Musings from the padded room

måndag 8 mars 2010

Alice in Wonderland 3D

So, yesterday I went to see Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland" in 3D.

Now, Tim Burton happens to be one of my favourite directors. And the fact that Johnny Depp was among the cast for the movie seemed like a big plus. So, naturally, my expectations were quite high.

Which is why it pains me to have to write this.

Alice in Wonderland is a story with great potential for some wicked effects. Tim Burton with his skill for creating fascinating and engaging movies should have been home free with this type of story. Sadly I must say that I was disappointed.

The story felt fragmented. They were referring to events that never really got proper explanations, leaving the audience in the dark about what they were referring to. The story lacked depth and seemed to move too quickly, glossing over a lot of details that should've been present in order to create an engaging movie.

Alice felt bland and, to be honest, quite vapid. A sullen kid running from everything and everyone, completely convinced her way was the right way. Her sudden change in attitude towards the end of the movie felt rushed and didn't quite manage to bring me along into the change. It was a total 180 between one scene and the other where Alice's attitude was concerned. I'm not sure if it was the actress who didn't manage to portray Alice correctly or if it was the script but Alice felt shallow and stiff. Even though I know I shouldn't I still have to draw some parallels to Orlando Bloom's and Keira Knightley's in my opinion rather lousy character portrayal in Pirates of the Caribbean. The acting simply failed to engage me and lacked emotional depth.

Johnny Depp then. I love his acting skills and frequently claim I can't recall a single movie in which I didn't think he was brilliant. It seems I might have to change that claim now. While he did manage to portray the madness of the Hatter it also felt shallow and fragmented. There wasn't any depth in the feelings of the Hatter and it seemed like they had focused too much on physical oddness and costume rather than the deeper and darker sides of the Hatter. Johnny Depp is usually quite good at capturing and portraying those depths in his characters which leads me to think that the script he had to work with might not have given him the chance to do so with the Hatter. It was a disappointment.

As for the rest of the cast... While the small quirks of the White Queen had their amusing aspects and while she was indeed gorgeous, the rest of the characters felt just as shallow and fragmented as Alice and Hatter.

The Red Queen and her Knight Stayne were sadly pathetic. The Red Queen's fickleness and cold nature was handled badly, making me feel sorry for the actress (Helena Bonham-Carter) who had to play the character. She's usually one of my favourite actresses but her skills, like Depp's, wasn't enough this time. As for Stayne... I have no words to describe how utterly useless he was. Truly... no words.

The one character that was somewhat engaging was the Cheshire Cat. It only bugged me that the Swedish subtitles wrote "Chessur" instead of Cheshire. I think it would've been nice if they'd managed to incorporate more of the traits found in the Cheshire cat in the other characters as well. And since the Cheshire cat was animated in such a way he truly shone in 3D.

As it was now it felt like Tim Burton and his crew hadn't been able to decide whether to try and keep a somewhat linear and chronological story or to make it as confusing (and amusing) as the original story was. In either case, I'm sad to say that in my opinion, they failed.

The 3D aspects of the movie then. I figure it's hard to make a good 3D-movie with live actors since you can't tweak and turn the effects the same way with real actors as you could with completely animated ones. While it was nice with the added feel of depth in the scenery, the 3D-effects were muted and rather meaningless most of the time. This can, of course, be attributed to the fact that the screen in the salon we watched the movie in wasn't big enough to give that feeling of being inside the world we were watching. The edges of the screen were simply too visible.

There are probably many more reasons why I couldn't really find it in myself to see the movie as anything more than a somewhat pleasant distraction for an evening. However, right now I just can't bear to analyse it beyond what I already have.

So, for those who just want to watch a movie with a fantasy theme and some nice scenery 3D effects I guess Alice in Wonderland 3D can be nice. If you're looking for a deeper story and character portrayal, however, I personally suggest you look elsewhere.

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