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Alice in Wonderland: Movie trailer and review

Posted by dorian on February 28, 2010

From The Times
February 26, 2010

Review: Alice in Wonderland

Kate Muir

Never have toves been so slithy or a film so brillig. Tim Burton’s spectacular reimagining of Alice in Wonderland, which had its royal premiere in London last night, takes Lewis Carroll’s famous Jabberwocky poem and makes it a 3-D epic for the next generation.

Click on image below for  Trailer

Traditionalists may quibble with Burton’s Gothic ride through the Alice books, but his hallucinogenic humour is true to the originals. Plus you don’t get a cast any better than this. The standouts are Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen with a bulbous head and a venomous tongue, using a live pig as a footstool, and Alice herself, played by the Australian actress Mia Wasikowska with frowning confidence and not a drop of soppiness.

The characters may be familiar but the plot deviates insanely from the original. Down the rabbit hole, Alice still finds the “Drink Me” potion, varies from 6in to 20ft tall, attends the Mad Hatter’s tea party and confronts the Red Queen, but Burton brings Alice’s dream closer to his more favoured nightmares.

Alice in WonderlandA Each scene offers a British luvvie in phantasmagorical disguise. Alan Rickman voices the caterpillar, and perhaps inevitably the Cheshire Cat speaks with the smug voice of Stephen Fry. Tweedledum and Tweedledee are a digitally manipulated Matt Lucas, and Paul Whitehouse is the disturbed March Hare, prone to throwing crockery. The squeaky dormouse, who pokes out the Bandersnatch’s eyeball with a needle, is our very own Barbara Windsor.

Unfortunately, Johnny Depp has too much of Willy Wonka lingering about him as he plays the Mad Hatter, who is promoted to a modern buddy role with Alice. Anne Hathaway’s character as the White Queen was, said Burton, based on Nigella Lawson. This running joke becomes clear in the lipsmacking potion scene.

The creepy fantasy landscapes and kooky costumes have gestated brilliantly on Burton’s famous drawing board, but 3-D effects superimposed after filming seem unnecessary. The miraculous beasts and lurid tropical flowers could have come from Avatar.

Carroll probably never saw Alice as an action-adventure movie with huge battle scenes between red and white armies. Yet John Tenniel’s original illustrations percolate through the film, and the Jabberwock is a near facsimile — although its eyes light up. The Frumious Bandersnatch is more worrying. No longer worth shunning, the beast has been turned by Disney’s Imagineers into a cute, growly, brown-spotted monster. Ditto the Cheshire Cat, who resembles a grubby Garfield.

Commercial considerations have also made Alice 19 years old, for the all-important teen market. Burton lets her break the Victorian mould and become an empowering, feminist figure as she puts on some Joan of Arc armour, grabs the vorpal sword and roars “off with your head” at the Jabberwock. In all, a fantastic film that gets curiouser and curiouser.


One Response to “Alice in Wonderland: Movie trailer and review”

  1. dorian said

    can we all go and see this together…


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