Saturday, March 20, 2010

Alice in Wonderland

A lot of movie reviewers have skewered Alice in Wonderland, Tim Burton's latest movie, claiming the film has very little plot, no emotional impact. While I have to agree to those two comments, I thoroughly disagree with the conclusion. Alice in Wonderland is charmingly funny, curious and curiouser, and definitely worth watching.

No small amount of credit should be given to actor Johnny Depp for making this happen. His Hatter is an interesting character, intriguing because you think he's mad, right? but he's not. He has a plan. And he talks Alice into pursuing it with him. In the end, the Hatter is a hero, an action hero. Who would've thought that was coming?

The 3D is not as good as Avatar, but that doesn't seem to matter much. At the end of the movie, I realized that I didn't notice the 3D effect at all, except for an occasional scene, like the one where the Dormouse stands in perfect, three-dimensional proportion to everyone else in the scene. Brilliant.

Some of the best part of the movie is what we see in the beginning and then at the end: Alice in the real world, and her struggles to be understood and accepted. This background story for Alice bookends the action, most of which concerns the Red Queen (played by Helena Bonham Carter), who's been cursed with a bulbous head, and her evil cohort, played so sleasily by Crispin Glover (the Back to the Future dad and Charlie's Angels' enemy). So cleverly does Burton show us this world, where the Queen's court consists of characters who must show some ugly benefit in order to serve Her Majesty. Otherwise, it might be "Off with their heads!"

Great fun. I highly recommend it. And this portrayal adds to Depp's long list of memorable characters.

Thumb's up.


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