where though the main four Britishers aren't versatile actors, but the supporting cast shines. Tilda Swinton was towering, tormenting and impactful. Aslan, though not a real character, still was very likable. Here, everyone is mundane and lifeless. Depp still tries to give his fullest but the dreary pace of the film outweighs him since his performance isn't groundbreaking or any of that sort. And I'm not a hater of Johnny or Tim Burton (loved Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, liked Timm's Batman, Johnny's What's eating Gilbert Grape?)

Helena plays the Red Queen in a quirky fashion that gets customary and monotonous. She plays the role differently though, not the traditional ones who are mostly staunch and resolute. Instead, she plays a role similar to Meryl Streep's in She-Devil, who gives herself too much airs. She is funny and redeeming for a while. Then she grates because she does the same act throughout the movie and makes her performance one-dimensional.

Crispin Grover is tolerable. Tweedledum and Tweedledee are neither funny nor likable, overbearing at times. The story is tedious and the animation prosaic. The real world characters are so full of themselves and don't supply anything to the movie. The final scene is a bit implausible and rushed.

Well, it was a long, long, unending journey in the theater for me. Certainly a huge disaster from a talented guy. 1 out of 10 stars and a thumbs down.
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Sylvie and Bruno Continued
tedg18 March 2010
I can usually find something to engage with and love in any film. It is a sort of challenge and promise to myself to do so -- as a choice in building a life. But this movie was a nadir in my adventure.

The Alice stories are special, special absolutely and special to me.

For many people, the stories are simply amusing nonsense for children, something to be fuzzily remembered in the same way as, say, Peter Pan or a Grimm's tale. But it is anything but. Carroll advanced our ability to speak to ourselves when he polished the story and sent it to us.

One can hardly expect someone like Burton, or anyone making a big budget Disney- distributed project to understand the material. But if you cannot understand the soul of what you are working with, you cannot leverage or extend it. You will need to count on your own talents instead. But Burton's strength is simple: the imposition of disordered fantasy on relatively ordered reality. He has exhausted this and was finished as an artist long ago.

By any measure other than color intensity, this is a failure as a movie. When Depp isn't given a complex structure to support, he can at least be amusing. Here, we have not even that.

What is normally considered nonsense sequences in the books are anything but. Dodgson was the foremost theory of logic in Europe at the time. Based in Oxford, he created the story for the child of the Dean, the creator of the then great Greek lexicon. Dodgson/Carroll was a master of the inadequacies of logic within the medium of everyday language.

All the "nonsense" sections are really a catalog of all the strange ways in which logic breaks when it encounters the way we linguistically form thoughts. Many of these parody assumptions Dean Liddell made in his understanding of Greek, mistakes that have saddled us with flawed scholarship on Aristotle and his logic. They are great, great fun: puzzles that even a 6 year old can laugh about.

This is where playful narrative originates. Only Shakespeare, Joyce and Lennon-NcCartney have had similar influence on our everyday thought. Karl Rove, for example, stands on the shoulders of Charles Dodgson's trickery.

None of this is conveyed. None, even though the Marx brothers made this safe territory for film humor.

Even the overall structure of the Alice stories is cool. Dodgson was not a pedophile, nor a drug addict, but he was something more dangerous to his soul. He was a charter member of Oxford's Psychical Society and a student of the inventor of mystical tarot, the self-named Court de Gebelin. The structure of the Alice stories, based on this, is our first structurally folded literature.

His ordination ruined by his guilt about this, he spent the remainder of his life writing a C S Lewis-like Christian allegory, Sylvie and Bruno to make amends. It was every bit as tepid and worthless as this. Every bit as wrong, as offensive to reality.

The movie also mixes in Jabberwocky. That was a poem written years earlier as a teen, to amuse his crotchety parson father, someone obsessed with the perversion of noble Saxon words by effete French. The poem is about the battle between true (Saxon) language and logical language.

(This comment is on the two-dimensional exhibition. I decided that the effects would be beowulf-like and cheaply distracting. I think I was right.)

Ted's Evaluation -- 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.
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Nothing Wonderful About This Wonderland
evanston_dad2 March 2011
Pretty terrible sequel of sorts to the famous Lewis Carroll story that finds Alice returning to Wonderland years after her first adventure to do battle with the Jabberwocky and end the reign of the tyrannical Red Queen.

