Customer Review

79 of 100 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars New Alice, same issues, September 5, 2010
This review is from: Alice in Wonderland (DVD)
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.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 26, 2011 3:31:48 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 26, 2011 3:33:53 PM PST
I was instantly taken in with the beauty of this movie and being a
Depp/ Burton fan I gave the film kudos based on another successful
collaborative effort. Outside of the visual I'd have to say I didn't
feel involved with the characters or the story at all. Your review is .
definitely on point.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 4, 2011 10:32:17 PM PST
John D. Muir says:
Thanks for your comment, Mark. I too am a Burton fan (The Nightmare Before Christmas is a particular favorite) and anyone who enjoys great acting is a Depp fan. This movie didn't quite work for me, but the images are so vivid it almost doesn't matter.

Posted on Mar 12, 2012 9:06:33 AM PDT
myconius says:
well we'll always have the memories Edward Scissorhands!!!

too bad Burton has never really been able to capture that fantasy-like magic again.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 19, 2012 11:42:09 PM PDT
I agree with you. Johnny Depp is such a fine actor. He has taken roles that suited his talents so well... like Edward Scissorhands and Pirates of the Caribbean and even Sleepy Hollow, but he gave those characters "life" and emotional content. That's what draws you into the character. Depp is wasted here. I love Tim Burton, too, but he's focusing too much on the "world" rather than the people dwelling there. While there may be plenty of vivid color and frantic, violent action to keep one entertained.... that's the only thing that gives this film any "presence." I'd like to see Burton get away from physical darkness and focus more on the "magic" of fantasy.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2012 3:05:01 PM PDT
John D. Muir says:
I agree entirely, Louise. Thanks for your comments.
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