Movie Round-Up: March 5th, 2010

Brooklyn’s Finest:

Saw the trailer, looks interesting, has lots of actors I like… but I’ll probably wait and see this on DVD mostly because while it looks very good, it’s not a big action movie or horror or comedy, the three types of films that I think really benefit from being seen on the big screen and/or with an audience.  But, if you want to go to the theater and see a new movie this weekend, I can think of worse ways to spend your hard earned dollars.  Speaking of…

Alice in Wonderland:

I suppose it may be that I am just weary.  Weary of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp working together.  And the Helena Bonham Carter triumvirate too.  I got to see a screening of this and I’m glad I did because it saved me the $20 it would have cost for the wife and I to go see it.  I was bored.  The story is extremely predictable, and the settings are predictably vibrant and odd.  You know what this movie is going to be before you go in and it makes no effort to surprise you.  Alice goes back to Wonderland, she meets all the people you expect her to meet, she fights, she wins, she goes home.  This was the biggest let down to me.  There are a number of good reimaginings of the Alice tale that would make good films (for example: Frank Beddor’s The Looking Glass Wars) but instead Burton just rehashed the same old stuff with his penchant for weird by making people have large heads, over-sized eyes or lengthened limbs.  Oh, and like 95% of the people in this movie are pale.  And I don’t mean pale as in “light skin with a pink hue” but instead “pasty powdered makeup white”.  I suppose paleness appeals to some, but it doesn’t to me.  And, this movie is also in 3D.  Now, I’ve seen a bunch of 3D movies over the last few years as digital 3D has become all the rage, and Alice in Wonderland is probably the least effective use of 3D ever.  It doesn’t add much depth to the image at all, and in fact it feels more gimmicky because the only two or three times I noticed the 3D was when they stabbed things at the screen.  Unlike, say, Avatar, where they never did any “Hey look! 3D!” screen stabbing that I recall and instead the world just felt deep, because it was.  I didn’t hate the movie though.  It is probably great for families or die hard fans of Burton’s brand of oddness, but I’m glad I was able to see it for free and I don’t think I’ll ever see it again.

One comment

  1. I was able to catch a prescreening of Alice in Wonderland tonight on March 2nd. Despite some pretty nifty visuals, and jaw dropping set pieces, I found the movie to be incredibly dull, flat, and utterly full of itself. The film is merely a vehicle for Johnny Depp to showcase his talents, and he portrays the Mad Hatter as an actor who can’t quite find the right shoes to fill in the role. He rotates from a Scottish brogue, to a feminine lisp, and staggers once in awhile as the unmistakable character of Captain Jack Sparrow. Where the visuals triumph, the story lacks. The proposed ‘sequel’ to Alice in Wonderland is literally a rehash of most of the finer points of the original, except a lot more Johnny Depp- a character who the audience is supposed to sympathize with and root for, but who i found a bit annoying and tiresome after awhile. The plot is fairly simple. Alice (the stone faced, newcomer Mia Wasisoska whose acting is limited to mildly concerned, mildly puzzled, and mildly agitated) flees from an arranged marriage proposal from a wealthy lord. She follows a curious white rabbit and tumbles down a hole into Underland, referred to as Wonderland by Alice. She then meets a variety of odd characters, most of them familiar from the original Alice. The plot is fairly simplistic, and a tad boneheaded. The Red Queen (Bonham Carter, slightly overdoing it, but arguably the best actor of the bunch) rules the land, but is pitted against the tiresome goodness and light of her sister, The White Queen (Hathaway doing an air-headed imitation of, you guessed it, Captain Jack Sparrow). Alice is destined by some ancient scroll to defeat the Jabberwocky and end The Red Queen’s reign of terror. Alice boils down to mere eye candy-something that is visually pleasing, but is only a piece of fluff. If your a fan of Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, this movie is right up your ally. I prefer Burton at his best with movies that attempt to involve the audience like Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, and Big Fish. However, this bloated mess is sure to rank in hundreds of millions of dollars, but it tugs at our wallets rather than our hearts. It’s a scary thought, but I hope that Burton’s best work isn’t behind him. 4/10

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