I’ve never reviewed a film like this before, I was trying my best to stay away from doing anything remotely Disney related but I haven’t posted anything in a while, I had to watch this film because of a college project and at the end of the day, it is Tim Burton!
So here you go, would love to hear feedback as always, thanks for all your support so far!
Alice In Wonderland Film Review
Lewis Carroll; the author of the original story ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ has been credited to be one of the most prestigious authors of all time when it comes to engaging literary audiences of all ages. Just like Tim Burton; the director of ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ has been, with the eclectic films he’s made over the many years of his outstanding and established career.
So Burton directing a story written by Carroll had no chance of not being a cinematic sensation. Combining the respective artists visions and a lot of Burton’s own visual interpretations, this film is an adventure where your imagination cannot possibly hope to ‘find its feet’ from the moment you fall down the rabbit hole.
Although the films plot within ‘Wonderland’ does stay fairly true to Carroll’s story the theme of the film is more mature. The script written by Linda Woolverton (known for her screenwriting on films like Beauty And The Beast and The Lion King) brings out a different theme that’s new to Wonderland but frankly, old and dated to cinematic story telling as a whole. It’s all about a girl’s journey into womanhood, growing up, becoming an individual and the old cliché ‘finding your destiny’.
However, the plots predictability and lack of curve balls surprisingly doesn’t harm the film too badly overall. The most varied group of cinematic revolutionaries ease Alice’s story along with humor and shock, from Jonny Depp’s schizophrenic ‘Hatter’ and Alan Rickman’s hookah-smoking ‘Blue Caterpillar’ to the mischievous illusionist Cheshire Cat (Stephen Fry) this group of strange and wonderful creatures that introduce themselves throughout the film make the Fellowship Of The Ring look like old news.
Before the journey into Wonderland, a very weak framing device introduces the film – Alice flees her own surprise engagement party when she is told she must wed an irritating aristocrat (with bowel problems) – this part of the story doesn’t feel like it flows at all and the whole thing feels uncomfortably forced. Fortunately things promptly perk up with the first appearance of Michael Sheen’s ‘White Rabbit’. After thoughtlessly following ‘White Rabbit’ down the rabbit hole and experiencing the consequences of eating and drinking questionable looking potions and cakes, the audience and Alice are introduced to some of the most memorable oddballs in literature. Not all the characters from the story make an appearance, sadly ‘Mock Turtle’, ‘Humpty Dumpty’, ‘The Walrus’ and ‘The Carpenter’ are all missing, but not always necessarily missed.
As is typical of a post 1999 Tim Burton film Helena Bonham Carter and Jonny Depp both have a big part to play! Carter’s dictatorial ‘Red Queen’ is shocking and fun; her comically enlarged head atop her diminutive body makes you smirk every time you see her in full. Depp’s costume is as eccentric as always, with a bright orange wig, huge yellow-green cat’s eyes and a gap tooth smile he looks almost unrecognizable until he begins to act, adding in Depp’s identifiable and inescapable charm, he subliminally manipulates the audience into seeing him as more of a romantic hero than a lunatic.
The rest of the cast is surprisingly almost all British! The voice cast includes Stephen Fry and Alan Rickman who I have already mentioned, Barbra Windsor an agitated Dormouse, Sir Christopher Lee the ‘Jabberwocky’, Timothy Spall as loyal royal bloodhound ‘Bayard’ and Matt Lucas digitally doubled into the chatterbox twin Tweedles, Dum and Dee. Why all these British names were cast into such a Hollywood blockbuster that isn’t Harry Potter I can’t confirm. I’d like to think that it is a casting ‘tip of the hat’ towards Carroll, the original British mastermind behind the immersive Wonderland, that has been visited over nineteen times in cinematic form, four times in comic book publishing’s and countless times in the theatre.
This film was shot in 2D and was later reworked to be able to be shown in 3D as well. I have to admit I didn’t go to see this film at the cinema at all, I’ve just finished watching it at home on a DVD for a college project I’m about to undertake, about an hour ago before I started writing this review. So if like me, you didn’t see it at the cinema and are unsure whether or not you want to see it at all I will simply say this as a short verdict that doesn’t reiterate everything I have already said – This film is well worth a watch if you like Tim Burton’s films and or especially ones featuring Jonny Depp, if you do watch it, which you should I recommend you try and do so on a HD or Blu Ray copy so that you can truly appreciate the films remarkable CGI and special effects, as well as the imagination behind the original story Lewis Carroll wanted told.