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4.2 out of 5 stars
Alice in Wonderland [Blu-ray]
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35 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2011
Format: Blu-rayVerified Purchase
We recently purchased a 3D TV and have started buying movies for it. This is the best I have found so far with great 3D effects and a good story line and good acting.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 2010
Format: Blu-ray
I was totally disinterested in seeing this movie until I saw the preview at the El Capitan. Visually, this movie had me hooked immediately! Lush (yet dark), detailed, and full of wonderful imagery, it was a feast for the eyes. The movie itself didn't disappoint, and neither did this blu-ray version. Rather than retell the previously oft-filmed tale, Burton picks up where the other two Lewis Carroll tales ended and gives us an exploration of Alice's emotional state as she transitions from childhood to adulthood. Alice's father has passed on, and she is about to be proposed to by an extremely nerdy (but wealthy) Lord. Unsure that this is the future that she wants, escapes the engagement party by following the white rabbit and promptly falling into a rabbit hole to find herself in Underland. Much darker than the Wonderland we are used to, Underland is held hostage by the evildoings of The Red Queen. Waiting for Alice to find her "muchness" and rescue it, The Mad Hatter and The White Queen have waited a long time for her to return. Will Alice be up to the task of leading The White Queen's Army to save Underland?

It is a lot of fun along the way with fantastic performances by the Tim Burton troupe of actors that you usually find in his flicks: Johnny Depp (a perfectly fresh interpretation of The Mad Hatter, thus redeeming himself from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), Helena Bonham Carter (practically steals the show as The Red Queen), Crispin Glover (characteristically dark, quirky, and evil as The Knave of Hearts), and Anne Hathaway (showing her acting versatility as The White Queen). With all of the talent surrounding her, it is a testimony to the talent of Mia Wasikowska (Alice) that she is able to act without getting swallowed up and upstaged by the others.

There are plenty of special effects and computer graphics here, but the fantastic part is that one only notices the beauty of the film and the wonderfully wacky characters. The mood of the film is enhanced by the music of Danny Elfman.

As for the quality of the blu-ray transfer, it is superb. Just as in the theater, the computer graphics are well rendered and the picture is rich (albeit dark because of the tone of the film) and the sound is rich and robust.

3-Disc Combo Pack comes with Blu-ray with feature and extras, a DVD copy with feature and extras, and a Digital Copy of Feature Film.

SPECS:
Video: 1080p High Def 1:78.1
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (48Hz/24-bit); English 2.0 DVS, French & Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround * Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

BONUS FEATURES (Video: 1080p High Def or 480i * Audio: English 5.1 or 2.0 Dolby Digital * Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish)

Sneak Previews: Tinker Bell promotes the Blu-ray format, Disney Movie Rewards ad, Beauty & The Beast Diamond Edition (Blu-ray), James & The Giant Peach Special Edition (Blu-ray), Fantasia Diamond Edition (Blu-ray), Disney Parks ad, Family Blu-ray & Combo Packs Ad, The Sorcerer's Apprentice with Nic Cage trailer, Tinker Bell & The Great Fairy Rescue, and an Anti-Smoking ad!

Featurettes:

Although not overly long, they were a fantastic look into the making of the film, with all of the major participants being interviewed, including Johnny Depp, Crispin Glover, Danny Elfman, and the rest of the gang.

Wonderland Characters (27:56)

1. Finding Alice: Talks about Alice's emotional journey as she learns to embrace her courage and matures into womanhood.

2. The Mad Hatter: Depp talks about how The Mad Hatter has been frozen in time, waiting for Alice to return. Interesting to hear how he developed his characterization. Both he and Burton independently made sketches of how they thought the character should look. Very cool to see them side-by-side!

3. The Futterwacken: This is the one part of the movie I thought was lame. Still, the guy who did the dance for Depp (yup, just found out it wasn't Depp who actually danced in the movie! As he states, "Another man futterwacked for me!") is very talented. He was found through a clip on Youtube!

