Movie Review: Alice in Wonderland (3D)

>> Sunday, March 14, 2010

Seems like all the movies I see these days are 3Ds, I wonder why. It's oddly uncomfortable watching movies with a pair of glasses over my existing glasses, anyway.

Quirky, free-spirited 19 year-old Alice is forced to attend a party where a local lord with bad digestion problem asked her for her hand of marriage. Her father has just died and the family business needed someone in a prestigious position to take over, so the family looked forward to the union. During the party, Alice spotted a rabbit wearing a long coat and stumbled into the big rabbit hole after chasing after it. Having forgotten her previous adventure, Alice goes back into the world of Wonderland and starts another adventure.

Tim Burton continues his obsessions with Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter who play the Mad Hatter and the Red Queen capably. Surprisingly, Anne Hathaway's Wonkaesque White Queen fits quite nicely into the Burton world and so is Matt Lucas' Tweedledee and Tweedledum. No doubt, there will be a chance for us to see them in future Burton projects. The story is a loose adaptation of the book, Mia Wasikowska who plays the title character seems like the plainest, most innocent girl in this bizarre world. The contrast might be a bit too severe, since as a lead actress one should project at least some charms which she seems to have been lacking.

The story itself is not an obvious one. Aside from having a lot of dialogue being unclear, the protagonist was assigned with a task that she refused but somehow was forced to follow the steps laying in front of her. She lacked a clear purpose or an personality. It's like she's a ragged doll waiting for the storyline to commence, the special effects to take hold. The world surrounds her was interesting and entertaining, Johnny Depp and HBC have the odd gifts of making the most unbelievable characters believable, even though Mad Hatter goes through serious length of illegible self-mumblings. To make the movie climactic, it brought a monster for Alice to fight, which I slightly detest simply because it seems to follow a artificial preset Hollywood formula but I don't really know how I would feel if they go without it.

Aside from a good cast, what saves the movie were Wonderland where fishes walk swishily on land, where little talking mouse has the courage to aim for the eyes of big monsters. The CGI is amazing and essential in the whimsical Burton world. With a hidden self-empowerment message, fans of the Narnia series will enjoy this movie. B-

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