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Alice in Wonderland (2010)

March 8, 2010

VERDICT:
2/10 Electric Kool-Aid Acid Tests

Tim, I don’t know how you did it, man, but great job on making Planet of the Apes look like your magnum opus.

Alice in Wonderland is about a girl who’s about to be wed to some hideous English dude against her will, so she says, “Eff that noise, chums!” and ditches him at the altar before chasing after a rabbit that no one else can see. Next thing you know, she ends up falling down a rabbit hole and finds herself being touted by many a talking animal as the long-awaited savior of a world that was probably dreamed up by Timothy Leary.

Now, I’ve always been a big Tim Burton fan, but, boy, I really don’t know what happened here. The source material seemed to be right up his alley since it’s weird as hell and even though none of it really works in the long run, I’m gonna give him the benefit of the overwhelming doubt and say that it’s not all his fault. My thinking behind this is that the script he has to work with is a total piece of crap.

It’s not funny, it’s not amusing, it’s totally rushed and there’s nothing more than a semblance of a story line keeping it all together. Everything that made the first Disney version back in ’51 so memorable is stripped bare; it’s no longer a fun adventure through this strange, endearing fantasy world, it’s somehow turned into a sad drudge that sucks from the get-go and becomes increasingly more aggravating to sit through with each new awful, awful scene. 

Although from a visual standpoint, it is quite pretty. Tim gets to go nuts with the makeup and costumes and whatnot, so that’s nice, but it still doesn’t feel very “Burtonesque”. It’s all very whimsical, but it’s also very borrowed and doesn’t really play up the nightmarish qualities of Tim’s imagination that no one else can pull off. Just feels like an accentuated version of stuff we’ve all seen before.

And with the exception of newcomer Mia Wasikowska who’s pretty good as Alice, everyone else is just meh. Johnny Depp is okay as the Mad Hatter but his on-again-off-again Scottish accents gets to be annoying quick, Helena Bonham Carter is painfully annoying as The Red Queen if only because of the way she squeals “OFF WITH HIS HEAD!” throughout the whole damn movie, and the same goes for the rest of ’em.

Good call getting Alan Rickman to play the caterpillar, though. Always a good call to cast Rickman. 

Well, this is usually the part of the review where I talk about how I didn’t like the movie but my good buddy Fred did and how different strokes are indeed for different folks, but unfortunately, that ain’t gonna happen today. I saw this the other night with three of my friends, Fred included, and while we were all relatively excited to see it, I was kind of amazed at how much we all found ourselves utterly loathing this movie long before it was over.

One of my friends fell asleep for a while and commented that, “It wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever seen,” as soon as the credits started to roll. Fred also fell asleep for a while, said that it probably was the worst thing he’d ever seen and that he seriously contemplated leaving to go drink alone at the theater wine bar after he woke up – and while I’m not usually one to promote boozing by your lonesome, I probably would have followed suit in this instance.

And as for me, well, I did my best to try and give this one a 3, but then the dialogue managed to hit a new low of corny within the last ten minutes and Johnny Depp started breakdancing like Regan from The Exorcist. It was at this point that I pointed my finger at my face and started emptying an invisible clip into my brain.

The best thing I can say about Alice in Wonderland is that if you and your friends are looking to bond by actively hating on a movie, this one’ll do the trick. With the exception of being able to walk out of the theater and not feel like That Guy who didn’t like a movie that everyone else clearly went apeshit over, this was just an entirely unenjoyable, unentertaining and painfully annoying movie to sit through in every way. Seeing it in 3-D doesn’t help much either.

But I did get to see the first full-length trailer for Tron Legacy, and that was freakin’ awesome.

So, folks, consider yourself warned and don’t make the same mistake I did – stay at the wine bar, get a little tipsy, make a new friend, get creative. Just don’t see this movie.

And keep the kids away, they wont like it either.

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27 Comments leave one →
  1. March 8, 2010 8:13 am

    Seeing all these bad reviews of this movie really does have me disappointed. Oh well, not all films can be great, sorry Tim.

  2. Moose permalink
    March 8, 2010 9:51 am

    That’s dissappointing to hear, but I actually kind of thought that might be the case on this film. I wanted to be like it, but from everything I saw, I just couldn’t get excited about it. And I can’t believe it made like $115 million over the weekend.

    • March 8, 2010 10:01 am

      I hear ya’, man. Felt the same way.

      And yeah, was not expecting it to clean up like it did. Suck on that one Jim Cameron.

  3. March 8, 2010 1:39 pm

    Oh OUCH 2/10!!!!!!! I was not planning on seeing this but that’s a harsh grade 😉 Sorry to see it disappointed so badly man.

    • March 8, 2010 1:50 pm

      Haha, I was surprised too, man. Harsh grade for a harsh movie.

  4. mcarteratthemovies permalink
    March 8, 2010 1:46 pm

    This is very disheartening — I have such high hopes! From what I hear it’s all looks and no substance with a few good performances.

  5. Darren permalink
    March 8, 2010 8:10 pm

    Yep, I didn’t really like it and I think that’s a little mean! I see where you’re coming from, though. Being honest, I didn’t so much have an issue with the breakdancing Johnny Depp as much as with that weird-ass music they had him rotating to. Creepy or what?