A lot of money and some pretty decent actors are thrown up on the screen in a frenzy of special effects, production design and action sequences that are meant to distract us from how badly written and unengaging the whole thing is. Johnny Depp is given a large role as the Mad Hatter and does his standard weirdo routine for the umpteenth time. Alice is a black hole at the film's center, mostly because the actress who plays her is uber-bland. The only thing that occasionally roused me from my drowsy stupor was Helena Bonham Carter, who gives the film its only laughs as the Red Queen.

At one time I thought Tim Burton had the makings of a great filmmaker. I'm not so sure anymore.....

Grade: D
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Nothing Wonderful
Sniper0055334 March 2010
Adding a little bit of a background story and a few more characters to Alice's adventures didn't do as much as i thought it would for the story. Truthfully i wanted to love this movie, I'm a huge Tim Burton/ Johnny Depp fan. But this just didn't do it for me. I came out of the theater wondering if it were just the mediocre script or the director who had failed to meet my expectations. The best part of this movie is probably Johnny Depps portrayal of the mad hatter who truly is mad. However, Mia Wasikowska presents Alice in a dull manner that had me checking my watch every ten or fifteen minutes. Overall this film isn't awful, but at the same time its no masterpiece, for an interesting film to look at I suppose this would be an alright choice, however if you want a great story and compelling acting, you might want to check out something else, because this isn't the movie you're looking for.
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Alice in Blunderland
visforhendrix232 March 2010
I was able to catch a prescreening of Alice in Wonderland tonight on March 2nd. Despite some pretty nifty visuals, and jaw dropping set pieces, I found the movie to be incredibly dull, flat, and utterly full of itself. The film is merely a vehicle for Johnny Depp to showcase his talents, and he portrays the Mad Hatter as an actor who can't quite find the right shoes to fill in the role. He rotates from a Scottish brogue, to a feminine lisp, and staggers once in awhile as the unmistakable character of Captain Jack Sparrow. Where the visuals triumph, the story lacks. The proposed 'sequel' to Alice in Wonderland is literally a rehash of most of the finer points of the original, except a lot more Johnny Depp- a character who the audience is supposed to sympathize with and root for, but who i found a bit annoying and tiresome after awhile. The plot is fairly simple. Alice (the stone faced, newcomer Mia Wasisoska whose acting is limited to mildly concerned, mildly puzzled, and mildly agitated) flees from an arranged marriage proposal from a wealthy lord. She follows a curious white rabbit and tumbles down a hole into Underland, referred to as Wonderland by Alice. She then meets a variety of odd characters, most of them familiar from the original Alice. The plot is fairly simplistic, and a tad boneheaded. The Red Queen (Bonham Carter, slightly overdoing it, but arguably the best actor of the bunch) rules the land, but is pitted against the tiresome goodness and light of her sister, The White Queen (Hathaway doing an air-headed imitation of, you guessed it, Captain Jack Sparrow). Alice is destined by some ancient scroll to defeat the Jabberwocky and end The Red Queen's reign of terror. Alice boils down to mere eye candy-something that is visually pleasing, but is only a piece of fluff. If your a fan of Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, this movie is right up your ally. I prefer Burton at his best with movies that attempt to involve the audience like Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, and Big Fish. However, this bloated mess is sure to rank in hundreds of millions of dollars, but it tugs at our wallets rather than our hearts. It's a scary thought, but I hope that Burton's best work isn't behind him. 4/10
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some stunning visuals, clumsy writing
ericpendley5 March 2010
It is still worth the high price of the 3-D admission to see some of the amazing animation and design, but the writing is extremely boring and clumsy, and the performances cannot save it. Too many liberties were taken with the originals here, and in no way improve upon them, it only barely resembles either of Carroll's books in theme and some specific scenes. There are some "Disney moments" that literally set off a gag reflex as well.

The animation is quite stunning and wonderful though, as is the costuming and set design (in so much as there were sets and not just green screens, I'm sure SOME actual props were used). There are some clever elements that owe only to good visual design and direction I'm sure, as the only other clever bits in the dialogue were the parts directly lifted from the originals.
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Alice in Darkland
amethystwings3218 May 2012
I watched this movie, and it was pure Burton! Dreary and desolate, with undertones of dark humor. It wasn't your traditional tale, instead of Alice being a young girl who ends up in a whimsical Topsy turvy land ! Like in Lewis Carol's story, she is a young woman who was betrothed to a rich heir. Only to find herself in the vast wasteland , that once was "Wonderland"! Where everyone lived in fear of the large headed Queen of Hearts! Whose rein of terror

