Alice in Wonderland

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Look! It’s a bird, it’s a plane – no, it’s Brandon, rising from the dead to write a review! It’s a miracle, I know, but I just saw quite possible one of my favorite films of all time, and I decided to make my comeback with it.

I went into Alice in Wonderland with huge hopes. Ever since I’d heard bits of rumors that this movie might actually be made, I’d been on the edge of my seat with anticipation. From the first teaser trailer, I knew that I’d have to see this movie. I’m a huge fan of Tim Burton, and when Johnny Depp was announced as the Mad Hatter…well, that sealed the deal for me. This was going to be at the top of my “To See” list.

I suppose I should first start with my favorite aspect of the film, the visuals. As always, Burton has created a world unlike any other; he has taken a classic story and put a dark, semi-gothic twist on it. Just like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Burton completely flips and twists the world in which the story is set, from the one that the viewer is most familiar with – in this case, the 1951 Disney animated feature. No longer is Wonderland a bright and mysterious place – it’s taken an obvious turn for the worst. The landscape is barren, and the entire world seems to be gloomy. This is definitely a welcome change, as it completely fits the storyline of the movie.

Speaking of storyline, this version of Alice is what Burton calls a “re-imagining” of the story – Alice is 19, and the events in Wonderland don’t directly follow Lewis Carroll’s original books, nor the 1951 Disney adaptation. Without giving any spoilers of the movie, I will say that the storyline is very well crafted. Burton has definitely achieved his goal of wanting this movie to “feel more like a story and less like a string of events”. This movie definitely moves from one scene to another much better than the ’51 Alice, as this film actually has a set plot to it. The events are quite suspenseful as well, though I think some scenes were unnecessary, and were only added in for laughs.

Of course, you can’t have a Tim Burton movie without Johnny Depp. The two make for an infallible pair, and once again, the combination results in much entertainment. Depp again shows that he is the man to play the oddest characters, and gives the Mad Hatter the insane portrayal he deserves. Helena Bonham Carter makes an appearance as the Red Queen, and does an amazing job. The actress I was most pleased with, however, was Mia Wasikowska as Alice. She’s a relatively unknown actress outside of the United Kingdom, but I can’t see why. Her rendition of Alice was spot on, and she seemed to definitely enjoy the role. Not to mention the fact that she definitely looks the part. One more note on the acting – as an avid Harry Potter film, I was quite surprised to see a few actors and actresses from the HP films make small appearances. Alan Rickman, Frances de la Tour, and Imelda Staunton all have small roles, and did quite well in them.

This movie isn’t perfect, but its flaws aren’t enough to make it less of a film. A few scenes of cheesy dialogue bothered me a bit, as I felt they really weren’t needed for the progression of the film. Even though Burton meant for the film to feel like a story, it felt like a rush to me – some scenes were very quick, while others dragged on. There was a lack of balance between the two, and to me, it messed the flow of the story up just a bit. However, these flaws were not nearly enough to ruin the film for me, or the rest of the audience. One note – you might want to reconsider if you were thinking of taking children to see this movie. There are some pretty intense scenes that might scare the little ones!

Overall, I found hardly any flaws with Alice in Wonderland. This movie definitely delivers. It is a worthy remake of the classic story, and will please everyone. I highly recommend you see this movie, whether you are a fan of Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, or just Alice – this movie is definitely worth watching.

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