228 of 270 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 2010
In spite of having to read many negative reviews, I was still curious to see this movie. I not a huge Burton fan neither, although I've enjoyed some of his previous work. But it was something about «Alice in Wonderland» which seemed appealing; its visual look and its quirky characters. Still I had in mind the several hostile reviews, which accused this movie to be a flat, soulless and muddled attempt of a classic, which I also feared it would. But after finally seeing the movie, I can claim my disagreement with the reviewers. In fact, I'm not sure if we even saw the same movie. What exactly was so terrible about it?
Overall, I found «Alice in Wonderland» to be very entertaining. I feared that the movie would lose some of it's magic as the main character entered to Wonderland, but fortunately it never did. I enjoyed the movie from the very start to its very end. It's a cute fantasy/adventure movie, equal to the «Harry Potter» and the «Narnia» flicks (although I personally felt «Prince Caspain» had some slight weaknesses). But beware; there are some frightening creatures that may scare the youngest in the audience, so the PG rating is suitable.
One of the films biggest advantages is it visuals. With it lush and dark landscapes, cute animals and colorful costumes, the flick is beautifully to look at and I can't wait to enjoy the sharpness of the picture on Blu Ray. The score of Danny Elfman is effective and gives the movie a dreamy, atmospheric tone. The characters are mostly passable. They don't steal the show entirely, but neither do they appear as distractive or annoying.
Although I've always liked the original novel of Lewis Carroll, I must say that I found this new twist of the story fresh and creative, depicting the «wrong» Alice's adventures in Wonderland as a young adult. Linda Woolverton, who's behind the excellent screenplays for «Beauty and the Beast», «The Lion King» and «Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey», has written a solid and decent script to «Wonderland». Many have claimed this screenplay to be muddled and confusing, but I didn't felt it that way at all. Once again, did we even saw the same movie?
Mia Wasikowska is quite decent as Alice. Although she doesn't have a distinctive emanation/charisma who characterizes other young actresses at her age, she's still delivers a nice and acceptable performance. Personally I felt her screen presence expanded during the movie. Johnny Depp is indeed a good actor. To claim anything else, would be a like claiming that the climate isn't humid in the rain forest. Although I've never been crazy over Depp's work, he's goofy and great as The Mad Hatter, which is indeed the best character in the movie. Helena Bonham Carter is also believable and funny as the Red Queen (just prepare yourself to hear «Off with his head» at least a hundred times during the movie, ha ha). While Anne Hathaway, on the other hand, is warm and passable as the White Queen (although I must confess it was a little distracting to see her with a blonde wig and with a British accent).
In fact, I can't see anything wrong with this new Burton version of «Wonderland». I truly enjoyed it and recommend it to everyone as possible. It didn't deserve the negative criticism at all, in my opinion. With quality films like this, perhaps I could finally forgive Disney for its recent mistakes? (*Cough, leaving hand drawn animation behind and promoting teen stars as crazy, cough*)
So follow every white rabbit you see and follow him to the hole... Wonderland is waiting...
Unsurprisingly, most of the bonus features lies on the Blu ray disc. However, the amount of the bonus features are disappointingly skimpy. The featurettes are divided in two sections. First are the Wonderland Characters and Making of Wonderland.
First up in the Wonderland Characters-section is "Finding Alice", which is about the casting of main lead. During a short brief or times, there are interviews with Mia Wazikovska, Tim Burton, Helena Bonham-Carter and Anne Hathaway. They bring up Burton's vision that differs from the Novel, the character arc of the protagonist and some of the clothing designs. Wazikovska herself comes off as a humble, mature and reflective young woman.
Next on the list is "The Mad Hatter", which is about Depp's insights on his character. Depp manages to give a brief, but interesting research about real hatters, while he talks about his own sketches and visions for the Mad Hatter, comparing to Burton's sketches for the character. And of course the costume and stylizing of the character.
"The Futterwacken Dance" explains the origins of the fictional Futterwacken dance which Depp's character dances in the movie. The dance was based on an internal joke between the director and Depp. Without spoiling too much, there are interviews with several guys who were in charge of the "Futterwacken".
Next is "The Red Queen", which centers about the origins of the Red Queen. Interviews with Bonham-Carter and technical members of the crew, they discuss the design and the costuming of the character, as well as Helena's own thoughts of her own performance.
"Time-Lapse: Sculpting The Red Queen" is a short video demonstrating the transformation and sculpting of Helena as the Red Queen, while Helena and other make-up artists narrates during the video.
Next is "The White Queen", which is about the creation of The White Queen. Hathaway explains her own, early visions for the character, as well the costuming and the other crew members' thoughts of the character.