4. The Red Queen: Carter obviously relished this role (even though she lost her voice daily from the loudness of her character). The combination of villainy and childlike petulance actually makes her somewhat endearing, and she pulls it off marvelously. Carter also loved the props--the glasses, the scepter. These were actual props (not CG) that helped her with her characterization.

5. Time Lapse: Sculpting the Red Queen: 3 hours each day in the makeup chair! See it all come together.

6. The White Queen: Hathaway's performance was an unexpected treat. Depp states, "She made me jealous--I wanted to play the White Queen." Burton let Hathaway show a little darkness and "explore the off-side of someone who is supposed to be good." Hathaway herself says that her character is "A little ditsy, but very clued in--kind of a Norma Desmond thing."

Making Wonderland (19:28)
1. Scoring Wonderland: Danny Elfman collaborates again with Tim Burton (for about the 12th time). You'll want to listen closely to the music on the next viewing after listening to Elfman talk about how and why he created some of the eerie vocal choruses in the film.

2. Effecting Wonderland: Tim Burton relates how the cast had to feel like they were in the real AND the unreal world. Really amazing what a fantastic job all the actors did, especially considering that many of the costumes, sets, and more were done post-production on the computer. The film is a melding of CG, motion capture, and live action. Interesting to see how the Red Queen's head is enlarged. This is all way beyond my comprehension of how they figured it out and then kept track of all this stuff!

3. Stunts of Wonerland: Garrett Warren (stunt coordinator) discusses how he read the script and had to break down each scene into what would need stunts and how they would be done. Shows green-screen filming of Mia as Alice as she tumbles down the rabbit hole.

4. Making The Proper Size: Tells of the frustration experienced by Mia when having to be different sizes in the film, acting towards different site lines since most of the size change was done post-filming on a computer.

5. Cakes of Wonderland: Made by the Cake Divas (Joan Spitler and Leigh Grode), even this tiny detail was given much attention. They researched and then baked items that would be found at a Victorian Tea Party. The table had to be reset 12 times! And yes, the "Eat Me" cake was truly edible, as Alice had to bite into it for filming 32 times.

6. Tea Party Props: details the decor on the Mad Hatter's tea party. The look is inspired by what one would expect at a wartime tea or the great depression. Much work had to go into this scene, as 3 of everything had to be made in addition to breakaway pieces for the destruction. In all, there were about 150 pieces to manage and keep track of.

OVERALL: HIGHLY recommended!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2011
Format: Blu-rayVerified Purchase
Directed by Tim Burton, starring Johnny Depp. Two of the best, this 3D version of a sequel to Alice in Wonderland (not a remake) is great! If you have a 3d TV this is a must have. I have also seen it in 2D (very good). The melding of animation and live action is nearly flawless and highly enjoyable, the 3d effects are superb. This is entertainment at it's best and I highly recommend it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on July 9, 2010
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Twas brillig and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe: All mimsy were the borogoves, And the mome raths outgrabe.
Well, here is one good rendition on Lewis Carroll's works. The book was one of our favourites, and still is. Though this is a
newer twist, it still is Wonderland. Darker, maybe, but that is how Carroll's books were too.

This was not too harsh for our daughter, who was entranced with it until the Hatter did a dance on "frabjous day," with a bit of rock in the background. The Tweedles were actually quite right. The Hatter is supposed to be mad, and did a good job of it. No other Alice in Wonderland will give you the Jaberwocky as this rendition does. None will give you the Jubjub bird or the frumious Bandersnatch as this one does. The Dodo bird, and others. What else do we say then?

