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Alice in Wonderland (2010) Movie Review

March 6, 2010

Many times we come into a movie with certain expectations, even if they are difficult to define.  Knowing that “Alice in Wonderland” was directed by Tim Burton and had a soundtrack by Danny Elfman and was available in IMAX 3D, I expected to be amazed by the spectacle, overwhelmed aurally and to be excited by a magical tale.  Coming out of the movie, I was certainly amazed by the spectacle and overwhelmed aurally but felt a little disappointed by the magical tale presented.

Tim Burton’s version of “Alice in Wonderland” is an attempt at making a movie more faithful to the original book than previous movies.  A young woman named Alice runs away from her arranged marriage while following a strange rabbit she sees out of the corner of her eye.  The next thing she knows, she has fallen down a rabbit hole into a strange world filled with all sorts of magical creatures.  Just as Alice spends most of the movie confused about what is going on, so too are we the audience left wondering about the point to it all.

The strange world is much darker than the tale many are familiar with from the earlier Disney adaptation.  Gone is the happy tea party with the mad hatter, replaced by a dark world ravaged by the red queen and her evil deeds.  Alice is told that it is her destiny to end the reign of the evil Red Queen by finding the vorpal sword and slaying the queen’s Jabberwocky.  My biggest problem with the story is that the final battle feels like it was thrown in there just to make the movie epic.

I didn’t find the actors’ performances to be anything special either.  Johnny Depp’s version of The Mad Hatter certainly portrays the character as mad but I couldn’t even understand half of the words he said.  Alice and the White Queen gave solid performances but didn’t really stand out as anything special. The highlight of the movie is the soundtrack, composed by Danny Elfman.  Elfman created a beautiful, catchy theme that is used throughout the movie to great effect.  Most of the music is orchestral with the occasional children’s choir used to add effect to the main theme.

I left “Alice in Wonderland” feeling as if it could have been a lot better if it had a more cohesive plot.  As a fan of Burton’s past work I was hoping that the movie would either engage me with exciting action or emotional plot but found neither.  I didn’t find much in the IMAX or 3D that would make it necessary for you to pay extra rather than watching it in the traditional 2D version if available.  The movie felt like it was all spectacle and otherwise lacking in direction or purpose.

3/5

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From → Action, Fantasy

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