Alice in Wonderland...

I almost didn't post about this movie, but I have written about every movie I have seen since I started this blog nearly a year ago, and it felt wrong not to mention it in some capacity. It's just that I had perhaps the least visceral response to Tim Burton's new rendition of Alice in Wonderland of any film I have seen in the past year, positive or negative. Despite spending three weeks as the top-grossing film in the country, I just couldn't figure out what all the fuss was about.

In its favor, I will say that I appreciated the framing of the story in this version. In my previous encounters with Alice in Wonderland, I have never quite followed the plot. The story always seemed rather hackneyed, and more of an excuse to string together as many fantastical events as possible. In Burton's film, I found the story to be more streamlined, although the highly implausible ending really irritated me. For whatever reason, I could accept a parade of bizarre occurrences as they played out in the fantasy world of Wonderland, but a fantastical ending in the real world that bookended Alice's sojourn in Wonderland was more than I could handle.

Furthermore, the couture worn by Mia Wasilkowska's Alice was inspiring indeed, but I found her actual performance to be significantly less so. Whether or not the character believed herself to be participating in a type of lucid dream, it seemed to me that she might have expressed some small degree of wonderment at the creatures and situations she encountered. After all, it is called "Wonderland." Also contributing a blithe, lifeless performance was Ann Hathaway. Johnny Depp contributed another one of the quirky turns which he could probably perform in his sleep at this point, and the only performance of any substance in the entire film came in the form of Helena Bonham Carter's overly CGI-ed Red Queen. Simply put, the acting in this film was somewhat of a bore.

I was also significantly underwhelmed by the special effects. Granted, we didn't make it to a 3-D showing of the film, but it seems to me that the effects should have been able to stand on their own, even if they weren't popping out of the screen at me. Not unlike Avatar, in a film with so little else going for it, I at least expect to be visually wowed, and I was not.

Ultimately, I can't recommend Alice in Wonderland on pretty much any level. It might be worth watching sometime if you run across it on television, but it is neither compelling enough to see in the theater, or to put in your Netflix queue. There are much more interesting films with which to occupy your time.

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