A Welcome and a Definition

Culture Vulture: "A person with a strong, sometimes obsessive, interest in the arts." Culture Vultures spend a lot of time observing the world. This is where those observations come out.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Over the weekend, I went to see the newest Tim Burton film, Alice in Wonderland. I am not a huge Tim Burton fan, but I am a huge Alice fan. I was very curious to see a Burton-esque version, especially in 3-D.

While the movie had some great visuals, I have to say I was very bored 30 minutes into the movie. First off, many elements of the original books were completely bastardized to produce a new storyline. The most blatant of these off storylines is the Jabberwocky terrorizing Underland (for some reason, it wasn't called Wonderland) and somehow embodying all the power of the evil Red Queen, played by Helena Bonham Carter.

Even if I was willing to enjoy the plot for what it was, I thought the plot was overly simplistic and full of holes. Alice is now 19. Her life is a Jane Austen novel gone wrong, where she is forced to marry this awful Lord. She flees her engagement party to follow the White Rabbit, and ends up back in Wonderland. The Red Queen has overtaken everything and terrorizes everybody. The only hope for Underland is if Alice can slay the Jabberwocky and restore the White Queen, played by Anne Hathaway. Alice believes she is dreaming and feels she cannot live up to this task. The Mad Hatter, played by Johnny Depp, shows her the way. One of the biggest plot holes was why the White Queen couldn't do this herself. She made some halfhearted speech to Alice about "a vow of peace." However, she later leads a battle against her sister, the Red Queen.

Even though Depp is usually known for his stand-out performances, he was really phoning it in for this one. He was all over map: sometimes he sounded quiet and effeminate, and sometimes he would launch into a loud Scottish brogue. Mia Wasikowska, who played Alice, was pretty blah and one dimensional. Carter did well with what she had, but my favorite performance was Hathaway's odd portrayal of the White Queen. She acted a little flighty and airy-fairy, and wore a costume that looked like she had borrowed from Lady Gaga. I would say wait until the DVD comes out, but the movie is almost unwatchable in 2-D. 1 1/2 stars

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