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Movies of the Month > alice in wonderland (tim burton, 2010)

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message 1: by Phillip (last edited Mar 06, 2010 01:03AM) (new)

Phillip | 10700 comments manohla dargis penned a mixed review in the ny times on tim burton's newest. i can't decide if i'm going to try to catch it or wait for dvd.

http://movies.nytimes.com/2010/03/05/...

has anyone seen it?


message 2: by Anna (new)

Anna (lilfox) | 465 comments I also can't decide to go and see it in cinema or wait.


message 3: by Ceci (new)

Ceci (cecialbiceleste) | 529 comments Alice in Wonderland is one of my favorite books. Friends have said great things about the film. BUT... I just can't help thinking that Burton, HBC, Depp and Danny Elfman shouldn't work together again for the next ten years. Too much of a good thing... They're all remarkble but I get the feeling that I've seen it all before. And I have. So... *shrug*


message 4: by Ceci (last edited Mar 06, 2010 01:49AM) (new)

Ceci (cecialbiceleste) | 529 comments It's really the same as with Richad Curtis, Hugh Grant and the romantic comedies. Only much darker and gothic. What was once fresh (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill and Love Actually) is now predictable and boring. Where there's Grant's shy smile and floppy hair, there's Depp's gorgeous oddness. Grant as a total gothic weirdo or Depp as a shy everyman in love -- now, that might be interesting.


message 5: by Tom (new)

Tom | 5414 comments Depp did the shy everyman thing twice already, in WHAT'S EATING GILBERT GRAPE and FINDING NEVERLAND. He's excellent in both.


message 6: by Sooz (new)

Sooz i definitely will see this - am thinking of actually go to Toronto so i can see it on IMAX and 3D.

although i completely agree with Ceci regarding too much of a good thing being the hollywood way, i will take the risk.


message 7: by Ceci (new)

Ceci (cecialbiceleste) | 529 comments Tom, I agree that those are both excellent movies. Neither of them with HBC, Burton or Elfman.


message 8: by Ceci (new)

Ceci (cecialbiceleste) | 529 comments ... and Depp, HBC and Burton are all immensely talented. I just feel that there ought to be some challenge, certain edge, something unexpected. This is more and more like the favorite fairytale being read over and over again. *yawn*


message 9: by Ivan (new)

Ivan Ceci wrote: "... and Depp, HBC and Burton are all immensely talented. I just feel that there ought to be some challenge, certain edge, something unexpected. This is more and more like the favorite fairytale bei..."

I just saw it on IMAX 3D and thought it was wonderful. I don't love "Alice" as a rule, but this I thoroughly enjoyed. The sets, costumes, music and use of animation - and the performances - especially Depp - were perfection.


message 10: by Tom (last edited Mar 07, 2010 07:02AM) (new)

Tom | 5414 comments Saw the film, and was most decidedly not impressed, easily Burton's weakest since PLANET OF THE APES. A marvelous Cheshire Cat and some good moments from Helena Bonham Carter are about all to take away.

Instead of embracing the madness of Lewis Carroll, they've decided to Narnify the story: there's a hokey story about Alice escaping an unwanted arranged marriage and finding herself in Wonderland (or is it Underland?) having to become a champion to defeat the Red Queen so that the White Queen can reclaim the throne. Call it THE RABBIT, THE QUEEN, AND THE RABBIT HOLE and you've got an idea of what to expect.

