Sunday, March 14, 2010

Alice in Wonderland (2010)

First things first. Say big CHEERS to me because this is my first blog of any kind.

Verdict:  Alice in Wonderland (3D) -- 7/10       
       Alice in Wonderland (2D) -- 6/10

The first thing one should know about the movie Alice in Wonderland is that it is not the traditional story that we know. Directed by Tim Burton, the movie starts with the young Alice being told by her father that her Wonderland glimpses are only her imaginations. The movie cuts to the now grownup Alice (Mia Wasikowska) going to attend a Victorian party. Unknown to Alice is the fact that it is a surprise party planned for her engagement with the son of her deceased father's business partner. Alice is not particularly happy with this and when she sees the White Rabbit, she follows it by instinct to the Rabbit Hole & falls into the amazing Wonderland called as Underland in the movie.

Alice doesn't remember any of her childhood visits. Everything is new to her and she even pinches herself to check whether she is in a dream. She meets all the Wonderland characters which include the smoking Caterpillar (voiced by Alan Rickman, who plays Professor Snape in Harry Potter series), the White Rabbit (voiced by Michael Sheen), Tweedledum and Tweedledee (Matt Lucas), the Knave of Hearts (Crispin Glover), the White Queen (Anne Hathway), the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) and the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp). The Red Queen has taken control of Wonderland. How Alice remembers her past visits and helps the good people creatures of Wonderland in defeating the Red Queen forms the remaining story.

Coming to the story itself, there is very little originality here which is a huge surprise for me because I like most of the works of Tim Burton who has such a good imaginative and creative brain. The first Tim Burton movie I saw was Edward Scissorhands which was a really amazing movie. Incidentally that was the first time I saw infinitely charismatic Johnny Depp. After Burton's latest movies Corpse Bride & Sweeney Todd, I had some expectations going to this movie. But it was obvious that while much of the thought and work has gone for visual effects, unfortunately the same cannot be said about the story per se. It is more like someone has asked Burton what happens when you throw the characters of Wonderland into Narnia. Although I didn't felt that the climax was bad, Lewis Carroll would have felt very much ill at ease. The story is definitely the weakest point of the movie. The characters should have been given more depth so that audience would feel some empathy towards them.

Johnny Depp & Helena Bonham Carter are movie muses of Tim Burton (Helena is his domestic partner). This is their 8th & 6th collaboration with Burton respectively. Depp as the Mad Hatter does a wonderful job. Infact the character is tailor made for him. The character in some ways reminds me of Edward Scissorhands. Mia Wasikowska as Alice is pretty. Alice's character is written as a non conformist & kind of feminist probably to appeal to the current female audience (which has succeeded if that was the case judging by the average female rating of 8 on imdb). Mia Wasikowska is good in her role & gives an earnest performance. Burton made Anne Hathway's White Queen a little over the top should i say. Oh & I hated her lipstick. Crispin Glover (who was good in Charlie's Angels) does a very good job here. The voice casts included some very good names & everyone's done a decent job but with below par writing this is a great opportunity lost. A very very special mention should be made of Helena Bonham Carter who shines over everybody with her superb portrayal of the Red Queen. She steels every scene in which she appears. If there is a 2nd reason to watch this movie, that is she.

The 1st & important reason for watching Alice in Wonderland is the obvious one. The VFX (visual effects) are stunning to say the least. Coming after Avatar should have been difficult with the higher expectations of people. For me Alice in Wonderland stood toe-to-toe with Avatar as far as VFX are concerned. The depth, sharpness & the sheer variety in using colours is awesome. Some of the scenes are pure delight & if nothing else you can watch the movie for visual effects alone. While an Oscar nomination for visual effects is sure shot, to beat this at winning would be a difficult thing to achieve. Let us wait & watch if anything with better VFX comes this year.

One more thing. There is a 15 sec Johnny Depp VFX dance in the climax. I am reading that many people didn't like it but I wished for more of it.

The story is lacking; the chemistry between the characters is invisible; superb superb visual effects.

p.s. I have watched Alice in Wonderland (both 3D & 2D) 1 1/2 times. the story of 1 1/2 times and the reason for my giving 2 different ratings for 3D & 2D versions is in my next post. Also in my next post why you should watch this in a full theatre which has some kids (if you decided to watch this).

Do comment & only good comments are allowed since this is my first blog & I will delete all bad comments (just kidding). See the movie. Feel free to comment or criticize. Your reply (whether good or bad) is what is most important to me.


  1. Wow Amaresh kool Review I wish I would be seeing more of such meaningful reviews. as say it here bravo!!

  2. Good start Amar.Wanted to watch it and now i will:).

    Hope your review writing takes the deserved direction some day soon.Way to go.

  3. Hi Amaresh,
    Good review buddy...
    Will look for more reviews abt movies from u..

    Keep writing man...
    Sachin Wawre