02 April 2010

Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland

I don't like Tim Burton. So I wasn't really excited about this movie, despite the fact (or maybe especially because) I love Alice in Wonderland. Nonetheless, this movie far surpassed my expectations of suckitude. It was so unbelievably bad that I don't even relish hating on it. It was just an utter waste of my time.

Let's leave aside the fact that it bears no real relation to Lewis Carroll's phenomenal books. Though it doesn't. Aside from the scene where Alice grows and shrinks to get into the tiny door at the beginning, there's pretty much nothing else from the original story at all, aside from the names of the characters. Not only do the characters not resemble themselves as characters except somewhat in appearance, they also don't serve the same plot functions. But if you changed the characters' names, you would never in a million years guess that this was Alice in Wonderland. Which of course I find annoying - why sign on for the project at all if you don't actually like the story? I understand that you may think, eh, it's been done many times, let's change it a bit, make it new. But this isn't making it new. This is just a different movie. So the only real reason, that I can tell, that it's called Alice is because he figured then people would go see it.

So let's pretend it IS just a Tim Burton movie, with no original text. You know what? It SUCKS. The plot is completely stupid and overwrought, the dialogue is painfully bad, and much of the acting - particularly Alice herself - is awful. The shining star of the film, curiously enough, is Anne Hathaway, who's surprisingly amusing if somewhat stilted. Helena Bonham Carter is pretty good, and Johnny Depp is too (though why he suddenly becomes Scottish is a bit beyond me). But they can't save this steaming pile of crap. I really cannot impress upon you just how trite, tedious, and predictable the plot is. Well, predictable isn't entirely right - you can see the ending from a mile away, but meanwhile, there's plenty of unnecessary filler that does nothing whatsoever for the story except take up time. There's plenty of sentimentalized moralizing and oddly empty politicizing - ugh. It's just so bad.

Finally, what really surprised me was how visually uninteresting it was. There is absolutely no reason to see the movie in 3D. Actually, at some moments the 3D was so clumsily rendered that I actually tried to take the glasses off. Furthermore, the look of the film - where one expected Tim Burton to really shine (albeit in fully cliche goth fashion) - was largely uninteresting. Yes, the Red Queen's big head was neat. The Mad Hatter looked rather like Burton's Willy Wonka, except with clown makeup, and everyone else was basically a slightly goth-er version of the Disney adaptation. Actually, no - the Disney cartoon is far more visually lush and interesting.

Please don't see this movie. Please let it be a crashing failure at the box office. It's not even the kind of bad where it's so bad that you should see it just to see how terrible a movie can be - it's just banal. It's really not worth your time.

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