Thursday, 11 November 2010

Alice in Wonderland


I will be the first to admit I don’t have a clue when it come to a whole bunch of classic children's stories or nursery rhymes (my Mum and wife would be a very close equal second!). Consequently, the first time I am becoming acquainted with the story of Alice and her land of wonder at the age of 34, is courtesy of Tim Burton and Love Film, rather than a kid's book. Of course this also means that I don’t know how like the original story this film is, but then since when have film adaptations been completely faithful to the relevant book?
The film did throw up a few surprises for me, meaning I had no idea the Jabberwocky was from this story. For as long as I can remember I have been able to quote “Twas brillig and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe” (if I remember correctly), but had no idea it was from Alice in Wonderland. Also the various references to the story in The Matrix make a bit more sense!
As far as the film goes, all the usual suspects for a Tim Burton film are there (including music by Danny Elfman of course). It took a while to figure out why I recognised the Knave of Hearts (Crispin Glover) but he was George McFly in Back to the Future! I think it’s also worth mentioning that Anne Hathaway looked stunning as the White Queen, though slightly silly and floaty (in a humorous not stupid way). Of course Johnny Depp is good as the Mad Hatter, but not in a “Hey look at me I’m Johnny Depp!” kind of way, which I might have expected following Pirates of the Caribbean. There is also quite an ensemble cast of voice actors as well, featuring Stephen Fry, Alan Rickman, Michael Sheen, Timothy Spall, Paul Whitehouse, and Barbara Windsor.
Then of course there’s Alice. Played by Mia Wasikowska, Alice must be young, yet independent and strong minded, then at the end she must be brave enough to fight a monster. I feel a lot of films that have a young main role often fall foul of playing on the youth too much, and consequently end up being like an 80s Disney film (one reason I’ve never liked the Narnia stories); but I didn’t once feel that while watching this film. Mia manages to play the youthfulness of the character, but at the same time question everything around her in a logical way (I guess logical for someone continually expecting to wake up from a dream (huh, more Matrix references)), thus showing how mature Alice is, rather than just being an irritating kid.
There’s probably no point in trying to summarise the plot; most other people in the world knew before I ever did, and it’s so convoluted and non-sensible that my falling-asleep brain couldn’t cope. So I should just conclude by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed it, Tim Burton creates a zany world (wie immer!) that you become immersed in, and I should make sure any kids I have know their classic stories and nursery rhymes!

"Get outta here! Tim Burton designed this?!!"