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Alice in Wonderland IMAX

Submitted by AyaJJ on April 23, 2010 - 1:14pm. Exclusive Movie Review

Truth be told, I’m not the Alice fan; my sister is. She LOVES Alice in Wonderland. I like Alice in Wonderland, but love Mulan more. But I do have a strange affection for the whole Wonderland world. So when news came out that Tim Burton would be giving us his take on the story, I was excited, partly because I like the story, but mostly because I love Tim Burton. So I went ahead and threw down my $18 to see the IMAX version of Alice in Wonderland. Was it worth it?

I guess. Kinda. I enjoyed the movie, but didn’t think it was and “IMAX Experience.”

The story takes place 13 years after Alice’s original trip into Wonderland. She’s now a young woman looking to take her place in society, but not quite ready to fit into the cookie-cutter mold waiting for her. After escaping a really boring looking party, she falls down the rabbit hole again and voila! She’s back in Wonderland. In her wandering, we meet all the usual suspects, including the Tweedles, the Dormouse, the Cheshire cat, and, of course, the Hatter. The Queen of Hearts, also known as the Red Queen, has laid waste to parts of Wonderland and it’s up to Alice to save the day. Except Alice isn’t convinced she’s the one to actually save the day.

Alice, played by Mia Wasikowska, seemed very uneven as Alice. According to the story, she’s wandering through her own dream land, but she never seems to commit to anything in the movie. Even when she runs away from the party in the beginning, there is a hesitance in her actions that make it look like she’s just going through the motions. There is a noticeable difference when she was acting on green screen (characters to be filled in later) and when she acted with other people. When she shared the screen with the Hatter, played by Johnny Depp, there was not as much stiffness to her as opposed to when she spoke to the Cheshire Cat. You could definitely tell who was used to doing green-screen work. Depp seemed at home in the Hat. He plays the Hatter on just this side of madness, with an eye blink or a wrinkling of his brow to show his internal choices battle sane vs. mad. The real gems in the cast are the Queens. Helena Bonham-Carter is wickedly wonderful as the Red Queen/Queen of Hearts. Big head/Little body magic aside, she was outrageous without being over the top, and showed just that bit of insecurity to make her seem vulnerable. Anne Hathaway is just as fun as the White Queen, a light, sweet, doll with a surprising spine of steel and just a bit of creepiness to even things out. Both ladies were a joy to watch. Also a joy were Stephen Fry as the Cheshire Cat and Alan Rickman who voiced Absolem, the Caterpillar. I quietly squealed in my seat when I heard his deep, rich voice insolently ask, “Who are you?” Crispen Glover, who tends to make his living playing slimy characters, does so here as the Knave of Hearts with relish.

Visually, the film was beautiful. I did like the nod to the original animated film. The CGI flowers were fabulous. Overall, the CGI was great, creating a Wonderland you can actually believe is real, in a storybook sense. However, in IMAX, it wasn’t very impressive. I think the 3D effects were wasted to be honest. There were no real “reach out and touch” scenes, but then there didn’t seem to be a need for them. Alice doesn’t need to be 3D experience. The story does fine on its own.

The music was fun. Composer Danny Elfman has created a fabulous soundscape for the movie, one that you can recognize as his from the first few notes. It meshed the scenes together nicely, adding a touch of urgency and madness to some, softening and slowing other.

Overall, I enjoyed the film. My biggest disappointment was not feeling the need to run back to the box office and buy tickets to see it again (like I did with Star Trek). I recommend watching it on a big screen, but not in IMAX. I just felt it’s an unneeded gimmick for an enjoyable film.

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