Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Alice In Wonderland

Isn't Alice supposed to be this little 10 year old who is letting her imagination go wild? Why are we watching this 19 year old girl grow and shrink and fight dragons according the prophecy?

That, my friends, is the beauty of this spectacular movie. Tim Burton brings alive the characters from the original book, in this twisted, tongue-in-cheek morbid dark fantasy. A true visual treat. Traditionalists may argue against, saying this is not the original, but this is NOT MEANT to be the original at all.

The references to the book, strike you only if you've read it. That is what failed with respect to the audience. Most people today haven't read the book. They wonder why the caterpillar was blue and keeps accusing Alice of not knowing who she is. In the book, Alice grapples with an identity crisis in her dream and the caterpillar ridicules her and asks her to repeat 'You are old, Father William' which he subsequently dismisses saying it was wrong. Why is the red queen playing croquet with a flamingo and a hedgehog? Or why are the knaves painting the white roses red? Hallucinogenic, sarcastic humor at its best.

The movie starts off with a grown up Alice and her recurring nightmares. She ends up in Wonderland - that's what she calls it when she was young - and meets these curious characters who seem to remember her well and have been waiting for her all this while. The plot does get a bit confusing for someone like me, who hasn't read 'Through the looking Glass' and wonder what exactly they are talking about when they mention the Jabberwocky and where did Tweedle dee and dum feature in this?

Johnny Depp looks every bit the mad character that he portrays. The mad tea party is crazy and dark. You get this weird feeling while watching it, which is what I think Tim Burton was aiming at. It feels like one of those dreams where the characters are crazy and weird and you don't quite know what to do. The only part I felt that was forced is when Alice walks through the woods and says 'curiouser and curiouser'. It was almost like that line HAD to be there to make the movie legitimate. A little more conviction and expression would have made it work. The costumes were outstanding. Alice's couture dresses deserve a mention. Over all, the movie, the acting, make up, costumes, were out of this world - literally. A definite must watch, just make sure you read a bit of the book to really appreciate it.