We enjoyed it, even though there were many negative things written about it. Even though we were dubious about it prior to
viewing. We were in for a shocking treat, captivated by it through and through. May or may not be suitable for
everyone, due to some fearful Jaberwocky and other very dark scenes. Then again, your child may like it, as did our nine
year old. Please, read the book. Then you will find the Jaberwocky, Jubjub bird, and Bandersnatch etc. Great job!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I have never been a fan of Alice in Wonderland (Disney), so I was a bit hesitant to watch this. However, being a fan of Tim Burton's bizarre movies, I thought I would give it a chance. I am glad that I did. I agree with others who have commented that this should be called 'Return to Wonderland'. However, as a SPOILER, this is part of how the story develops in the movie.
The girl who plays Alice really plays the part well and brings Alice to life as she comes to grips with what everybody expects her to be, what she is to do, etc. Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter is role that I would expect him to play in a Burton film. Other casting was also carried out rather well - Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen was perfect! Anne Hathaway as the White Queen may not have been the best match, but she plays the flaky part okay.
The special effects are very nice without looking fake as most of the CGI in today's movies comes across. Most of it was shot on green screen. Personally, I didn't notice it.
I would give this movie 4.5 stars if possible. It wasn't the absolute best Burton movie, but it definitely is better than some of his other works (James and the Giant Peach). If you like Burton, give this a chance (even if you don't like Alice in Wonderland).

Addendum:
I originally gave this movie 4 stars. I am modifying this review to 5 stars. There are a number of Burton movies that have grown on me over time. A good example is Nightmare before Christmas. When I first saw it, I thought "that was good". Over time, started to really like Nightmare and bought in on VHS and later, DVD. Alice is the exact same way. I rented it from Redbox at first and thought it was better than I expected. I have since bought the DVD and watched it a couple more times. Like Nightmare, Alice has really grown on me. I like Mia Wasikowska as Alice. She really grows that part from the pushed around Alice to the stronger, more assured Alice. Johnny Depp is very convincing as the Mad Hatter. If Burton movies hit you like they do me, you should give this a try. Mind you, there are a few Burton movies that never grew on me such as Edward Scissorhands and James and the Giant Peach.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
Fearing that another classic would be mangled, I went apprehensively, especially since I am not a huge Tim Burton fan. I thoroughly enjoyed it! It is not a retelling of the classic, but rather a sequel. Most of the characters are there, and handled with a wonderful new hand, in a wonderland that is, well... wonderful. The tale itself is largely based on the poem "Jabberwocky" expanded to story length of course. Beneath the obvious story, it is rich with archetypes and, of course, The Heroes Journey, which is alway an inspiring classic when well told. And this IS well told, helped along by a long lingering question, "What ever happened to Alice?" I found myself telling others about it and so, months later, I find myself needing to buy it to share with friends who love a good story.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format: Blu-ray
I had heard mixed reviews about this, but I don't know why. This is a phenomenal piece of work that I thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish. It's a wild adventure, far wilder than the cartoon and it's far more than just a re-telling. It ties together the land of fantasy and real life and wraps it up with a powerful, positive, uplifting message. One of my favorite lines in this film is "You look like Alice, but you've lost your much-ness." That is a profound thought! How many of us have grown older and lost our "much-ness". I've watched this several times now and my view has stayed the same. I totally love this film. It is totally Tim Burton, but it is also totally Lewis Carol. Disney is an after-thought.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 2010
Format: Blu-rayVerified Purchase
If you don't expect the traditional story, this movie is a delight. Very well-acted, the story is interesting and moves along nicely, and the world that Burton creates is visually inventive, interesting, and at times stunning. Burton can be way too quirky, but here, he swings for and achieves his home run.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Format: Blu-ray
For this journey down the rabbit hole, Tim Burton is the driver and Johnny Depp the tour guide. Several film versions of Lewis Carroll's two "Alice" books have been released almost since the beginning of the 20th century. By and large, they have not been box office successes, though Walt Disney's 1951 animated feature has become perhaps the most iconic (I also like the 1933 Paramount film, the 1972 British musical film, the 1966 TV special of Through the Looking Glass, all on DVD, and the Hanna-Barbera 1966 special, which I wish was on DVD.)

Disney's new big screen version of Tim Burton's vision of Alice in Wonderland, or "Underland," gives us Johnny Depp once again creating an original persona to our sheer amazement, This film is the first mega-hit movie version of Alice ever, hitting the 1 billion dollar mark worldwide. It's a testament to Johnny Depp's astronomical star power within the right vehicle. It has also been accomplished not only through Burton's artistry, but Linda Woolverton's screenwriting (she penned Disney's Beauty and the Beast, after all).

