Thursday, March 11, 2010
Alice in Wonderland in Digital 3D
So we watched. I had to convince Allan with dinner at TGI Friday's (super best ever ever ribs!) to go watch Alice in Wonderland. We just couldn't miss it. I don't care if he thought it was sissy or childish at first. I was far more interested in watching Tim Burton interpret Alice than Cameron showing blue people talking weird.
I secured a seat at sureseats.com (heaven sent!) and I made sure that no clients, overtime work or papers would interfere with my date with Alice, Mad Hatter and the Red Queen. When all was said and done, our bellies full, we grabbed a bucket of popcorn and two lemonades, 3D shades or whatever heck you call them and watched.
But before anything else, look at Johnny Depp as Mad Hatter.
And Michael Keaton as Beetlejuice. The hair, the eyebags and weird eyeshadow, the pale face. I mean, Mad Hatter 2010 is just Beetlejuice with a college degree and a better stylist! How can you NOT be interested when you see something like that? I was hooked the very moment the movie posters were released.
(And if you didn't watch Beetlejuice, man, you should. Shame on you.)
So when the movie started, with Alice having recurring dreams, and his father assuring her, I knew I was in for a treat. No, this wasn't gonna be just Alice in Wonderland. When the next few scenes came on, I knew Burton was going to mix up Through the Looking Glass with Alice in Wonderland. I actually thought it was a good idea. The plot was simple: the rabbit returns to the "real" world to lure the now 19-year-old Alice back to Wonderland (in the movie, the place was actually called Underland. They made it show that Alice, because of her youth and innocence the first time she was there, just called it Wonderland.) She is to be the White Queen's "champion" who will kill the Jabberwocky and free Underland from the Red Queen and restore its beauty.
I have to tell you that this will destroy Alice in Wonderland as you know it. This is totally a different version of AIW and TTLG. The poems and songs that Lewis Caroll wrote fell prey to Burton's twisted mind. If you haven't watched the movie, Alice kills the Jabberwocky. Woops. Sorry. This was an interpretation of the actual poem, when the Jabberwocky is slain by the "son". I know, strange.
Alice killing the Jabberwocky is not part of AIW nor TTLG (as far as I can recall). In AIW, the Jabberwocky wasn't even mentioned. In TTLG, Alice's challenge was to get to eight rank to be crowned queen. Not to kill the Jabberwocky. It's completely twisted. My popcorn fell cold. I just couldn't eat anymore. This was TOO much.
So there were twists and an elaborate braid of AIW and TTLG components. I couldn't enjoy the movie if I really kept tabs on which is which. Suffice to say that the weave was so friggin' tight, it was a different story altogether.
The Mad Hatter will assist Alice in her quest to get the Vorpal sword (the only thing that can kill JW, Jabberwocky). The tweedles, will, well, be their own tweedling selves. The Cheshire cat will do nothing but, well, grin. The cat wasn't as important or emphasized here, at all.
One endearing character, whom I think is new, is Bayard, a bloodhound who is forced by the Red Queen's knight to track Alice down in exchange for his and his family's freedom. He was absolutely adorable. When he was finally set free and he was reunited with his family, I almost cried.
The themes were varied but were introduced so smoothly. Reality vs fantasy, crazy vs believable, good vs evil, acceptance vs rebellion. Signs of Burton everywhere...the arid land, the dry grass...the dark, misty background. All him. He really managed to make Alice in Wonderland such a dark, dreary story.
I liked what the White Queen said when Alice was deciding whether she can fight the Jabberwocky or not: "The choice must be yours because when your step out to face that creature... you will be alone" Meaning, don't do things to please anybody, for in the end, people will expect you to do things, but you can really only save yourself.
With all that said, Burton's Alice is great. I missed a lot of acting though. It so easy to make a computer generated thing act. But I miss the old-school acting, the same way Johnny Depp does it: the eyes twitching, the muscles in his face changing ever so slightly. But it was a great movie. Great movie.