destroyed their every shred of happiness. So Alice's adventure was far from wonderful , along the way she encounters colorful unusual characters. A wise cracking cat, a mad hatter a skittish rabbit , and a warrior mouse! Not to mention monsters! Little did she know she would have to be their savior! I found it fun , and entertaining all the way through! I think my favorite character was the hatter ! He was quite comical and added a color to the gloom!
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The 21st century's Wizard of Oz
stevey-26 March 2010
For decades Tim Burton has had a unique vision of the world that's he's been trying to communicate in his movies. I knew 20 minutes into this one that I was watching his masterpiece; it's the culmination of everything he's been trying to say. He finally got everything right. This movie is flawless, delicate, and a perfect communion of his world view.

I knew halfway through the movie that it was the best I've seen in a decade, and by the end I knew it to be among the best cinematic experiences I've had in 40-odd years.

Watching the movie also gave me a twinge of sadness, because the more I loved the movie, the more I understood -- from experience, mind you -- that it was going to leave a lot of viewers bewildered and unhappy. Tim Burton is generations ahead of his time, and the closer he comes to showing us his true vision, the more people he alienates, leaving an ever-smaller core of aficionados who can be moved and astonished by the brilliance of that vision.

Johnny Depp obviously gets the vision. People who work time and again with Burton do so because they get *him*. And Depp gives a bravura, astonishingly subtle performance of an incredibly difficult character. It may have been his finest work to date. But the difficulty of the character will also confuse many people, and you're going to hear about it in the reviews.

The movie, like many of Burton's movies, pokes fun at precisely the kind of person who doesn't get this movie. People who've lost touch with the wonderment of their childhoods, people who are mostly concerned with what is fashionable and proper, dull people with little imagination and even less tolerance for it in others -- these people are caricatured in Alice, both in the "real world" at the party and again in the Red Queen's court.

Burton's Alice in Wonderland is a wonderful metaphor for the relationship between Burton and his audience. The theme of the movie is that a few people in the world -- "only the best people" -- still have boundless imagination and delight for the truly novel, while the rest of polite society thinks of them as being quirky, off-kilter, or simply embarrassing.

It will take years for this mess to get sorted out, of course. People will whine and moan and complain about it. In time they'll accept it. A generation from now this movie will be viewed as one of the best fantasies of our times: a 21st-century Wizard of Oz (to which Alice pays a brief homage at the end of the film.)

A word of advice: go re-read Lewis Carroll's two Alice stories before watching this movie. No Alice has ever been truer to the spirit of Carroll's strange, haunting and timeless vision.
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Alice against Lewis Carroll
WithoutPorpoise2 April 2010
I loved "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and remember it as an amazing and timeless adventure indeed. Alice wanders around in a world so enigmatic and unstable that you never know what will happen next, and what twist will put Alice in just new trouble, often unintentionally and tragically made worse by her own doing. Now this is all exactly what this movie does not have. After Alice arrives in the new 'underland', you will soon be in on the entire story: It is two sides, good against evil, and Alice is to slay a monster. Not a single second is unexpected. Nor are there any twists. (But even the first minutes are astonishingly wanting any concept: Scenes without any real characters rush by, there is no focus of attention in the opening.) But most of all, my understanding of then brand "Alice" is that she originally wanders around a dream land that confronts her with her own self, her anxieties, her shadowy anticipation that things will not be all nice and easy, all taking shape in landscapes, characters and events painted in dream-language. Of this essence, it should be no problem to create a movie that really leaves an impression - let alone, if Tim Burton is in the team. But there is nothing, nothing of this concept in this movie. Instead of joining a charismatic and mature character on the journey through her own dismal, natural instabilities that every one carries inside, the story here is already written, and Alice is only to follow marked footprints. For the only reason that... she is the one foretold to do it. There is merely the most silly 'hollywood-intellectualism', where 'good against evil' must be taken as, like, certainly some sort of metaphor representing all our everyday struggles, and it is so much about decision making and all... I'm devastated. Eventually, Tim Burton has added his potential for design to a movie completely without content. The only metaphor I see is Lewis Carroll appearing at the end in the figure of the Jabberwokie, and Alice, slaying him. Carroll is dead, long live 'Alice does Hollywood'.
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Wonderful, but only a visual masterpiece.
OwenAllaway26 February 2010
Disney presents Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland


