Thursday, May 5, 2011

Movie review: Alice in Wonderland (2010)

The first time Alice visited Underland she was only six years old. Thirteen years later a young woman – troubled by a recurring dream, struggling with the loss of her beloved father and running from an unwelcome marriage proposal - finds herself down a rabbit hole once again. This time the fate of Underland is in her hands. She is to slay the Red Queen’s Jabberwocky and restore the White Queen to power. Question is, does she have the courage to be the champion?

We get to meet all her friends from before: the White Rabbit, the Dormouse, the Dodo, the twins Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the Cheshire Cat, the Caterpillar and the Mad Hatter, to name but a few. View this link for a more thorough review.

Now usually I would try to find something good to say, but today... Don’t hold your breath; this is as good as it’s going to get: I can well understand that the movie won the Academy Award for Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design but for the rest of it... I was not impressed :( I had to start the movie over two or three times before I got as far as seeing the ending and I was sorely disappointed.

Firstly I found it rather ridiculous that we went from a marriage proposal to falling down a rabbit hole. Somehow the idea of a nineteen year old (almost woman, rather than girl) falling down a rabbit hole just seemed somewhat ridiculous. Who proposes to a (basically) grown woman, who claims to see cartoon bunnies in overcoats with stop watches running around? Innocence is one thing, but children should really not be getting married. It seemed a little too ridiculous for me.

Secondly, the story was totally predictable. From the point where the scroll is revealed which shows Alice with the sword and confronting the Jabberwocky it basically plays out exactly that way. For me the whole movie from there was basically a display of the costumes and creative ability of the creators of the movie. No wonder I battled to stay awake.

I don’t believe I’ve seen the original Alice in Wonderland, but somehow I had an expectation for a greater ending. Alice goes from a grown woman seeing cartoon bunnies, to falling down a rabbit hole, to returning to the real world, giving everyone a piece of her mind, getting on a boat and sailing the seven sees like some apprentice / entrepreneur wannabe to establishing oceanic trade routes to China. Hello?

My final thought... HUH??!! Is that IT?

For starting the movie over three times...? Left me with a bit of a feeling like “crashing into a tree and rolling the credits through the rising steam of a seized engine under the crumpled up hood”... Does that make any sense?

Maybe they are trying to demonstrate the point of an Alice transforming from a caterpillar to a butterfly, just like her caterpillar friend from Underworld... If so, then that moment was one of the few that I did find meaningful.

Have you seen Alice in Wonderland? Did you like it or not, and why?


  1. I agree .... it didnt do it for me either. Well writen.


  2. It discourages me from seeing the original Alice in Wonderland - when she was six, but maybe things would make a little more sense. Also, did they do justice to the legacy of Alice in Wonderland in the first movie? One would have to watch it to know, huh? Somehow a six year old Alice already feels less ridiculous...

  3. Don't think you missed much, CIN, although you might have enjoyed the creative costumes :)

  4. When Tim Burton made Batman i realized he should stick with stop motion animation. If it wasn't for Johnny Depp most of his movies would suck.

  5. Thank you for stopping by, Spear. Aah, Johnny Depp... He certainly played his role splendidly in this movie. He is quite a remarkable actor, I think. Ironically his name is at the top of the poster (above pic); he did almost feature bigger than the famous Alice.

    I curiously Google'd Tim Burton and you have a point: Depp plays in many of them! Of the list I liked Big Fish and Edward Scissorhands best - heartfelt stories and big lessons. I did also see Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, Sleepy Hollow, the Batman movies and a little bit of Bettle Juice.