But they also had to change the story to make it work as a movie. Every filmmaker has struggled with the Carroll texts because, like dreams, they are random experiences with no arc. Walt Disney was the most successful, in my view, at staying faithful to the story without adding an arc (and Walt's artists' vision of the rabbit hole is still the best of all time).

What was done with the 2010 Alice in Wonderland was to make it a revisit, of sorts, with Alice at marrying age and at a crossroads in life. This is her second Wonderland visit, to bring her confidence and direction. It's probably the most re-defined and altered story arc of any Alice adaptation to date (in the excellent Hallmark TV miniseries, Alice is afraid to recite a poem and the Wonderland characters give her moral support).

Alice, in this version, is a bit like the Pevensie children in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe -- sent by a prophetic destiny to rid the kingdom of an oppressive, deadly leader. The characters are given names (which my son loves: "It's not the White Rabbit, Daddy, he's McTwisp!"). Elements of the Carroll narrative (the rabbit hole, "drink me," etc.) are still here, but eventually the new adventure takes hold and the film becomes an action fantasy.

By the time Alice, the Mad Hatter and the Dormouse reach the Queen's castle, they've become a team more in the style of L. Frank Baum than Carroll -- in fact, I expected Alice to tell the Hatter "I'm going to miss you most of all." She even says a line similar to "and you were there, and you and you!" But I digress and perhaps spoil.

But you know what? It works. And it's more akin to Disney tradition that it may seem at first, since Walt himself considered changing the Carroll story as well, and also almost made a live-action/animated version with Ginger Rogers. This film, with its blend of live actors, CG animation and motion capture, was virtually all performed in front of a green screen, a descendant of the live action/animated sequences in Mary Poppins and Bedknobs and Broomsticks.

The cast is marvelous, on screen and off. Mia Wasikowska suggests Hayley Mills, with a physical resemblance as well as a similar spunky yet sober attitude. Helena Bonham Carter is having a ball with a juicy, outrageous villain to chew on Red Queen. Anne Hathaway channels Snow White (watch those bent elbows) and Billie Burke as the White Queen. The voices of Stephen Fry as the Cheshire Cat, Michael Sheen as the White Ra-- oops, I mean McTwisp are among the letter-perfect voice casting. And of course, there's to Johnny Depp's masterful, mercurial "Bozo-Blows-His-Big-Top," yet somehow heartbreakingly sympathetic, Hatter.

One note to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang fans: the legendary Barbara Windsor, who voices the swashbuckling Dormouse, was the blonde girl friend of Arthur Millard, the big goofball who got the ugly haircut from Dick Van Dyke's machine in the Sherman Brothers 1968 musical classic. And that's just a small part of a very big stage and screen career. It's nice to hear her in this film.

The film is visually amazing and as good a reason as any to plunk down the cash for a Blu-Ray player. The DVD has a handful of the bonus features included on the Blu-Ray disc, but I sure would have loved to hear an audio commentary from someone about such an interesting film.

Can't wait for the sequel -- how can there NOT be? I've always loved Alice in Wonderland and am glad to see it possibly become a franchise, as well as "cool" again. This is one instance where today's filmmakers have realized that total fantasy and escapism is what audiences want during depressed times.

And it still compliments the Walt Disney version without replacing it. There's always room for another Wonderland, and the Walt Disney version will always be landmark, especially because of its Mary Blair look, classic voice cast and unforgettable songs.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2010
Format: Blu-ray
Loved everything about this movie. From the Red Queen to the wonderful Mad Hatter and all the little characters in between. I never really liked Alice In Wonderland but after seeing this version of a grown up Alice it made me go back and re-watch the original. Although I am still not a huge fan of the smaller Alice I find my self totally in love with the characters of Tim Burton's wonderland. This is a five star movie with a five star cast.
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