Still, I'd buy the DVD to FF to the scenes with that Cat. Wondrous.


message 11: by Marlene (new)

Marlene Slade (marlenekslade) | 4 comments I thoroughly enjoyed this film. Tim Burton and Johnny Depp are both masters at their craft. Their combined talents along with a host of other incredibly talented actors made Alice in Wonderland a stunningly visual film and an adventerous favorite. I will certainly be purchasing a copy once this movie is available for sale on DVD and Blue Ray.


message 12: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (lissieb7) I saw this last night in 3-D and absolutely loved it! It was fantastic! I knew going in that it wasn't Alice in Wonderland, but a retelling or re-imagining, so the story wasn't a disappointment or a surprise. I liked that Tim Burton kept a lot of the classic, recognizable elements of Alice in the movie. I thought the sets were breath-taking and beautiful. My husband especially liked getting to see the Jabberwocky, bandersnatch, and the jubjub bird. He's a big Alice fan and these characters aren't often seen in film. Naturally it does have many of the classic Burton elements, but his traditional style is toned down and the movie is much more vibrant and colorful than one would expect.


message 13: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie | 85 comments Saw this one tonight and I absolutely loved it!! I really liked the fact that it was not just a generic retelling of the same old Alice story. I also loved how beautiful and wonderfully fantasy Wonderland (Underland) was.


message 14: by Mawgojzeta (last edited Mar 08, 2010 10:10AM) (new)

Mawgojzeta I went to see it Saturday. I think I might have loved it but I was too busy being irritated and uncomfortable to really enjoy anything.

I had not seen a 3D movie since "Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone" - yes, anyone even remember that movie?!? Boy, that dates me. Anyway, to claim to be excited to see this movie would be an understatement. There is not a good 3D theater anywhere near me, so I bought tickets a month ahead of time to see it near my mother's house, which is a 1 1/2 hour drive.

Then everything went wrong:
*The boyfriend got called into work, so there went my date.
*I got stuck behind a line of cars going 10 miles below the speed limit on a one-lane road for the first half of my drive. I arrived later than expected and with a terrible headache.
*My folks and I ended up in the front row, so I spent the entire movie sitting at an angle with my neck cranked back tight to be able to see the whole screen (my neck is still sore this Monday morning).
*I had a 5/6 year old sitting next to me. She spent most of the movie kicking my leg (squirming around, not deliberate)and bopped me in the head with her doll a couple of times. Her infant brother (who would bring a baby to a movie??) cried for most of the first half before the dad finally took the kid out of the theater.
*I faked having a wonderful time so that my folks would not feel bad.
*I actually cried driving home.

Done whining. Thank you for listening.

I thought it was beautiful and appropriately odd. I thought the actors used were good choices. I liked the background story for Alice and I liked that this was not a copy of the book. I thought the ending was weak, but that could be partially due to my mood prior to and throughout the movie.

My folks absolutely loved it. They could not stop raving about it after we got back to their house.

I look forward to seeing this again; maybe even in a theater before it stops showing. I am certain I will enjoy it more.


message 15: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 10700 comments goodness, you did have a tough time of it. i'm glad you survived!


message 16: by Mawgojzeta (new)

Mawgojzeta Phillip wrote: "goodness, you did have a tough time of it. i'm glad you survived!"

Barely - haha. I joked with my boyfriend later that I am surprised the car didn't break down on the way home, or some other tragedy as the "icing on the cake".


message 17: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 10700 comments hmm. sounds like you suffered enough! the car must have felt sorry for you.

don't you hate having to sit in the front row?


message 18: by Mawgojzeta (new)

Mawgojzeta Dread the front row.


message 19: by Steve (new)

Steve | 957 comments I had to sit in the front row for Shyamalan's nonsensical THE VILLAGE because the theater was so full. At first, I was really angry that so many teenagers were there lighting up their cell phones and talking and goofing off; then I realized that they were in the right, and that I was the moron for spending my hard-earned income on such a piece of garbage.


message 20: by Phillip (last edited Mar 08, 2010 04:08PM) (new)

Phillip | 10700 comments steve-o,
hahahahaha!

mawgojzeta,
the last time i sat in the front row was for the blair witch project. it didn't help.


message 21: by Steve (last edited Mar 08, 2010 03:43PM) (new)

Steve | 957 comments At that moment, I realized that Shyamalan is a charlatan, not an artist; once I did, I rather enjoyed THE VILLAGE as something to mock and laugh at. The friend with whom I saw it and I still laugh about that experience, ha!


message 22: by Phillip (last edited Mar 08, 2010 04:08PM) (new)