Johnny Depp... as Willy Wonka, if Willy Wonka hadn't been Michael Jackson

Mia Wasikowska... as a winsome young lady Alice who discovers her inner fortitude

Crispin Glover... who doesn't dance, unfortunately

Helena Bonham-Carter... with a big head

Matt Lucas... as two Matt Lucases

Stephen Fry... who does actual voice acting and doesn't just read his lines

Paul Whitehouse... who against all my expectations, still does know how to be very funny

Alan Rickman... who nearly steals the movie, just by doing what he does best

Christopher Lee... who actually steals the movie with just two lines


Babs Mitchell-Windsor... playing a character her actual, real size

I can see why the they've not really wanted to call the film a proper sequel. It is that, being the story of a nineteen year old Alice who returns to barely-remembered Wonderland, but it also lifts dialogue and scenes from the original books. The story is your standard journey, emotionally, but all set in a very Tim Burton Wonderland.

Which, of course, looks astounding. Wonderland is an amazing place, often colourful, but equally often ravaged and desolate. It's a treat for the eyes, with the imagination and design shining through the technology. (It's very, very good, but strange things happen if you look somewhere the 3D doesn't want you to look and there's the odd moment of strangely stiff animation, especially when human(-like) characters are completely CGI-ed up.)

Unexpectedly, it sometimes feels like one of the Narnia films (though makes those movies look like accountant-led spreadsheets that have been printed out on toilet paper and left out in the rain), but mainly it's exactly what you'd expect from Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. It's a great big treat of a movie, to be sure. Given that it's Tim Burton working with Disney, it's often gruesome and scary, but not too much. It makes you laugh at times, it pins you to the back of your seat at others, it gets you leaning forward trying to drink in every detail of the place, but it's not ever actually surprising. You know what's up, you know where things are going and you're never shocked. (Maybe once, in a quiet, horrible scene that stands out, even amongst the rest.) Even if you've not seen a single still photo or second of footage, if you know Wonderland and you know Tim Burton, you can picture it yourself effortlessly.

So much of it is still in my head this morning, but it's all visual. There's no heartache or sense of triumph that lingers after a great story. Funny as it is, there's only one line I'm ever likely to quote (a single word). I just have these amazing images left in my brain. In that sense, then, it's appropriately dream-like.

I doubt I'll go back and watch it again at the cinema, but I'm most definitely getting the Blu- Ray when it comes out next week, or whenever Disney decided they should bring it out.

