Posted by: Chris Brew | March 13, 2010

Alice in Wonderland

Well, I liked it. I’m glad we didn’t get discouraged by the reviews and go and see “Up in the air” instead. My favorite character, the creepy (though “good”) White Queen.

Tim Burton was not at all faithful to the originals, but made a suitably weird world for Mia Waskikowska’s Alice to inhabit. Some of the characters are like Lewis Carroll’s. Steven Fry’s Cheshire Cat was just one of many good efforts in small parts.

This  Alice is a modern teenager, who resists the conventional roles that get thrust on her. She’s not a Victorian maiden, and she’s a pretty reluctant Hollywood action hero. Her dress in the potion clip deserves to make somebody a few millions in sales, and all the costumes and visuals are up to Tim Burton’s usual standard. I especially loved the army of playing cards.

In this movie the IMAX 3D was just OK, for me, not a big thrill like the 3D from Avatar.

Helena Bonham-Carter’s Red Queen is BIGHEADED, IMPATIENT, AND UNREASONABLE. Apparently she based the performance on her imperious toddler daughter.

Somebody (not Lewis Carroll) made up a lovely bloodhound for Timothy Spall to play.

The bloodhound produces the best line in the movie, spoken by a deeply cynical talking horse. I won’t spoil it …

Heard Keith Devlin on NPR ( ) saying that the original Alice was partly a sly mathematical satire. Let’s just say that Tim Burton’s Alice has less math in it than Mean Girls. Actually, Wasikowska’s Alice is a bit like Lindsay Lohan’s character in that film, and there’s one incidental plot touch in Alice that Tina Fey would have been proud of.

Bottom line: fun movie, great visuals, plot maybe a little conventional, enjoyable performances by a swarm of British stars. No math, chess or puzzles, but that’s OK. I’d be happy to see it again.


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