Phillip | 10700 comments i only saw his first two efforts - the one with bruce willis and the one with bruce willis. i was bored by the end of the second one, so i departed in search of greener pastures.


message 23: by George (new)

George | 951 comments Phillip, I'd have to say stay out of the pastures, they just can't be trusted. Any movie where much of the action is taken up by watching the wind blow through the grass and trees is bound to have some problems.


message 24: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 10700 comments ahhh, well george, when i said greener pastures, i wasn't referring to "signs".


message 25: by George (new)

George | 951 comments just trying to look out for you.


message 26: by Bess (new)

Bess (Neli) | 12 comments Or The Happening...

I saw Alice and was surprised that I quite liked it - although it was probably also novel watching Alice in Wonderland in a story which had an actual structured storyline as opposed to the original nonsensical approach.

As for the village, I thought it was a hoot, as long as you consider the whole thing a bit of a quirky comedy it's fine.


message 27: by Mawgojzeta (new)

Mawgojzeta This was the text message I got from my 18 year old son regarding "Alice in Wonderland":

"The movie sucked"

Not sure why he did not like it. But not only is this kid a fan of Burton's movies, he is a worldly fellow as far as movies go.

When I speak to him next I am quite curious as to why he did not like it.


message 28: by Sam (new)

Sam | 548 comments "this movie sucked" - i agree

good things first - i know the rules ... lovely production and design ... cool red queen head action ... giggled at the animal furniture at the red queen's castle (ha! - keep your eye out for the bats!) ... and a wonderful cheshire cat

but despite all those cool things - i believe there was one big, fat suckie thing and that caused the other sypmtoms of suckieness - a disjointed, unintelligent story / screenplay ...

yup - it lead to a whole raft of distant, flat characters that i wanted to care about but just didn't ... i know it's kooky wonderland but there was no real cohesion ...

and only glimmers of neat depp-ness (quite a restrained mad hatter ITCO) ...

and where oh where was alice? - why did they use a cardboard cut out?

boringer and boringer


message 29: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 10700 comments ouch, that review is probably going to keep me from seeing this in the theaters...i'll wait for dvd just to have a look. thanks sam, you know i trust your taste in films.


message 30: by Tom (new)

Tom | 5414 comments The thing just felt so, well, ordinary somehow. Occasional flashes of Burton brilliance (a remarkable moment answers the question of what happens to all of the heads that the Red Queen keeps having cut off) but the just blah narrative drags Burton down.

To be fair, Burton seems to be trying for something lighter, after the total midnight darkness of SWEENEY TODD, and that's not a bad thing necessarily.

And I'll agree with Sam -- that girl playing Alice was a severe mistake. She's not up to it.


message 31: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments I'm waiting for Netflix to stock the 1933 version which was just released (for the first time!) on DVD.


message 32: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 10700 comments sad. alice is an awesome story, but i think it is a book that lives in the imagination, and is basically unfilmable. i love what swankmeyer did with the book, but that is certainly not a faithful rendition...

alex, are you talking about the version with w.c. fields, cary grant, et al? it's been ages since i saw that one, but even as a child i wasn't sold on it.


message 33: by Tom (new)

Tom | 5414 comments If anything, the 1933 version is even worse than the Burton film. Very clumsy and fun-free. And Gary Cooper as the White Knight? Dear me.


message 34: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 10700 comments yeah, i don't have fond memories of it.


message 35: by Tom (new)

Tom | 5414 comments BEWARE -- SPOILERS

ALICE is an interesting companion piece to Burton's CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, his other full-out adaptation of a beloved children's classic.

Both films take considerable liberties with their source material. CHARLIE feels more fully realized, somehow, as if the material engaged Burton on a level that ALICE doesn't: there's more of the usual Burton energy. Depp's Wonka and Mad Hatter might be distant cousins: each has a distinct wackadoo hairstyle, neither is seen for long without a top hat, they seem to be rather extravagantly emotionally damaged artistic types, and each forms an emotional bond (of sorts) with the main character.

