Saw the latest Alice in Wonderland movie last night.
I love movies, and I always want to enjoy myself at the movies. I tried hard to enjoy Alice. I went in with an open mind, honest.
I'm not qualified to give a really robust review of the film, to place it in cinematic context or anything. I'm just a popcorn-crunching lout. For the full treatment, read Steven Graydanus' write-up at Decent Films.
I can only say that the experience, like Disney's Prince Caspian, left me - for all the unrelenting noise and spectacle - completely unmoved throughout. Stunning visual effects are very commonplace and expected, now, but the whole thing was simply dreary, dull and hollow.
Even the pleasure of Lewis Carroll's famous nonsense is denied us. The fun of the Bandersnatch and the Jabberwock is the sound of their names and the fact that Carroll never descibes them in his poem, but leaves the full extent of their obviously horrific form to the reader's imagination.
Every detail of this latest film adaptation is mapped out in dogged realism, and the Jabberwock turns out to be... a dragon from Central Casting. *yawn*...
The heroine Alice is pretty, but strangely aloof and detached the entire time. One doesn't care much what happens to her. Johnny Depp makes a game effort as the Mad Hatter and is very much himself, for good or ill. Helena Bonham Carter makes a fitting Red Queen, but from start to finish the film takes itself far to seriously. It's supposed to be Alice Through the Looking Glass, but symphonic music swells ominously throughout, dark clouds roll and we are dragged through scene after scene of ham-fisted pathos.
Trying to elicit new and deeper insights on the human condition from Alice in Wonderland is like trying to write a serious philosophical treatise on The Benny Hill Show. It misses the point from the get-go. Benny Hill would fart on your self-important treatise. His show was an escape from all such things, a break in the Sturm und Drang. Alice is supposed to be fun.
By all rights this new Alice should be fun... but it isn't, at all. It is a joyless slog through a brilliant computer-generated fantasy world. Not one genuine laugh througout. I would ten times rather have the entire 3-D world of the movie on a disc and go exploring through the little details the designers have concocted. They are the only real creative talents involved in the project (Tim Burton, et al...). The story and the dialogue are as flat as last night's beer.