    • March 8, 2010 9:00 pm

      Beyond creepy. I think I reserve the right to be as mean as can be when I dish out thirty bucks to go on a movie date. Effin’ 3D…

      • Darren permalink
        March 10, 2010 8:58 am

        Thirty bucks? Is that just tickets (because if it includes drinks and stuff it’s not too bad)?

      • March 10, 2010 9:41 am

        Two 3-D tickets = 30 bucks. Highway robbery.

  6. Crystal permalink
    March 9, 2010 4:13 pm

    I spent $9 to see this movie. I would have gotten more entertainment out of putting each dollar on an open flame and watching it burn slowly. Talk about “Can’t wit til this is over so I can go home and watch Golden Girls reruns.”

    • March 9, 2010 4:25 pm

      Hahahaha. Completely agree. Be thankful it was only 9 bucks, can’t remember the last time I went to a theater with prices like that.

  7. Scarto permalink
    March 10, 2010 4:10 am

    So true. I watched it in 3D last night but i wish i hadn’t seen the movie. It totally sucked ass. I almost fell asleep at some point. The white queen was grotesque (not to mention the big head red queen).
    The story – nothing new. I thought it was a movie for children. But then again, i don;t think they will enjoy it either.

    Regards

  8. March 10, 2010 6:51 pm

    *sigh*

    Why am I quickly beginning to feel like the great defender of this film??? Wanna know the funny thing, despite what my alter-ego might suggest…I’m not the biggest Alice junkie!

    But to the issues at hand…

    The story: Not terrible in the way that they decided to base much of it on The Jabberwocky poem, but far too low-boil for this type of film. At least though, this Alice adventure has an overall arc…rather than “Wonderland/Looking Glass” which is just her stumbling from curious scene to suriouc scene.

    Hatter/The Queen: You do remember how nutty these characters are supposed to be, right? They are supposed to be so absurd that even a six-year-old Alice can see that they’re acting absurd. In that respect, I’d say Helena and Johnny played them bang on.

    Further, where The Hatter is concerned, I enjoyed the mixed up way in which Depp played him. The temptation must have been sky-high to play him as as a nonsensical chatterbox. But with the now-you-see-it/now-you-don’t dementia that Depp gives the character…he makes him more original.

    I dunno…maybe I’m just gravitating towards it to be the brave little salmon that swims upstream. I just can’t get believe everyone found it as bad as they say. It wasn’t as good as I’d hoped, but it wasn’t 2-out-of-10 bad.

    (PS – My review and podcast about Alice are both up if you feel like reading/listening)

  9. March 12, 2010 1:35 am

    I actually quite liked this film. For me, it was a lot closer to the book even though the narratives are totally different.

    And I loathe the classic Disney animated film. It’s just a bunch of unrelated incidents that don’t add up to anything.

  10. Branden permalink
    March 12, 2010 3:12 pm

    This movie was weird. I was bored, but I didn’t hate the movie. It was off-putting. I just reviewed this movie and the people I liked was the Blue Caterpillar and the Cheshire Cat. That’s it.

    • March 14, 2010 5:07 pm

      Blue Caterpillar was a saving grace if only because he’s voiced by Hans Gruber.

  11. March 22, 2010 2:33 pm

    Rickman was spot-on.

    “Tim, I don’t know how you did it, man, but great job on making Planet of the Apes look like your magnum opus.”

    Ouch. I still think “Big Fish” is his masterpiece.

    • March 22, 2010 2:37 pm

      Big Fish is freakin’ phenomenal. Been meaning to re-watch that for ages, one of the few of his I actually own. Right up there with Edward Scissorhands IMO.

  12. Rob permalink
    April 2, 2010 9:44 am

    Tim should stick to movies in the vein of Nightmare Before Christmas and Coraline. He’s rebooting The Addams Family in stop motion and I hope he doesn’t mess that one up…

  13. Nicola permalink
    July 5, 2010 3:59 pm

    Excuse me if you will but
    i really enjoyed this movie
    You Anericans are soooo negitive about EVERYTHING
    Tim Burton is a genuis
    do you idiots not understand that the whole point of this film
    is for everything to be mumbo-jumbo
    that’s why it’s so damn funny
    I don’t know about you but over here in Ireland
    Alice In Wonderland was a great succes.
    Stop being so annoying
    if you don’t like the fiilm
    then just watch another one.
    I LOVE ALICE IN WONDERLAND

  14. mike permalink
    September 1, 2010 5:57 pm

    This movie was absolute rubbish. The original is a classic.

  15. madhatter42 permalink
    June 4, 2012 2:40 am

    I liked the movie…. then read the book and began to HATE IT. How DARE he change the characters any time he wants! The dormouse is a sleep for half the book and occasionally wakes up to say something but in this film was a non-sleepy action hero GIRL (I’m a girl myself but i do think it takes the biscuit)

    • June 4, 2012 10:14 am

      Some of many, many problems with that movie. Truly one of the worst things I’ve seen in years. Book must be extraordinary in comparison.

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