Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Alice in Wonderland, a Review

I was able to see the new Alice in Wonderland in IMAX 3-D this weekend with my family.
My personal experience was that it was a delightful, visually delicious, modern remake of a very old story, written by Lewis Carroll in 1864.
This creative story has been through it's own rabbit hole of evolution since it was first told as a bedtime story. From verbal tale to book, to cartoon movie, to 3 dimensional film, this one time children's story has taken on life and adventure of it's own.
As with any book made into a movie, those who have been fans of Alice and her experiences in the rabbit hole for years may be disappointed by the changes in the story line and the calignosity (it means darkness, look it up) of parts of the movie. Not to say that it was gothic or had a dark mood, it just wasn't luminous and bright in every scene. If you are familiar with any Tim Burton movies you should expect that darker element.
Part of what made the movie so visually captivating was the changes between the bright and colorful scenes and the grayer, starker scenes. I found myself waiting anxiously for the brightness again. I have always felt that the books had a slightly dark side. I remember being terrified of the Queen of Hearts when I read the book at the age of 8.
The characters were bold and entrancing throughout the film. Alice actually seemed a little boring to me, although she had some really great outfits. My personal favorite was the dress made out of curtains while at the Red Queen's court.
(Not the one pictured below.)
Let me clarify that I have never been a die hard Johnny Depp fan, like so many females, but in this movie, any time that he was not on screen was just not as engaging. From his first appearance as the Mad Hatter when he walks the length of the table at the tea party, to the very end when Alice bids him goodbye before returning to her world, I enjoyed the movie more when he was in the scene.
My favorite scene in the movie was a relatively short bit where the Mad Hatter is walking through a tulgey wood with Alice on his hat and he quotes a bit from the poem, the Jabberwocky:
"'Twas brillig and the slithy toves did gyre and gimber in the wabe: all mimsy were the borogroves, and the mome raths outgrabe."
One critical addition to the plot of this movie was the integration of Lewis Carroll's poem Jabberwocky.

(Thanks to aeromental.net for the picture.)

(You can learn more about Jabberwocky by clicking here.)
I particularly enjoyed this addition as I have always loved "Jabberwocky". I recognized that this would be an element from the first time a character referred to the "Frabjous Day".
With the release of Avatar a few months ago, we have entered a new generation of film making and viewing. Use of computer animation, special effects and 3-D has taken movies into not a new chapter, but a new book in film making history.
Movies will never be the same.
Many of us tell our children about the days before cell phones, not so long ago. I believe our children will be telling their children about the days when we watched everything in 2-D.
Alice in Wonderland will be to our children what The Wizard of Oz was to children a few generations ago and moving pictures were to their grandparents.
This movie was not just a retelling of a classic tale, it was a recreation of a story in a form never seen before.
Even if you are not interested in Alice's plight I recommend seeing this movie, and the film Avatar if you haven't already, for no other reason than that it is unlike any movie experience you have ever had and you will be witnessing movie making history.
Enjoy! And pour some m&ms in your popcorn just for me.


Carrie and Karl said...

I like the m&m's idea, I'll try that next time we go see a movie. Your review made me think I might actually want to see this one, and I had pretty much decided not to before. Good job.

Victoria said...

I totally loved Avatar. In fact, a month after we saw it in 2D, my 17-year-old and I had an after-school date of Cafe Rio and IMAX 3D Avatar that rocked. For awhile I was not too keen on seeing Alice, but I think I will like it. I love the new visually stunning movies. I hated the cartoon and thought it was rather mean-spirited, but now that I am old and rather mean-spirited, I should completely enjoy it:)