If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Well everyone's going over the 2010 releases, let downs and surprises, hits and bombs, so I thought I'd join the bandwagon. But rather than make an entire list (I'm too fucking lazy for that. What do you think I am? Productive?), I'm going to review a movie I had been wanting to review for a while. Yes, no surprise, Tea Party Rat is reviewing Alice in Wonderland: Tim Burton Edition.
Granted, I had no high hopes for this film to be honest. I actually expected it to be... well, pretty dreadful. I loved Tim Burton before he started to make movies for HotTopic merchandise instead of making movies for the sake of making movies. And remakes. God-awful remakes like Planet of the Apes and the more recent Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Which should have been renamed "Willy Wonka and His Awkward Sob Story".)
Anyways, the movie stars Mia Wasikowska as Alice, who is 19 years old and supposed to marry even though she has no remote interest in doing so. But it's the Victorian era, who cares what a woman thinks, right? So she runs off to contemplate her own marriage (Implying she'd have a choice...?) and runs after the White Rabbit (Michael Sheen) to find herself in... "Underland"? Well we meet some familiar folk such as the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp - Surprise?), the Cheshire Cat (Stephen Fry), Tweedledum and Tweedledee (Matt Lucas), the Dormouse (Barbara Windsor), the March Hare (Paul Whitehouse) and the Blue Caterpillar (Alan Rickman) as our heroes engage in a simplistic plot that only a fanfiction writer could be proud of.
Helena Bonham Carter plays an awkwardly designed Red Queen who is raging against her ghostly, yet still gorgeous sister counterpart the White Queen, played by the lovely Anne Hathaway, whose breasts have graced us this year in Love and Other Drugs. The Red Queen is already in full control of Wonderland and I guess they're going to war because the White Queen wants power back? Well regardless, it's apparently foretold that Alice be the one to slay the Jabberwocky and save Wonderland and all that other rot. Just by reading the plot you know damn well how this movie's going to end, so let me just save you the trouble in telling you that it's the most anti-climatic ending I've seen in a long while to be honest. But then again, not a whole lot of tension was built up for it anyway, so I guess somewhere I hopelessly thought this movie could be saved. But nope, this was nowhere near what it could have been.
If you know your Lewis Carroll, you know damn well this isn't based off of any of the books and was just essentially a rehash, chopped up, chaotic mess of the series along with some newfound 'ideas' slipped in and a slight rip on American McGee's Alice, but if it were G-rated... and you get this. But let me get out of the way: It's not a TERRIBLE movie. What it is is just an overblown mediocrity, but it's nothing worth eye-gouging. Minus that embarrassing "futterwacken" thing Johnny Depp does.
Well the visuals are certainly pretty, as are some of the costume designs. The CGI on the Cheshire Cat is especially impressive on the textures of the individual fur pieces and I'm not gonna lie, nothing impresses The Tea Party Rat more than seeing...
Why helloooo Knave!
... Crispin Hellion Glover. <3
Even if it's a terrible movie, just seeing him in it makes me smile. C: Crispin Glover plays Stayne, the Knave of Hearts, the not-so loyal sidekick of the Red Queen who seems to have a "tall" fetish as proven by his attempt to hit-on Alice.
Kudos to Stephen Fry for an excellent voice for the Cheshire Cat, who's one of the more interesting characters of the film. Of course, I can't help but also enjoy the Dormouse and the March Hare and the tea party itself was... alright. Nothing fun or whatnot, but it was nice to have a revisit of one of the most popular scenes from the series. (But then I wanted some tea, which movie theaters don't serve... how blasphemous!) The March Hare honestly cracked me up at just how batshit he was and the Dormouse.... fuck it, put a rodent in anything, and I'll probably love it.
... Okay, maybe not...
Aside from those little pros, I don't find the movie that satisfying. Everyone pretty much blew it up to be better than it was and even though I didn't have high expectations, I still came out disappointed and confused as to how the movie could have possibly been over already. But it's not a bad movie, it's not painful to watch... just really bland. Overall, it's nothing special and even with the Crispin Glover parts. (Which only I care about of course, but...) It's not a very memorable film, in fact I'm straining myself to remember it. The other thing that's annoying is that while the CG is really good, it is sorta... overused to a ridiculous extent. Alice's actor is very sub-par in my opinion and Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter I think are both miscast... but then again, I think Burton rewrote the Hatter to fit Depp.
If you haven't seen it in the theater, don't bother with the DVD. You haven't missed a whole lot. But don't worry, look on the bright side: Tim Burton's choice to film this movie means he'll never attempt to make a film adaption to American McGee's Alice... and I don't want him to ruin that property for me. Period.
The tl;dr version: Beautiful CGI and Crispin Glover goes to waste on a very amateur, hollow story that was rushed to an anti-climatic end, making the film seem pretty much incomplete. Not terrible, but not as stellar as most people seem to think it is for some reason.