Alice in Wonderland: movie review

Sunday, March 7, 2010

This is a review for the movie adaptation. It has no spoilers. If you're interested, my review for the book can be found over here.
If you know me, and have noticed my previous posts, you would know I have been so excited for this movie to come out. Sadly though, I have to admit, I was a bit disappointed.
For this film, Tim Burton creates an eerie and imaginative version of a timeless classic. It's an odd take on it, but that is the beauty of a Burton movie. You can't help but be hooked. It simply demands your full attention.
Really though, the best thing about the film are actually the actors. Not surprisingly, it is Johnny Depp that makes the movie. The Mad Hatter seemed to be no longer just a supportive character in Alice in Wonderland. At least to me, Johnny Depp was the saving grace of this film. I did think there were other actors that played their characters extremely well. One of them is Helena Bonham Carter, who played the Queen of Hearts. She played the character as if it was her own; from her mannerisms, expression, to the delivery of her dialogues. It seemed effortless. Ann Hathaway did a great job too, for the part she was given. However, I thought the Depp-Carter team up (Sweeney Todd, anyone?) overshadowed her performance just a bit.
The other characters -- the blue catterpillar, Cheshire cat (my favorite!), Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum -- were done just right. They were amusing and awesome, just as they should be.
The main downfall, and this is kind of unfortunate, was the main character, Alice. She is played by the lovely Mia Wasikowski. She was indeed lovely. It's too bad though because that was it. She was lovely, but I didn't think she played her character that well. Her expressions were one-sided. At times, she just looked extremely bored to death. She lacks charisma, and should I say, that "pizazz." There was nothing new, unique, and special about her that was brought to the table.
On an entirely different note, I have to comment real quick about the costumes, as they were amazing! People tend to overlook this part, thinking it's not important. But I disagree, because I feel as if costumes, along with set designs, adds a much needed factor to any film. The power of costume design definitely worked for this one. Be on the look out for Alice's different dresses -- I actually kind of want them all! :P

Finally, I want to clear it out that I did not think it was a bad movie. I was entertained, and it did not bore me in any way whatsoever. There were parts that were witty, smart, and even funny. Unfortunately, I just didn't think it was that good. There were a couple of painful-to-watch moments, and the dialogue -- a bit cliche and juvenile. I'm actually kind of bummed writing this review. I really am one of those big fans of Alice. I was super excited about this one, and have been since I first saw the teaser poster in early 2009. I really, really, really wanted to love this movie! I didn't. I probably wouldn't even buy the DVD when it comes out. However, I still recommend you to watch it though.
Visually, it is as stunning as Tim Burton's aesthetic, but as a whole, the film lacked a bit of substance. To put it simply, it just was just not as effective, and as good, as it was hyped up (and as I had hoped) it to be.

Note: I did not see this on 3d, as I get easily dizzy. I heard it was amazing though, and if I weren't the type to get light-headed easily, I would've watched it in that version. If you saw it on 3d, what did you think?


  1. sorry to hear you were a bit dissapointed, i've been wanting to go see this one myself.
    I love seeing wonderful wardrobes in films. And I love Johnny Depp.
    Great review!

  2. I saw this with my Wife and 11 year old daughter. We saw it in 3-D-I thought there were some stunning sections of the movie-I liked the cat a lot (we are a cat family), I like Tweedle dee and his brother, of course we liked Johnny Depp-I did not think the red queen was well played and I thought her court was not well done either-I enjoyed the opening scenes in Victorian England a lot-my 11 year old liked the movie (she rated it 1/2 as good as Avatar) and said she followed the plot -I think she has seen cartoons of Alice in Wonderland on TV-my wife who did not know the plot did not like it very much-our older 3 daughters, 14, 16, and 23 asked us if they would like the movie and we told them just wait until it is out in video (which here in Manila it might already be for sale!)

  3. Interesting-- I'm always a bit hohum about Alice but will probably see the movie--- I love the spectacle of the big special effects movies. I'll let you know what I think...

    I like that you talk about movies and not just books.


  4. I saw Alice on Friday and I loved it. I see what you mean about certain parts of it. I don't think I went in with high expectations and expected to be spectacled, if that makes sense. :) I am so glad you mentioned the costumes because that was one of the first things that caught my eye. They were amazing!!! I loved Alice's dresses in wonderland!
    I pretty much took the movie for what it was, I suppose. I look forward to seeing it again and finally getting around to reading the books.
    I didn't see in in 3D either. :)

  5. @naida: I, too, love Johnny Depp! He never fails to amaze me with all the different and unique roles he has played in his career so far! Can't wait to hear what you think about it if you plan to see it.

    @mel u: I guess it varies according to age for some :) I grew up in Manila for 15 years! I miss it there! Hope everything is well.

    @Cozy Book Nook: Thanks so much for that nice comment -- I'm glad you like it. And I also can't wait to hear what you thought about the movie when you get to see it.

    @jehara: It wasn't that I expected that much, but I guess you can say I had a much higher hope than everyone else. Haha. Maybe that's a bad thing after all. Oh, and I'm glad I'm not the only one who loved the dresses! They're all so gorgeous, aren't they?