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.