Both films have some good solid fun, CHARLIE more than ALICE, I'd say. CHARLIE's Oompa Loompa songs and open enjoyment of torturing those rotten kids are joyous, and ALICE has that magnificent Cheshire Cat and some memorable moments from Depp and Helena Bonham Carter's Red Queen. But both CHARLIE and ALICE seem to suffer from being aggressively family-oriented. CHARLIE takes a final 20 minutes to offer a pro-family message, one that isn't a part of Roald Dahl's novel: the fact that 5 out of the 6 families presented in the film are monstrous is carefully ignored in the (oddly frigid) celebration of family domesticity at the film's end.

ALICE goes another route entirely, jettisoning Lewis Carroll's free-form madness for a too-carefully laid out girl-power-friendly narrative taking too-familiar elements from all sorts of sources (Fleming's WIZARD OF OZ, THE LORD OF THE RINGS, THE LION THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE, even SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE) and ends up with a doubtless well-intentioned but simply ridiculous ending, involving young Alice taking hold of her destiny and ending up being sent to China, for heaven's sake, as an apprentice in her father's partner's business. I mean really.


message 36: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 10700 comments nice survey, tom. thanks.


message 37: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (lissieb7) Oddly enough I don't think Alice is meant to be the central figure. As the reader or viewer we travel down the rabbit hole with Alice and see Wonderland along with her. Wonderland should take center stage and we become Alice. For me Tim Burton's Wonderland did take center stage and I felt like Alice, seeing and experiencing all of Wonderland's amazing characters. I don't really mind that it was family friendly. Most of the Alice movies are family friendly and all of them are actually parts of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. For this movie, Tim Burton created his own story, taking Alice back a second time. Oh and as for the end of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I think the point of the family scene was that Willie Wonka had finally found a place to belong and was beginning to make connections with others. For children, this would show that we all belong. Originally, the other five families are more like warnings and the end is something better and perhaps more real that we can try to attain. None of us or our families are perfect, but we can still try.


message 38: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie | 85 comments Great review Melissa!!


message 39: by Tom (new)

Tom | 5414 comments Oh yes, of course, that's very much the point about the end of Burton's CHARLIE, that Wonka lives happily ever after with the Buckets. My annoyance with it is that I don't see that the sudden orgy of happy family-itis in the film has anything to do with what I've been watching for the previous two hours.

I certainly don't have a problem with family friendly, or family oriented, that's not the problem, really. It just felt like both CHARLIE and ALICE needed to add rather too obviously engineered "message" endings to works that did very well without them.

That said, I'm remembering that the first film of WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY manages to add the subplot about Charlie's honesty, to prove that he's worthy of winning the Grand Prize at the end, and I'll freely admit that I always get a little lump in my throat when Gene Wilder delivers that final warning about what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted (he lived happily ever after, of course). That little bit always moves me far more than the blatant MESSAGE that Burton tacks on to his film of CHARLIE.

Melissa, I'm not sure I agree with your point about Alice not being meant to be the central figure of Burto's ALICE. Therre's that extended prologue in the film that seems to aim to build up a lot of sympathy for her, and set up a lot of what she'll be dealing with on her visit to Wonder/Underland, a la the opening section of Fleming's film of THE WIZARD OF OZ. The whole film revolves around her and her journey into being a champion, and all that. I think she's the central figure, all right, as Dorothy is in the earlier film. If only they'd cast an actress of anywhere near the same abilities.


message 40: by Phillip (last edited Mar 12, 2010 11:38AM) (new)

Phillip | 10700 comments i never saw a reason to remake charlie...the gene wilder version is like a warm blanket for me. who needs a new one when the old one isn't broken and serves its purpose perfectly?