The first featurette in the Making Wonderland section is Scoring Wonderland. An interesting featurette about the scoring of the film. During an interview with composer Danny Elfman, we'll receive his thoughts about his collaboration with Burton, as well as his process about the film scoring and especially making the "Alice" anthem. Quite interesting and informative.
Effecting Wonderland is an interesting featurette about the CGI aspect of the film, the creation of the fully CGI characters in the film and how to exaggerate the looks of the human characters with CGI.
Stunts in Wonderland is a brief featurette about the stunt process of Mia Wazikowska.
Making the Proper Size is about the process of giving the character of Alice the proper size. Interviews with Waizkowska and other crew members reveals the process of making Wazikowska look to small or too big in the various scenes in the film.
Cakes of Wonderland interviews a baker which made all the cakes in the final film, especially the Eat Me cakes. She talks about the ingredients which she used in the film to make the cakes.
Tea Party Props centers about the making of the Iconic Tea Party table and all of its props.
So there you have it; Tim Burton's version of Alice in Wonderland. While it's not one of the most memorable movies of its genre, it is still a solid and good movie that has gotten way more underrated than it deserves. The quality of the picture is superb and so is the sound. While most of the featurettes are interesting and enjoyable, there could still have been of more of them. However, this edition is still recommendable for every fan of this movie.
107 of 128 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 2010
For starters, it seems that everyone I know is shocked when I tell them that this Alice in Wonderland is a sequel of sorts. At the age of 19 and about to be forced into marriage, this is Alice's second trip to Wonderland. I'm glad Tim Burton and his team came up with a new story that still featured all the great characters from the original source material. That's also where the weakest part of the movie lies. The dialogue given to the characters is great, but the script is razor thin. I think if more effort went into this particular aspect, I might have given it five stars.
I saw it in IMAX 3-D and the visuals are as grand and beautiful as you would expect from Burton. It's not quite as eye-popping as Avatar, which was shot completely in IMAX 3-D, whereas, Alice in Wonderland was upconverted (Clash of the Titans did the same thing to bad effect). The music by Danny Elfman is some of his best stuff in recent years and the costumes/makeup are top notch.
Aside from the look of film, the acting also makes it very memorable. There are so many well animated and voice acted characters running around I don't know where to begin. I guess I'll start with those made of flesh and blood. I didn't like Depp's take on Willy Wonka that much, and I'm a big fan of his, but his Mad Hatter is just the right amount of crazy. His voice goes back and forth from having a lisp to sounding like William Wallace from Braveheart. His look is so jarring, you probably wouldn't even know it was him if you somehow dodged all the advertisements before entering the theater. Helena Bonham Carter played the Red Queen brilliantly. I couldn't take my eyes off her giant head. Anne Hathaway really surprised me here (in a good way) with her take on the White Queen and it was nice to see Crispin Glover back on the big screen in a role that suited him. Last, but certainly not least, Mia Wasikowska was absolutely captivating as Alice. The way she talked and her reactions were just what the film needed in it's central role. All the digital animal characters were great, but my favorites were the Cheshire Cat, voice by Stephen Fry, and the March Hare voiced by Paul Whitehouse.
I'm somewhat surprised that the combination of violence and meanness, along with the smoking Blue Caterpillar didn't get this a PG-13 rating. It's not too harsh, but young kids might get a little freaked out.
Overall, Alice in Wonderland looks like a polished jewel, has great acting/voice acting, wonderful music and even manages to get quite a few laughs in the process. If only the simple story didn't let me down in the end, this could have been a classic in the making. Even still, I wouldn't mind Tim Burton taking us on another trip down the rabbit hole in a few years.
80 of 101 people found the following review helpful
on September 5, 2010
Most of the many attempts at filming Alice In Wonderland haven't been particularly successful, for two reasons. First, directors seem to feel that the movie must have a strong male character. Lewis Carroll didn't give them one (all the male characters in the books are rather spineless and feeble) so they invent their own, usually, for some reason, the Mad Hatter. Second, they misread the character of Alice. In the book she is headstrong, inquisitive and feisty; she dominates the other characters even as she takes part in their fantastic world. She is not a spectator, watching what they do, but a full participant, accepting. or more often rejecting, their view of life. She's not, nor is she meant to be, a nice girl meekly accepting what befalls her.
Unfortunately, Tim Burton's 'Alice' falls into both these traps. Instead of being a passing character Alice meets along the way, the Mad Hatter becomes central to the film and in doing so destroys much of the point of the tale. Alice herself, though she has her moments of rebellion, is played far too passively; she's more often merely watching what goes on in Wonderland. In making her character too detached, Burton loses the involvement that the audience should feel and which has made the books so successful for so long.
