film review: Alice in Wonderland (3D) (2010)6 Comments
As I mentioned in my “releasing this week” article on Friday, I was really looking forward to seeing this film. Again I’ve been taught that I’m better off keeping my expectations low.
It’s not that Alice in Wonderland is a bad film. Hehe, that’s probably my favourite phrase, I don’t like saying films are bad… but… Alice just wasn’t as brilliant as I wanted it to be. Then again I don’t know what I expected. I mean it looked good… and the story definitely seemed to follow the Alice canon… it just wasn’t as magical as I thought it would be. It wasn’t as fairytale or as wonder-filled as I thought it would be.
I think we could (and should) have spent more time with the Wonderland characters. There was all this stuff at the beginning that I just didn’t care about. I know you need a certain amount of exposition but it didn’t even really seem to tell us where she was coming from and seemed to go on for ages and then when we got to Wonderland we got introduced to a whole load of other characters but we never spent a lot of time with any of them.
In particular I was disappointed by the lack of Mad Hatter or even the White Rabbit, at least there was a bit of the Red Queen… Mostly the film seems to sweep through the supporting characters without giving them much of a chance to leave an impression. I didn’t hate the Alice character but she wasn’t half as much fun as the others so I would have liked more time with them.
Visually, it was beautiful but it wasn’t incredible. I’m starting to wonder if Avatar has spoiled things a bit. Certainly I didn’t feel like the 3D in this was up to much. It was more than you’d see in say, the Toy Story 3D adaptations, but it still wasn’t great. Also the Avatar world was beautiful but also so it was so immersive; in a way that Wonderland here is not…
…But I could be giving Avatar too much credit here as well. It’s entirely possible that Tim Burton just didn’t do that good a job with this. Actually I’m more inclined to believe that… he failed to make me care that much and it wasn’t weird enough to blow me away.
I will say this and I’m not sure if it’s really in its favour – I do think it’s suitable for children. It’s not dark like Burton’s other films. Maybe not for very young children, like those under 6, but certainly for other kids I would think it should be fine. There’s nothing in it that’s worse than what’s in the books, so if you’re fine with your kids hearing those kinds of stories then this will be grand.
I just don’t really know what to think of Tim Burton any more. I think he needs to stay with the fantastical type of stuff but leave the kids stuff behind. An adult version of Alice in Wonderland would have been a better choice for Burton and, I think, for the rest of his cast. I like to think it would have been a lot more engaging and we wouldn’t have gotten all tied up with PG storytelling we didn’t really need.
So, I’m not going to say don’t see it. I know there’s plenty people out there who’ll love it, and certainly bring your kids along. Don’t expect some twisted dark version of Alice, this isn’t what the film is.