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Customer Review

240 of 287 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Much better than it has been given credit for, April 17, 2010
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This review is from: Alice in Wonderland (Three-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy) (Blu-ray)
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.
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Tracked by 7 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 41 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 18, 2010 9:26:26 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 30, 2010 7:06:43 PM PDT
Dan-Fabian Parra:
I think that some people dislike the fact that Tim Burton (the director) modified the story. Burton's Alice was much older; old enough to marry. Not so of the Lewis Carroll account. This movie, though entertaining, is NOT the "original" Alice in Wonderland nor it is the "original" Alice Through the Looking Glass, nor is it a combination of these two literary works. I think many people expected to see a screen adaptation of one, or both, of these books. I enjoyed the film, for what it was. I thought it was highly creative and the colors were amazing and astounding.
I saw it at the theater in both IMAX AND 3-D, so I may be disappointed in the Blu-ray version, which I have pre-ordered. However, it's still a good movie!

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 18, 2010 9:52:55 AM PDT
Hi Lorna, thanks for your comment. It's true what you're saying. But overall, there are rarerly (American) film adaptations which are true to their original sources. I fully understand if the fans of the book are upset, but I don't think that should be the only reason alone for bashing Burton's version of the film.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 21, 2010 11:47:19 AM PDT
Tania says:
The fans of Alice can also enjoy the fact that the story oes on... I think changing the story also keeps alive. No better compiments can be done to the writer, can't be?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 21, 2010 1:48:00 PM PDT

Posted on Apr 23, 2010 7:38:25 AM PDT
Charlie B. says:
To the reviewer, great review, I totally agree with you. They (the critics) were hard on this movie for no reason and it still managed to topple the world-wide box office. I think the dislike goes much with what reviewer Lorna commented on, which I agree with as well. I came into the movie also thinking that I was basically going to get a live-action version similar to the cartoons and live-actions movies of the past with that trippy and dark Tim Burton twist, but I enjoyed the new re-imagining nonetheless and was quite surprised. Didn't realize it was coming out on BD so soon (I mean it was just out a month ago and now it'll be out in a little over a month) but I for one can't wait. This is sure to be a classic.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 23, 2010 9:50:28 AM PDT
Hey Charlie, thanks for the praise. Yeah, the movie is coming really quick to dvd, considering it's going to be two months since the movie was released theatrically. But I can't wait to buy it, I really hope the bonus material is going to be good.

Posted on May 12, 2010 4:16:22 PM PDT
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on May 13, 2010 7:44:03 AM PDT
Hi Jeffrey.

I know that my review is for the movie itself and not the blu ray. But to be fair, I'm not the only one who's posted a review about a movie and not it's bonus features.

Anyway; I'm sorry if you didn't found my review helpful, but I'm gonna actually buy the blu ray and then I'm gonna review it's bonus features.

Posted on May 18, 2010 9:29:01 AM PDT
Tracie Tee says:
I'd have to agree with you, I loved this movie. Though it's not based on either "Alice in Wonderland" or "Through the Looking Glass" but rather a random poem in "Through the Looking Glass", they did a great job of adapting it for screen. I'm wary of the critics who say it is nothing like the first movie because, well, the first movie isn't really exactly like the first book either! For example, the "Unbirthday" scene in the first movie was 100% created for the movie, as the only mention of an unbirthday in the books is a random conversation Alice had with Humpty Dumpty. When you adapt a book to screen, you're going to lose some things from the books and the writers will work their creativity and add other things to the movies, that's a given. But for a storyline written based on these books and a poem, Burton did a fantastic job. The graphics and costumes were stunning and I'd recommend this movie to anyone who wants to take a fantastic journey.

In reply to an earlier post on May 18, 2010 12:59:35 PM PDT
Hi Tracie, thanks for your nice comment. Have a nice day.
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