On the plus side, Wonderland itself is marvelously realized. I love the bright colors, the ever-more-convincing computer graphics and the strange flora and fauna which inhabit this suitably dream-like place. Everything looks as it's supposed to- distorted versions of reality, only possible in the imagination. The story meanders far from the original tales, but I have no problem with that, as long as it holds together. Tim Burton is the master at making a fantasy world come to life.
It's a fun movie to watch. It just doesn't make the audience feel involved.
36 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on January 22, 2011
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.
34 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2010
I did not even buy the movie from amazon but wanted to write a review because no one has yet. This movie was one of the better 3d flixs i have watched on my 3dtv. 3d worked great no ghosting, and almost no break down in the 3d image. I was nervous about future 3d movie releases after i received how to train your dragon from samsung. The dragon movie was great in theaters, but horrible on 3dtv, it was not full screen (this completely ruins the 3d quality), and the 3d broke down continuously, unwatchable! This was not the case with Alice. Full screen, and almost no break down. Even though it was not filmed in 3d it still gave great sense of depth at home. If you own a 3dtv i def recommend you add this to the small list of 3d movies to buy. PLus its pretty cheap for a 4 disc combo. I only gave it 4 stars because i reserve 5 stars for the completely flawless(story,3d, ect. Avatar if ever released in 3d, and if it does not have a single split second of 3d break down will get 5 from me)
27 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on January 20, 2011
The only other 3D movie that comes close to being better is Avatar. The plot, effects and acting was phenomenal. A must have for those collecting 3D movies.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 8, 2010
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!
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2010
i have to say i didn't have any over or under expectations going into this movie. I loved it!! i found it a cross between the silliness of the disney alice and the super creepy Alice that came out when i was a child, with red buttons and sammy davis jr. i'm not sure why people didn't gather that its a sequel type move... did you see the commercials for it? people are upset that the movie is not for children, nor is the book, try reading sometime. add wizard of oz to that list, not all sweet, pretty and kind. also its tim burton, all of his movies are similar in style. i like his style personally. the details that are in this movie are amazing to me. the red queen and her palace blew me away. the "heart" detail from the clothes, to the floor, to even her lipsick. my only complaint would be that is wasn't longer, if left me wanting more, but then that's a good movie too. i adore anne hathaway as the white queen, and the johnny depp as the mad hatter is wonderful!! over all it will be a movie to add to my collection.
64 of 87 people found the following review helpful
on March 13, 2010
19 year old Alice (Mia Wasikowska) returns to the magical Wonderland from when she was young and meets some old friends, and learns of her destiny.. to overthrow the evil Red Queen, sister to the good White Queen (Anne Hathaway).
I rather enjoyed it. Dark and weird, but it's really a sequel in feel, so why call it Alice in Wonderland? Return to Wonderland would have been an more apt title. Although that is probably too similar to Return to Oz...
Whereas the Disney Wonderland felt bright, surreal and colourful, this film had a very muted colour pallette even in the "real" world and Tim Burton's Wonderland had a kind of run-down, almost post apocolyptic feel. I pictured Alice being about 10 years old in the novel and 1951 Disney adaptation.
In that sense, by making this film a kind of sequel with Alice now in her late teens, maybe the broken, dark Wonderland becomes a metaphor for lost innocence and childhood itself, and how one's perception of childhood changes as you get older, which I think is actually quite clever.
I felt the 2 bookending parts of the film were boring (in the opening, we learn Alice is getting married to a slimy suitor) and I didnt feel for those characters.
Mia Wasikowska gave a good performance playing Alice as she was more independent and resourceful than I remember, surely ahead of her time!
I did like Helena Bonham Carter's turn as the Red Queen a lot - even though, talking with a high pitched, childish lisp, she reminded me of Miranda Richardson's Queenie in Blackadder II! In fact, she ripped off that interpretation wholesale. But still very funny.
Stephen Fry was excellent and probably gave the best "performance" of the cast as the Cheshire Cat but he was criminally underused I felt. Alan Rickman had just the right kind of stately voice of the Cattepillar.
In order to bring peace to Wonderland, Alice must slay the monster known as the Jabberwocky (I don't remember this Harry Potter type battle from the novel), which seemed shoehorned in to give the film some more structure and narrative and give the older, supposedly more resourceful Alice a mission, which The Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) helps her with. His performance is a strange one - wearing lots of make up and adopting an occasional Scottish accent, there may be some sadness as well as madness in his air because he and the other characters have been waiting up to 13 years for Alice to come back.
However, in one scene the Hatter does a Michael Jackson inspired dance for no apparent reason, which I found cringeworthy.
The suggestion through the film that Wonderland may actually be real (with Alice often questioning her surroundings) reminded me of themes explored in Pan's Labyrinth and The Chronicles of Narnia. In my opinion this gave the film a darker edge and made it more appealing to adults and older children.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2010
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).
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.