79 of 100 people found the following review helpful
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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