Menu Bar

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Alice in Wonderland

I've been trying this new movie-watching technique lately - go in with absolutely no expectations, no preconceived personal opinions. It's what phenomenologist Andrew Dudley (or is it Dudley Andrew? I can never remember...People should not have reversible names...) would call "clearing a space." So as Alice in Wonderland was beginning last night, I did just that. I closed my eyes and expected nothing. And I highly recommend the experience.

Now, the film would probably not be enjoyable for original Alice die-hards. I dunno, maybe it could be. But since I am not the biggest fan of the original Alice story I can't comment on the movie in their behalf. All I can say is that the film stuck with me after I saw it. And that is one of my criteria for a good film. It stuck with me visually - the images were wonderful. The whole time I was sitting there thinking, how did they do that?! So beautifully shot and constructed. I just ooooed the entire time. I did not see it in 3-D for monetary and enjoyment purposes (see my review on Avatar for a more in-depth discussion). I found the story quite engaging. It was a fun twist on a familiar tale. I loved the performances of the actors - Tim Burton always assembles an amazing cast. My favorite discovery was realizing that the Knave was played by Crispin Glover of George McFly Back to the Future fame. That was a pleasant surprise. Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter never disappoint - I absolutely loved the Mad Hatter. He was so lovably mad. "All the best people are." The lines were highly quotable, which made it even better: "I love my fat boys" and "cup" and "spoon" and "I sometimes believe in 6 impossible things before breakfast." Wonderful. Though the story was at times predictable, it was not boringly predictable. I enjoyed watching the events unfold. The film was not perfect - there was a bit in the middle and other elements throughout that just seemed random and out of place or perhaps slow. If it had been traditional Alice that would have been a good thing, but in an Alice that actually has a plot it was not entirely welcome. I'd have to watch it again to verify. Danny Elfman composed the music, so it was naturally wonderful - I have decided that he can make any film magical with his tunes. I thought seriously about buying the soundtrack so I could have some magic to study to. Overall, I think it is a film that you have to take on its own. Certain things about the film are made enjoyable if you know the original story. It is a "sequel" type film after all. However, you can't go in expecting the traditional Alice in Wonderland and you can't go in expecting your typical adventure film. It's a mix that I found pleasing.

I often forget how much I love seeing movies in the theater. This was the first film I had seen in a theater in around two months. I was practically tingling with anticipation as the actual film started. I can feel magic right before I see a movie in the theater, especially if it's the first time I'm seeing it. It's a tangible force that just sucks me in and envelopes me. The moment the film begins rolling, I just feel this wave of possibility wash over me - this could be a wonderful movie. And sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn't. But the journey of discovery is half the fun. And watching it with friends and even strangers makes it even better.

No comments:

Post a Comment