“Alice in Wonderland” Far Better World than Pandora

Genres: Science Fiction/Fantasy and Adaptation
Running Time: 1 hr. 49 min.
Release Date: March 5th, 2010 (wide)
MPAA Rating: PG for fantasy action/violence involving scary images and situations, and for a smoking caterpillar.
Distributors: Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Studios Distribution

Director: Tim Burton

JJ Rating: A

Alice follows the rabbit, again. Alice falls in the hole, again. Alice goes to a tea party, again. Alice meets the Queen of Hearts, again. Alice, Alice, Alice…Alice in Wonderland.

It’s not called Wonderland it’s Underland because it’s a real place under our world. Alice just misheard. They don’t go into detail in the movie. I read that somewhere. You learn something without having to see the movie. The film is PG for action, scary images and….a smoking caterpillar. I have never seen an MPAA rating description that got so specific like that; instantly amusing.

I was underwhelmed when I watch Alice in Wonderland— I wanted more. This is why I didn’t watch a lot of trailers or shows discussing it. I didn’t want high expectations. I was underwhelmed with other movies like There will be Blood, No Country for Old Men, Monster’s Ball, and The Reader; they were not as good as people pretentiously droned. With Alice in Wonderland, however, it was different. I liked the film. I really liked it, but what I wanted it to keep going, even though it was already 1 hour and 49 minutes. People love Avatar and wished it to be real; I love Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland and wanted it to never end. Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Stephen Fry, Paul Whitehouse and Barbara Windsor were fantastic. They created a world with their presence within Tim Burton’s fantastic interpretation of Lewis Carroll’s imagination. The characters themselves were bigger than the time they’re allotted and the amount the actors gave towards each part was extraordinary.

I enjoyed Johnny Depp’s portrayal of The Mad Hatter. His mannerisms and facial expressions framed the astonishing look (Mad Hatter) that he and Tim Burton created. Helena Bonham Carter as the Queen of Hearts was outstanding. She clipped her lines quickly and left no room for hanging S’s or loose vowels; just as she would need to with wanting people loosing their heads every second. Anne Hathaway was hilarious in her floating and gracefulness, as well as her gagging because of things that were less so. Stephen Fry was a melodic Cheshire Cat, his voice soothing out the very alarming large grin of a character that has a slow form of ADHD; he could never be in one place for very long. The March Hare’s twitching due to too much coffee or lack of mental constraint did not matter because he was hilarious and entertaining. Then there’s Alice who is played by Mia Wasikowska. Alice tends to be someone who is always in doubt of what is going on in Wonderland and her attitude is dry with a hint of attitude. She was never created to overshadow the other characters. Mia did a great job being the calm, dry, unsure of herself Alice that is big enough to balance out the nut characters of Wonderland.

Wonderland (or Underland) looked incredible. Tim Burton has a great eye. It’s a beautiful place with vibrant colors. The land takes on the personality of who occupies it, at times like the Queen of Heart’s castle. It looks majestic from a distance, but the closer one gets the darker it looks. The moat itself is very telling of what her favorite past time is. The White Queen’s castle is bright, pure and inviting. I just wanted to jump into the screen and take a tour.

Alice in Wonderland happens to be one of those movies where you’ll either love it or hate it; in my case I love it. I love the way the story’s told. I love the way the characters were handled by the actors and how they look. It’s well put together. I’d watch it again. Watching the Mad Hatter interacting with everyone was entertaining. Great scenes that standout in my memory were the Mad Hatter vs. The Queen of Hearts, Tweedledee and Tweedledum vs. The Queen of Hearts, Alice vs. The Queen of Hearts, The White Queen vs. the Queen of Hearts, the Mad Hatter vs. Knave of Hearts, the March Hare, and the Cheshire Cat vs. The Mad Hatter then the Queen of Hearts. That Queen was great.

There are many different versions of “Alice in Wonderland” and this film adaptation is just another to add to the pile. I have never read “Alice in Wonderland”. I’ll put it on my list and maybe get to it after I finish the Percy Jackson series (oddly addicting for being a young adult story). Tim Burton is one of my favorite directors. I have seen most of his movies and I have not been disappointed the ones I’ve seen. I look at Alice in Wonderland as a film that introduced me to the same characters I’ve met before but these have a different charm to them. Other versions of Alice in Wonderland entertained me, but Tim Burton’s version has a gravitational pull. Every time I think Alice in Wonderland I’ll want to visit, I’ll want to watch it again. Maybe I’ll find a White Rabbit to follow down a hole and not get arrested.

Wonderland or Pandora? Pandora gestated in the mind of a pretentious director. Though creative and ingenious in what he has accomplished it pails in comparison to a world that was created in words on paper 145 years ago (1865) by a writer (Lewis Carroll) who did not have CGI to bring his visions to life. All he had was his imagination. Through well placed words, incredible characters he passed on his imagination to anyone that chose to read his story. In 145 years from now if Avatar is still remembered and spoken of in awe, then maybe it’ll have enough relevance to be cool in my book, but then again “Alice in Wonderland” will be 290 years old and probably that much cooler. Wonderland (even Tim Burton’s version) is better than Pandora—times infinity and beyond.

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