On opening day (March 4th, 2010) My mom, my boyfriend Kevin, his cousin Shania, and I loaded up in the car (I of course bedecked in my beautiful Alice dress and apron and some readiculously beautiful but painful heels) and drove to our nearby movie theater to view Tim Burton and Disney team up to tell my life's story (lol ok not my REAL life's story but certainly a huge part of my childhood as I consider it). I was very nervous. I simply adore Tim Burton. Other than Sweeney Todd, which simply wasn't my tipple and had nothing to do with how exquisitely the movie was done, I have yet to find a TB movie I didn't enjoy. But I was very nervous to see how twisted he would make my favorite story. I have done many research projects for sheer curiosity and enjoyment on the Reverend Charles Dodgeson (foremost known as Lewis Carroll) and have a piece of my heart just for him and for the sweet story that brought Alice in Wonderland into existence. I was afraid that our dear Tim Burton would follow the trend (which sounds absolutely ludacris because he doesn't follow a trend of any form, one reason why we love him) of bringing forward the rumors of Lewis Carroll being a pedophile and drug addict. These rumors offend me because anyone who truly researches the man knows that these were entirely false accusations. But this is another topic I will touch on in another post.
I was beautifully and pleasantly surprised with Alice. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, every bit of it. I have to say my favorite element was the wonderland-ful addition of the Jabberwocky references and details. Even though the movie's storyline didn't fallow the exact story lines of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (or Underground as it was originally published) and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There, I fully appreciated this new, rather fan-fiction-esque story that was brought forth. I am a fan of (well-written) fan-fiction and always love to see new spins on classic stories and popular books and was very pleased to see the creativity and the truth to the characters involved used. My heart truly broke for the Mad Hatter (beautifully portrayed by Johnny Depp) and for some reason I wanted to give him a hug during some very desperate points in the movie, which i assume was the goal.
The White Queen (Anne Hathaway) was a very gentle character but I felt that Miss Anne's performance lacked somewhat in sincerity. The character itself was sincere enough but I felt the actress portraying her needed to tap in a little more into her connection with her. Overall, I liked her. The Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) was phenominal but not in the way I expected her. I expected the classic temper-tantrum-till-her-face-turns-tomato-red Queen of Hearts. What I found was a much deeper performance. I loved that the Queen was not just a selfish person (she was indeed that) but also a wounded one. She had much more under her layers of power hunger. She fought the eternal villain question "Is it better to be loved or feared?" The answer made me quite sad for her. An unexpected character, The Knave (Crispin Glover), I found to be well-played to the point of annoying. He was very good at his role, a selfish, manipulating second in command, which of course made us all squirm in our seats wanting to punch him right in the kisser. This, however, is the mark of a well-played villain. Well done Crispin Glover.
I LOVED the March Hare (Paul Whitemouse)! I loved how frantic he was throughout the movie. He reminded me of one of my favorite people, Kevin's cousin, Shania. She and I giggled and joked through the whole movie about the parallels between the two of them. He was throughly enjoyable even in the desperate times. He provided a wonderful comic relief for the tough moments. The Cheshire Cat (Stephan Fry) was much more clever in this telling than I expected. The Cat has always been a point of fun for me as I had my own Cheshire Cat once upon a time, but her name was Cleo and she was a great deal more silent (to the regular observer) than the clever Cheshire. I barely recognized Stephan Fry's voice during this performance. While I usually enjoy Stephen's natural tone, I loved this new, smoother, deeper sound he gave for the Cat. A wonderful job, Mr. Fry. The Dormouse (Barbara Windsor), The Tweedles (Matt Lucas), and The Caterpillar (the ever marvelous Alan Rickman) all gave wonderful performances. I desired more from each of them and felt that there simply wasn't enough screen time for each. Their characters were very well done and the detail on their animation left me stunned with the quality.
I know I've not gone through all of the characters, and I aplogize if I haven't mentioned your favorite, but I simply must move onto my favorite character of all time. Alice.
Alice. Well what can I say? The acting was wonderful. Mia Wasikowska was beautiful and dressed in truly amazing costumes. She did a wonderful job. Of course I was seethingly jealous and at first could not admit this as I've always wanted to be Alice in a movie, but indeed she was wonderful. There were times that, as an actress myself, I felt areas of her performance could have been differently and it would have enhanced it, but the look of wonder that she gave off as she traveled through this magical land was exactly on key. I loved the "Six Impossible Things" monologue best. It deffinately showed me that Alice and I have more in common than I remembered.
Overall rating? About as many stars as there are in the sky! I loved the new story line, all the actors and actresses, the visuals were incredibly, I coveted the costumes, and most importantly I felt like I was there. I felt like I was Alice battling the Jabberwock (an impressive addition, if I may add). I ducked when tea cups and scones were tossed about. My heart broke for the Mad Hatter. And I wanted to help these desperate characters in any way possible.
Thank You Disney and Mr Tim Burton for bringing Underland to life. There is no doubt that this movie will be in my collection for many, many years as soon as it comes to DVD.
The Real Alice