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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Movie Review - Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland 3D (2010)
Starring Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Crispin Glover, and Mia Wasikowska
Directed by Tim Burton

With a complete lack of whimsy and a rather heavy-handed joyless approach, Tim Burton's re-telling of Alice in Wonderland is just a dull bore.   Thirteen years ago, young Alice "fell down the rabbit hole" and entered the zany Wonderland.  Now, as a nineteen-year-old girl on the verge of womanhood, Alice (a bland Mia Wasikowska) happens to fall down the hole again.  While in Wonderland, she is told by all that she's the land's savior -- for, you see, the evil Queen of Hearts (played with gusto by Helena Bonham Carter) has taken over everything, forcing her sister, The White Queen (Hathaway) to be exiled, and causing some to live in a state of fear.

Yes, the whole premise of any Alice in Wonderland story hinges on "the odd," but it also always has a sense of childhood playfulness.  Everything in Burton's film feels so heavy-handed.  With the exception of the humorously nasty Bonham Carter, every other character feels like they were told to be as blasé as possible.  Mia Wasikowska didn't even seem like she wanted to be there -- not an ounce of emotion.  And the less said about Anne Hathaway the better.

That being said, on the complete opposite side of the spectrum is Johnny Depp who was given free reign to do whatever he damn well pleased and his Mad Hatter is a wreck.  Yes, I get that Depp was playing him as über-crazy and drugged-out, but when your character is so utterly incoherent, it just seems like painful overacting.  And I realize it's just a minor point, but let's not even discuss the Mad Hatter's "dance" at the end of the film (which they had been teasing throughout the movie) -- what an awful scene.

Granted, I've never been a big fan of any Alice in Wonderland tale, but everything about Burton's version seemed so utterly dark and joyless.  If you wanted to go that route, go all-out depressing (or even veer into the horror genre or something).  As it stands now, Burton's version is a dud.

The RyMickey Rating: D

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