i hear what melissa is saying about alice and that to some extent carroll posits her as an observer that makes her way through wonderland - and yeah - she is us: the audience. but if you don't give an audience more than that - if you don't show us how that journey (that we are all taking) changes the main character (or us - we have to feel like we've changed somehow at the end) then there isn't much in the way of a dramatic structure that will pay off in the final resolution. i haven't seen the newest wonderland - but i know dramatic structure. those are the rules and people have tried to bend them....to varying degrees of success.


message 41: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (lissieb7) I can see your point about Alice and I much prefer Gene Wilder's Willy Wonka. It is an old favorite!


message 42: by Tom (last edited Mar 12, 2010 06:57PM) (new)

Tom | 5414 comments That's the point, Philip: Burton's ALICE breaks no rules whatsoever. Burton's film does it all by the book: it shows the journey, it shows how it changes the main character, it has all the dramatic structure anyone could want, it all pays off in the final resolution. And unfortunately it is a big fat bore.

If anyone bent the rules of dramatic structure, it was good old Lewis Carroll, who wrote a weird little children's book filled with private jokes, surreal poems and some of the wildest imagery ever to be not induced by hallucinogenics, no serious moral to speak of, and he did it with a degree of success that eludes Burton and his screenwriter.


message 43: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 10700 comments sad


Lol...Naruto Rocks! (Katelyn, Haku.) I want to see this movie, for all of you guys who reviewed, thanks, now I know what to expect.


message 45: by Sooz (last edited Mar 14, 2010 11:21AM) (new)

Sooz Phillip wrote: "sad"

damn.
that's exactly what i was thinking.
sad.

i was really wanting it to be more.


message 46: by Usako (new)

Usako (bbmeltdown) I watched this movie in 3D. I found it a lil gimmicky with the 3D effects compared to Avatar. The ending was a little disappointing.


message 47: by George (new)

George | 951 comments Saw the movie over the weekend. It felt a lot like cotton candy to me, pretty to look at and very sweet, but no substance. I very much liked Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter, and there's no shortage of interesting images, but the beginning and the end are a bit too Wizard of Oz. the only thing it lacked was Alice saying, gee, White Rabbit, I guess we aren't in England anymore. You knew where the movie would end, more or less, within the first 10 minutes. I don't feel like it wasn't worth the price of the ticket, but I came away hungry for something of more substance.


message 48: by Phillip (last edited Aug 02, 2010 10:15AM) (new)

Phillip | 10700 comments finally got around to seeing this on dvd - i would echo a lot of the criticisms that mia wasikowska doesn't really have the right stuff for the role. in some ways, from those first scenes in the garden you see a promise of a strong intelligent young woman that sort of withers the minute she gets to wonderland. she stands up to her mother, her potential mother in law, her pastry-filled fiance-to-be, and a host of other people i would want to avoid, but suddenly when she gets to wonderland she loses her backbone. strange.

some nice images in wonderland - sets were cool and must have cost a pretty penny to produce, but so much of the cgi just makes everything look as flat as a hallmark greeting card. agree with tom that the cheshire cat breathes a breath of fresh air into the mix - i also liked the final scene with the caterpillar as he slips into his cocoon. helena bonham carter cracked me up a few times. lines like, "drinky", "i love my fat boys" and "my jabber-baby-wocky" made laughter leap effortlessly. i don't think anyone ever nailed the spoiled child thing quite as well.

depp seemed a bit stilted in this film. not sure if he worked or not. there was the nice dichotomy of his calm and mad self, but he seemed to lack humanity. that touch of sadness at the end when he knows alice is going to leave was the only scene where i felt he was connected with his fellow actors. anne hathaway, who i usually can't stand, didn't annoy me as much as she usually does. she brought a bit of humor to most of her scenes.

but the parts don't really add up to a satisfying whole. i've always wanted more from filmic versions of alice in wonderland. i said it in an earlier post - i think this book really lives in your imagination and is basically un-filmable.


message 49: by Sam (new)

Sam | 548 comments did ya see the bats??


message 50: by Phillip (last edited Aug 02, 2010 05:20PM) (new)

Phillip | 10700 comments not really ... where were they?
dang, do i have to watch it again?


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