Alice In Wonderland (2010)

Alice In Wonderland main title

Fade to crap.

What do you get when you cross dispassionate with uninterested? The same exact thing. Now, Alice In Wonderland, directed by freak bitch Tim Burton, is just that. No, it’s not the same film as other attempts at the source material, no, it is the same in the sense that they are all uninterested dreck. I suppose the Disney animated version comes closest to being something good, though I wouldn’t know because I haven’t seen it in probably a decade and a quarter and I don’t particularly care to visit it again. Alas, Tim Burton’s bore-porn succeeds in cementing the Alice series as the one franchise which utterly fails in every single attempt to adapt it for a visual medium. The books just do not make for good movies, and several other people who are smarter than me have already explained why, so I won’t go into that.

Alice In Wonderland is a film that teaches us to not try very hard, and that is one of the worst messages a film can deliver. What do I mean by that? Simple. Everybody involved in the making of this did not try very hard. Except for Danny Elfman. Bless his soul. Every performance in this trip is phoned in. I’m sure you’ve heard many a hack film reviewer use the term “phoned it in”. Well, now I am using it, so I suppose that makes me a hack. Oh hell. Maybe if I start acting like a hack I’ll start getting paid like a hack. Here’s hoping!

Alice In Wonderland Alice Face

Trapped in the 5th dimension. No emotion.

So, Johnny Depp totally “phoned in” his performance in this movie. What does that mean? Well, imagine the analogy as plain as face value as possible. The director calls up Johnny at his bunker in sunny Key Largo Florida, and tells him he needs to shoot his part for the big awesome expensive Hollywood movie. Johnny, being too busy doing blow, simply points the camera phone at himself and does the scene, as quickly as possible, getting it over with so he can get a paycheck to continue snorting more white girl.

Nobody cared. Johnny Depp didn’t care. Tim Burton didn’t care. Helena Bonham Carter REALLY didn’t care. They were all just happy to be working, and in a recession as bad as the one we’re in now, I don’t blame them. Wait, no, I do blame them. Hollywood is recession proof. They get all the blame! Damn them to hell! Tim Burton continues his tradition of taking on projects he couldn’t give a shit less for, resulting in his attempt to completely change/butcher the source material for his own amusement/vision. He started doing that with Batman, and frankly I don’t blame him. I would probably do that too, because altering somebody Else’s creative vision is a sure fire way to get unstuck out of writer’s block, which Mr. Burton seems to have been drifting through.

Alice In Wonderland screenshot Johnny Depp

Phoning it in. He's hiding a bluetooth!

All of the performances in this film are delivered with the rigidity of a computer program. A program designed to execute variables of a parameter stated as {boring adventure movie}. The liveliest part of the film is Danny Elfman’s score. Seriously, it’s good. It’s so good it’s unfitting for a movie of this low a caliber. Even the CGI lacks all semblance of emotion and humanity. They didn’t even try that hard to make anything look too bizarre or far out. It’s just the same old watered down, 99-cent store, mass produced acid trip decorations that aren’t nearly as impressive as they were in the 60’s. Nowadays, people smoke DMT, and word on the street is that those visuals are MUCH trippier than mere talking flowers and smoking caterpillars. Unfortunately, Burton and his hired goons are stuck in the past and they see no future. Except in dollar signs.

At one point, the Mad Hatter get’s really pissed and trashes his room a little bit. This is supposed to be dramatic, because, you know, Orson Welles did it in Citizen Kane and when he did it, it was very dramatic and people thought that was really intense! So, Burton was like, Let’s copy that, and it will be dramatic! So it was done. Johnny Depp trashes his room for no real reason and that was his big dramatic moment in the film. All other scenes involving the Mad Hatter are a melting pot of all previous Johnny Depp characters being liquidated into the fusion schizo persona of the Mad Hatter. Well, except for Dean Corso, unfortunately that guy is not present in Depp’s Mad Hatter, but if only! That would have made it so much better. A chain smoking Mad Hatter would have been a riot, and a hilariously inappropriate influence on the target demographic.

Oh and what about that chick who played Alice? Pasty, white, and as compelling as a pasty, white British girl with no personality would expect to be. Speaking of pasty, there’s a whole race of ultra white albinos in this movie, and their leader is Anne Hathaway. Hallelujah! After showing no emotion after falling through a wormhole into the 5th dimension, she continues showing no emotion throughout the rest of the film. No emotion when she’s about to get mauled by a Bandersnatch, and no emotion as she battles to the death with a computer generated action figure. Her name is Mia Wasikowska, and she’s as exciting as watching paint explode in your face. Actually, that might be kind of exciting, except you would be dead, thus ending any excitement there might have been. That analogy works for me.

Apparently she’s in better movies, so I will not attempt to discount her talent as an actress. No, the real problem here is that this movie blows and that it should never have been made. A more interesting project for Tim Burton would have been Superman. Oh, he failed at that too? Before it ever hit the ground? Well, hot damn. I forgive you Mr. Burton. You always get the stupid projects that nobody else wants to do. I can at least give him credit for ruining movies the way he wants to ruin them..

Alice In Wonderland Screenshot Sword Alice

Bout to kill a monster! Still, no emotion.

Okay, so the basic premise of the film is that Wonderland is about to get nuked by a Jabberwocky and it’s only hope is Alice in a suit of armor. She has to realize who she is and then steal a sword and go kill a monster. Damn, this is so easy! Why aren’t I writing multi million dollar adventure movies? Wait, I know the answer to that. Because I am sitting on the internet writing movie reviews instead of crappy adventure movie scripts. What more can I say? It’s Lord of The Rings if Peter Jackson were an asshole and used the rolled pages of the Tolkien books to snort some kind of narcotic up his nose.

So she falls down the rabbit hot hole after mingling with a bunch of deadbeat 18th century British people who are all extremely un-personable, and you know the rest. Except for the end. I’ll spoil the ending for you right now: The Mad Hatter does a very unnecessary, dumb little dance that is not funny and serves no purpose. Yup, you can save your money and not have to witness the awkwardness. Or, maybe you should, because I hate playing the totalitarian and telling people what to do.

In the end it’s such a shame it turned out the way it did, because, you know, everybody was expecting so much more. Those people are called optimists, and they are slowly becoming extinct. I would know. I am dying as I type this. That’s probably the biggest tragedy. Everybody thought they were going to hit this one out of the park. Alice In Wonderland? A really weird story. Tim Burton? A really weird director. Genius! How could they possibly screw it up? Well, they did screw it up, because nobody cared. On the bright side, this is a fun, colorful little film that can be mocked and made fun of, and lord knows we can never have enough of that.

Who can I recommend this to? For one, I would NOT recommend this to anybody who does DMT. It might make for a bad trip. I can recommend it to little girls who are on the road to becoming gothy. Why not? It certainly wouldn’t hurt. Their imaginations won’t be affected, and clearly neither were the filmmaker’s. Their imaginations were in the bank, at the after party, and in the bag of coke. We hope you have enjoyed the blandest story telling Hollywood has to offer, now go give us one billion dollars. Please?

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2 Responses to “Alice In Wonderland (2010)”

  1. “The liveliest part of the film is Danny Elfman’s score. Seriously, it’s good. It’s so good it’s unfitting for a movie of this low a caliber.”

    Even musically there was a problem, not from Elfman (the closing version of “Alice’s Theme” is a highlight of the film), but from the decision to have Avril Lavigne – AVRIL FREAKING LAVIGNE – do a truly horrible ditty over the first part of the end credits before Elfman and the choir come in to save the day.

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