If it feels like I've damned it with faint praise, I don't intend to. It's all pretty wonderful for the two hours it takes to speed past you, but I just want to make it clear - nothing that goes into your ears or your heart ever quite matches what goes into your eyes.
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It's a mad mad mad good world
C-Younkin5 March 2010
Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland" is actually a sequel of sorts (think Steven Spielberg's "Hook", only much better) which again sees Alice go down the rabbit hole but imagines it in a completely different way. Linda Woolverton's script is like a blending of Lewis Carroll's books with "Lord of the Rings", which is actually a bit like "Chronicles of Narnia", only much darker and more eccentrically fun. Enough with the comparisons! What I'm trying to say is "Alice in Wonderland" brings an excitement to the fairytale that I've not seen in a long time. Mia Wasikowska does a superb job as Alice, now a teen being forced into marriage. She runs off and falls down the rabbit hole and into a strange world of talking rabbits, caterpillars, and Tweedle-dees and Tweedle-Dums. There are also dangerous creatures as well, like a humongous dragon that Alice is prophesized to fight in order to save wonderland. The evil Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) has taken over wonderland from her sister, the White Queen (Anne Hathaway), and plunged it into darkness. The Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) has taken this especially hard and gone a bit loco (more so I guess). Is this all a dream? Has Alice been here before? Alice eventually must learn to come into her own as a hero and help the white queen and the other creatures beat the Red Queen or all will be lost, starting with their heads. This is thrilling stuff made predictably better by Burton and his production team. This is a wonderland scorched black by evil that still manages to keep a Gothic beauty (the make-up and costume design is perfect), a disturbing darkness (the red queen's castle is surrounded by a lake filled with dead heads) and eccentricity (the red queen's abnormally huge head and little body was a favorite of the characters). The cast is also game. Depp gives a surprisingly sweet-natured performance that erratically shifts into a crazy little giggle or Scottish accent on occasion, but he is wisely made a supporting player here. Wasikowska is the real find, as the conflicted and spirited Alice, probably one of the best female heroines to come around in a while. Hathaway is pure elegance as the white queen and Bonham Carter seems to be having the most fun as the queen of mean. It's also nice to see Crispin Glover, doing what he does best as the red queen's sinister henchman. Burton again makes the fairy-tale his own. I loved it.
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Maybe it's time for Burton and Depp to find themselves new friends.
EijnarAmadeus6 March 2010
Watching Tim Burton's ALICE IN WONDERLAND was a lackluster experience, and stands for now as probably the most charmless film the director's made. Plotted as a semi-sequel to the original story, Alice (Mia Wasikowska) returns several years after her first visit down the rabbit-hole to Wonderland where she meets up with plenty of adventurous creatures who remembers her. Sadly, Wonderland is all scattered between the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter lending her voice and her face on a huge animated head) and the White Queen (Anne Hathaway), and Alice is the only one able to get things right by dueling the Red Queen's vicious dragon Jabberwocky. Out of all the creatures Alice encounters (and at a certain time it feels like there's too many to handle), none of them are especially funny or amusing, and the film falls fatally when the plot turns page after page and gets rhythmically less and less interesting before it finishes with a incredibly dull climax. There's no further interest in character than fine costume and make-up (or in most cases, mediocre animations), and ironically on the occasion that the Mad Hatter's (Johnny Depp) past is revealed, it ruins his loony and screwy characteristics by humanizing him. I watched it in terrible and irritating 3D (this will be the last time), and were given a neat surprise when removing the 3D-glasses to find the entire screen blurry and off-colored, which seemed closer to author Lewis Carroll's hallucinatory vision than Tim Burton ever got.
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Has anyone seen white rabbit with clock here?
favmov19 March 2010
After watching this movie I don't want to live in this world anymore. I love Tim Burton's movies and this one wasn't disappointment. The cast was great. Everyone played, they weren't just grimacing. Helena Bonham Carter was great as always. Mad hatter was something, his lines were witty and his dance was the funniest thing ever. Every character is special. I liked this Alice, she's strong, smart and modern. And every time I saw the cat I wanted to be there to hug it. I was worried that Disney would spoil this movie, but I was wrong this is absolutely Burton's movie. The landscapes will make you forget about everything you saw before. Atwood's costumes are beautiful, they fit the characters same is the make-up. If you like fairy tales don't miss Alice In Wonderland.
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Far from frabjous.
BA_Harrison5 April 2010
Alice in Wonderland is another big budget exercise in eccentricity for eccentricity's sake from the team of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, an overindulgent and unnecessary retelling of the Lewis Carroll tale full of the director's trademark Gothic grandeur and featuring another kooky performance from the top billed star designed to further his appeal with disaffected loners and weirdos (don't be offended: I include myself in those categories).

Help is also on hand from pretty but wooden Mia Wasikowska as Alice, assorted well regarded thesps, a handful of cult names from the world of British TV, and of course, Burton's wife, Helena Bonham-Carter, whose weak impression of Queenie from Black Adder II is sadly the best performance of the whole film.

The clumsy narrative, which focuses heavily on elements from the nonsense poem The Jabberwocky, rarely engages the viewer in a satisfactory manner, achieving neither suspense, tension, excitement or, perhaps most notably, a sense of wonder; instead, the story plays second fiddle to the polished CGI visuals, which offer up the usual, tired, trippy imagery associated with the stories, but fail to either add anything new or make full use of the 3D technology (Wonderland looks positively flat in comparison to Cameron's alien world in Avatar).

Not quite as bad as Burton's re-imagining of Planet of the Apes (thank heavens), but still a long way from the genius on display in Pee Wee's Big Adventure, Beetlejuice and Mars Attacks (hey, I like it, so there!), Alice in Wonderland must have looked like the perfect project for all involved but the finished product is unlikely to have anyone grinning like the Cheshire cat.

Oh, and anyone who that thinks Crispin Glover needs digitally altering to look creepy is seriously misguided.
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A crazy delight from the master of inventive and creative film-making.
zactac15 March 2010
Alice in Wonderland is one of those movies which shows Tim Burton still has what it takes to survive the world of cinema filled with huge special effects and action in almost every movie. It has the usual dark tone which is seen in just about every movie Tim Burton makes while also being a fun and creative kind of crazy (even for Alice in Wonderland).

