Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland Review #1

Darling Wife’s parents, while we were in England, babysat for the afternoon and packed us off to the cinema. It was half-term so the choices were limited to kids films or Clash of the Titans (same thing) which looks about as appealing as wearing cheese-graters for shoes. So, we plumped for Alice in Wonderland.

We couldn’t see it in 3D, but I figured if it’s a decent enough movie it should stand up in bog standard 2D and if you want to see proper 3D then just go the theatre. The cinema, though, is a real novelty for us now as it costs a bloody fortune (tickets + parking + babysitter).

So, without a huge amount of pre-hype or knowledge about it we sat down in the cinema next to a mythically fat couple who – not content with cinema snacks – brought their own snacks: biscuits, crisps, shanks of venison, gallons of meade. They obviously cannot enjoy any film without taking in at least 4000 calories but I bit my tongue because after spending most of the day telling off my own kids I wasn’t in he mood to tell two heffers to stop eating but also because I was secretly hoping they’d clog their arteries before the trailers finished. No such luck, they continued to masticate an inhuman quantity of junk food. It was like Animal Planet.

So, the film. AIW does look sumptuous – the CGI is breathtaking and being in the business I spent most of my time trying to figure out how they did bits. This is a bit of an industrial disease and can be quite frustrating watching anything with a spectrum of visual effects because I tend to look at technique rather than enjoy the film as artform…but even aside from my ailment, I think this films suffers from being too effects driven.

The eye candy that unfurls before your eyes is sumptuous; each scene, each character out-doing the last. Tim Burton’s imagination is a Pandorra’s box for a film maker…but…but strip all that away and you have a pop video hung on a weak story line which is basically George and the Dragon crossed with Lord of the Rings. 3 out of 5.


8 thoughts on “Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland Review #1

  1. I hear ya. I never worked with CGI – though admittedly I’m waiting for a time when someone wakes the heck up and sets up CGI for the real world, so that we can modify our appearance (hair color, height, size of bum) without having to hit the hairdresser or the gym or get one of those freaky operations people get in Asia to become 2 cm taller.

    But as a translator, I cannot watch or read anything in my mother tongue anymore, because it;s hugely distracting – I keep wondering what the English original was, and with a movie I can actually see the lips moving speaking English words while simultaneously hearing the Italian translation, and inevitably spot translations mistakes. Not fun.

    I liked the movie, but I thought they overdid it a bit on the CGI side of things, and it ended up turning out like one of those cartoonish new Star Wars movies, which are absolute garbage. Of course cartoonish isn’t hugely out of place for Alice in Wonderland, but a couple of scenes looked so fake that it threw me off and instead of staying in the movie all the way through I kept feeling like I was being catapulted back to reality all the bloody time, which was quite annoying. I didn’t shell 35 bucks between ticket and snacks to spend two hours in the real world, people.

    But the clothes were fabulous. So that adds at least half a star in my book.

    1. Maybe you should do film reviews on your site – you’ve summed it up way better than I did.

      I also prefer to have subtitles rather than dubbing, dubbing drives me nuts. You don’t get to hear the original actor’s voice or get their timings and so I think you’re always losing 50%. If you watch a film that has won best actress award at the Golden Globes and then some part time french voice-over artist turns up half cut from a four hour lunch and mades an arse of it, it ain’t going to be as good as the original, is it? I even prefer to see kung-fu films (secret pleasure of mine, shhh) in the mother tongue….

      The clothes were fab, but it’s not the production I have a problem with. It’s good old fashioned film making: plot, script, acting…

  2. We haven’t seen this, however my parents have (my mother, in a slightly creepy inappropriate way for a 72 year old woman…) is quite obsessed with Mr Depp and goes to see everything he is in. She thought it was great.

    Our recent viewing has been confined to The Princess and the Frog, and How to Train your Dragon. Both good in their own way, although we (John and I) enjoyed the second one better – Isabel is a fan of singing animals so preferred the first.

  3. Wow… it’s seems like my review was staggeringly accurate! (sort of)

    I don’t feel any closer to actually wanting to watch AIW. Tim Burton’s work can be excellent, but it just all gets a bit tiresome. He should stick to stuff like Ed Wood.

    I love foreign language films, but I absolutely refuse to watch if they are dubbed. Dubbing should be outlawed.

      1. Okay, so what you do is: go to Blockbuster (they must be going bust by now, surely?), don’t rent the movie but buy some popcorn and eat it while you review it.

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