Sunday, March 14, 2010

Movie: "Alice in Wonderland"

I have to get this show off my shoulder; it has been bugging me for a few days now. I don't even know where to begin but I'll attempt anyway.

Alice in Wonderland is originally a book written by Lewis Carroll, a book I haven't read fully yet but I know it's a book that plays around with logic itself. As far as I know, this movie is based on the sequel book: Through the Looking-Glass, although I don't see much of a relation between the movie and the book. It's almost as if Tim Burton decided to make a completely different show and throw it onto the Wonderland setting.

The first 30 mins of the movie was greeted by the standard boring introduction which I care not to elaborate. Alice (now coming of age), sees the famous rabbit hurrying for time and chases it. Eventually she fell down the infamous rabbit hole full of curious items, and landed up in a room full of locked doors, a "Drink Me" potion and a "Eat Me" cake.

It was all going well here. Alice opened the smallest door and manages to go through it. The CG at this point was spectacular imho. I really felt that it was quite grand and beautiful, and expected this show to get alot better. Unfortunately, it was the point where everything just goes downhill.

I'm just going to run through the movie real quick along with my opinions. Basically everyone questions if she is the 'right' Alice, so they brought her to the wise caterpillar. The wise catepillar said that she is not really the right Alice yet (I can't remember the actual phrase, but it means something close to that). They then opened a scroll and told the entire audience that it was prophesied that Alice would return to the world, and slay the Jabberwocky with a vorpal sword.

At this point, I felt confused because I wasn't expecting something this linear to surface. It is the classic save-the-world RPG plot. Wtf is a lousy classic plot doing in a 'Alice in Wonderland' movie??

Anyhow, suddenly they were attacked and Alice somehow entered a forest.

Of course, in the dark forest, we anticipated the appearance of the Cheshire Cat, which led Alice to the Mad Tea Party. That when we all saw the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp btw). The Mad Hatter seemed pretty mad for the first 10 mins, but later you'd realize he actually isn't, due to the seriousness of the situation.

He actually seemed drunk, and largely reminds me of Captain Jack Sparrow with mascara and a hat. Maybe it's just me. Maybe it's just his voice. But the character is definitely sane, something I didn't want happening. I don't blame Johnny though, since apparently, that was the character design that was in mind. To describe the Mad Hatter in short for this movie: He was brave and loyal to the White Queen, and emotionally attached to Alice. What the hell, I don't care anymore.

Eventually, Alice, due to circumstances, found the vorpal sword and saved everyone in the process. Mad Hatter caused a civil conflict to happen in the Queen of Heart's domain. Queen gets angry, queen summons Jabberwocky, queen goes to war against White Queen. Finally they meet on the battlefield, with Alice resolving all the identity conflicts and donning a full plate, shield and vorpal sword. They fight. Alice fight the Jabberwocky. Alice beheads the Jabberwocky. Everyone is lives happily ever after.

That was the brief breakthrough of Alice in Wonderland. Other than the setting and the characters, I don't see how it is supposed to be an 'Alice in Wonderland'. The plot seems extremely similar to The Matrix.


- There are entities looking for the real Alice (aka the One)
- They are all unsure about it so they consult a wise blue catepillar (aka the Oracle)... See More
- Blue catepillar says she is not really the Alice (i.e. Neo wasn't really The One at the same point of time).
- But it was prophesied that Alice would save everyone (same as the matrix, and alot of others).
- Alice goes on a journey of self-discovery forced upon circumstances (like all save-the-world RPGs)
- She must find *insert item here* to save the world (zzz)
- Eventually she accepts her fate, and becomes The Alice[/sarcasm].

Throughout the whole movie, I kept feeling that something fun is going to happen. I really liked the way the Cheshire Cat is being animated. That's why I was a little confused yet interested when people said it was a little 'adult'. How can a fun book like Alice in Wonderland become Now I know: just think of an adult plot, and skin it with Alice in Wonderland setting. Well done.

That's why I was so disturbed when the movie ended. I felt there was so much potential to the movie, so much greatness that can be. Where did it all go wrong? After awhile, I realized that it is the feeling you get if you got cheated by a movie title.

Speaking of endings, it was easily one of the worse endings I've ever seen. Alice suddenly become a master trader, rejecting her betrothed, telling everyone that she wants more to her life, etc and sets sail to Hong Kong as an apprentice.

Rotten Tomatoes had a 50%+ rating as of this article. I would call myself generous if I gave it a 30%.

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