I guess you could say it was kind of a sequel to the story of Alice in Wonderland we've all heard. It's been 13 years since Alice has been in Wonderland, she is now 19 and thinks that Wonderland was a nightmare she had as a little girl. Like her father she is a thinker of things that seem impossible. Alice is being told what to do by everyone to where it seems that her voice has no matter in her own life. After being proposed to by a man she has no feelings for she once again falls down the rabbit hole. When in Wonderland she learns that there are many things she has to do to try and stop the Red Queen's reign of terror once and for all. She meets up with some of her old friends along with new on this amazing new concept for the classic story.

Burton has done it again with Alice in Wonderland. There many very talented actors playing roles that are almost perfect for them. Even though I haven't seen it in 3D I already know that it would be a lot of fun to see it that way from what I saw from the 2D version. This is one of those Tim Burton movies that you would just love to see over and over again with the fun characters, amazing special effects and great battle sequences, Burton has done it once again.
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Alice with a twist...
paul_haakonsen15 January 2011
Finally gotten around to see the new interpretation of "Alice In Wonderland" and with Tim Burton at the helm nonetheless. I had really high expectations for the movie...

...and now I sit here with a slight feeling of disappointment.

Why? Well the movie in itself was a typical Burton movie, with his unique style, touch of finesse, and impressions of the bizarre and remarkable. But somehow the movie just didn't leave that much of a lasting impression with me.

The scenery, sets and everything were what you expect of a Burton movie, twisted, dark, bizarre and absurd. And I love that, he has a very distinct touch and sense of detail. That makes all his movies unique in their own way.

The cast list was amazing, simply amazing. Of course it was Johnny Depp, as the Mad Hatter, who carried this movie, and his performance of this character was phenomenal. He always delivers a top notch performance no matter what. And Helena Bonham Carter, as the Red Queen, well she was good as well, something oddly crude about her performance in this movie, but it worked quite nicely. And of course Crispin Glover, as Stayne, he was also quite good in the movie. Alan Rickman was really well cast for a voice acting role, he has a very good and distinct voice. Now, I read that some didn't enjoy Mia Wasikowska in the role of Alice, I did however, find her to be quite enjoyable. She has a very serene and innocent radiance, and Burton managed to paint that out so well on the screen.

The CGI animations and effects in the movie were, of course, off the roof. The animated creatures were very real and life-like. And everything was just loaded with small details.

Tim Burton's re-invention of a classic is a good movie, and if you are a fan of his previous work, I am sure you will like this one as well. Now, I said that I was a bit disappointed, I guess it was because I had really high expectations to this movie. "Alice in Wonderland" is far from a bad movie, so don't get me wrong here. And it is good to see someone take classics and tell them again with a warped sense to it.

Oh, and the dance scene with Johnny Depp, well personally I think that was one scene that should have been either left out of the final cut, or have been shot in a complete other way. It didn't go well with me at all.

Great entertainment, but for me personally, this is hardly a movie that I will be picking up to watch again at a later time.
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Visually Astonishing Movie
claudio_carvalho13 June 2010
In her engagement party, the indecisive nineteen year-old Alice Kingsleigh (Mia Wasikowska) is proposed in a gazebo in front of the guests by the snobbish and arrogant nobleman Hamish (Leo Bill). Before giving the answer, Alice sees a strange rabbit and escapes, falling down through a hole in a magic world called Underland. After drinking and eating magic potions to reduce her height, Alice meets animals that can talk and the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp). Alice helps the good White Queen (Anne Hathaway) to defeat her evil and tyrannic sister Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) and returns a more confident teenager.

"Alice in Wonderland" is a visually astonishing movie with a deceptive story. The lead character is confused and indecisive and her change in the end is at least weird. My vote is six.

Title (Brazil): "Alice no País das Maravilhas" ("Alice in the Wonderland")
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Tim's Ego
apache6723 March 2010
And yet again Tim Burton's ego gets in the way as it did with Willy Wonka seriously thinking that he can improve an age old classic by replacing what he refers to as a mere series of events a little girl stumbles through, with a trite paint by numbers good versus evil story a la: Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Chronicles of Narnia, Golden Compass. He leaves out the magic of the books, the cutting wit, the Topsy turvy absurdity which make the stories so special and a little girl called Alice who's precocious cleverness is way beyond her years. It is not about stifling a director's artistic vision (which every artist has a right to) or reworking of the story but the mere greed and egotistical ambitiousness with which he went after this project, clearly to fatten his pockets. Poor Lewis Carrol is rolling in his grave.
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