Thursday, March 4, 2010
I was invited last Tuesday to the press screening of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, and i loved it! The movie is released today in the U.S as well as in the UK and Ireland, is already released in Germany and will be released in France March 24.
One of the most important thing when you go to watch a movie is probably to have the right mental image, i.e to don't await of it something that doesn't exist. As all of you are Disney fans who probably have seen the Disney animated there is a danger to compare this new live version to the 1951 version, which obviously would be a big mistake. Also, if you've read Lewis Caroll's books - "Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass" - you have to know that more than a strict adaptation of Caroll's books the movie was done from an original script written by Linda Woolverton.
So, let's put it this way: no, Tim Burton's version of Alice in Wonderland is not a "candy" adaptation of Lewis Caroll's famous tale. However, Lewis Caroll's Alice in Wonderland is a world where Imagination "have the power" and it's totally the case in Burton's movie. The "spirit" of Alice in Wonderland is there and it's all what matters. And yes, you will find back all Alice's famous characters whether it is the White Rabbit, the Mad Hatter, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, the Blue Caterpillar, the Cheschire cat, the Red Queen, etc... and all of them are just as odd, crazy, lunatic as they were in the Disney animated or, more simply, in the original tale.
BUT, as it is a Tim Burton's movie, Alice's "Wonderland" is also a place that can be uncertain, dangerous, although not nightmarish. Which on a certain point of view is logical as there is no reason why a world with such mad characters would be reassuring, right? However, the movie is not too "dark" and have a lot of funny scenes so if you have young children who are at least seven years old you can bring them to watch Alice in Wonderland, they will probably love it.
The other important thing to know, and it's not really a spoiler, is that it's more a "Return to Wonderland" as Alice, now almost 20 years old and on the point to get married with a young British lord - that's the opening sequence - went previously to Wonderland when she was seven. Although she don't remember it really, since her first trip she regularly had nightmares, and it's fair to say that her subconscious is still impregnate of all the strange characters she met when she was a child... Until this fateful day on which Alice, once again, will fall inside the tree hole and will be back to Wonderland.
I don't want to tell you more about the story line itself to don't spoil anything but what i can say is that technically and artistically speaking the movie is gorgeous. Wonderland looks really like a place out-of-this-world with giant mushrooms and flowers which can talk but also amazing creatures - all CGI animation is perfect, special award for the white rabbit, although all of them whether it is the March Hare, the Cheshire Cat, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, the Blue Caterpillar, The Dodo Bird or the Jabberwocky are really great.
The casting, too, is perfect. Johnny Depp is playing the Mad Hatter with all his genius and probably nobody else could have played it so well. The young Mia Wasikowska who plays Alice have the right ingenuousness and Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway respectively playing the red and white queen are very good too. Interesting to note also the "voices" of talented actors like Alan Rickman - the voice of the Blue Caterpillar - or the great Christopher Lee - the voice of the frightening Jabberwocky.
The movie is released in 3D and what a great 3D! Generally in live action movies they use the 3D to give more dephts or an immersive feeling - this was the case with James Cameron's Avatar - but they try to avoid "pop-up" effects. One of the reason is that directors try to avoid that the movie looks like a theme park attraction. But here, in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland it's not the case: the 3D is used to give more depths but you will also enjoy some great pop-up effects all done elegantly and with a perfect timing.
I, personally, think that "Alice" should be very successful at the box-office - not as Avatar, of course, but Avatar is the "exception that confirms the rule" - and i'm pretty sure that children of all ages will love it. So, if you live in the U.S, in the U.K, in Ireland or Germany go to see Alice this week-end - and in 3D! - as for all the reasons explained above Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland is an extremely enjoyable movie. And to tell the truth, i loved it so much that when the end credits appeared i already wanted to see it again!
Let us know in the comments if you've liked it or not!
All pictures: copyright Disney