Thursday, March 11, 2010

Alice in Wonderland, Home -- Then Excuses for Poor Movie Choices

Houuuuuston for nearly 2 weeks. :-D

We sat in the second row of the theater, our three heads cocked back at an uncomfortable angle. There were 7 lbs. of diet sodas in our laps, and an aching urge to throw the 3-D, IMAX lenses at the screen, due to the unsettling effects brought about by the first few minutes.

Yet, they looked so cool that by the time we left the Times Sq. theater, we'd deigned to thieve the theater eyeglasses.

Thus was how we three (me, and two lovely Irish sisters) entered the land of Alice -- err, Tim Burton -- world of wonderment.

I'd only ever seen one other movie in 3-D, the wretched "Avatar," and I realized rather quickly, that had we chucked those shades at the screen, we'd have missed out on some of the movie's most awesome aspects.

The movie was brilliantly done, and I am certainly no across-the-board Burton-lover.

Some of the criticism I've read (couldn't help myself) calls it soulless or not true to the original text. These jokers chide Burton for his preoccupation for visual greatness, while overlooking a more jointed, sequential story line. These folks are fools.

There's no denying that Burton deviates from the original text. But, in a way similar to "Where the Wild Things Are," Burton (like Jonze -- who had Sendak's live approval) took a text with themes and tales so incredibly open to interpretation ("Alice" is an archetypal piece of "literary nonsense" after all -- so, in my book, nonsensical things should be interpretive) and embellished, but remained true to the spirit.

All that aside, the performances were fantastic, in every sense of the word.

Johnny Depp was awesome as Mad Hatter. From the previews, I thought we were going to see a repeat of "Willy Wonka," but Depp had more gravity about him in this role, which I appreciated.

New Girl, Mia Wasikowska, was beautiful and endearing -- one of my movie dates compared her to "what we thought Kirsten Dunst was going to be after 'Interview with a Vampire'," which was incredibly apt.

She also looks to me like a young Martha Plimpton:

Then, there was Helena Bonham Carter (as the "Red Queen") and Anne Hathaway ("White Queen"), and Alan Rickman ("Blue Caterpillar"), Crispin Glover ("Stayne" -- Knave of Hearts) ... and, Cheshire Cat (Stephen Fry) -- pictured above. Cheshire was maybe my favorite character.

They were all so good. There were moments I felt like I was watching "The Neverending Story," "Beetlejuice," and several other fantastical movies I grew up loving -- except nowadays things come flying out at you from the screen and you feel like you can touch the leaves falling from trees within the Rabbit Hole. Awesome.

It was frabjous.

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