Sunday, March 21, 2010

Alice In Wonderland

You would think Tim Burton is the perfect director to give his particular vision to "Alice In Wonderland". And what better actor than his frequent collaborator, Johnny Depp, to play the Mad Hatter? Of course on paper it's a perfect match but unfortunately I was underwhelmed with Mr. Depp's performance. Buried beneath layers of makeup, Mr. Depp's Hatter seems barely mad at all and at times, just catatonic.

Helena Bonham Carter tries hard as The Red Queen, who's garish personality is matched only by her garish appearance but you soon grow tired of "off with her head". Anne Hathaway underplays the White Queen but blame Mr. Burton's direction. Mr. Burton appears so caught up in the world he's created that he's forgotten to breathe real life into his characters. Newcomer Mia Wasikowska is a wonder as Alice, the only character with a pulse, who coincidently is the only true human in Wonderland ( known here as Underland). The best characters, The White Rabbit and The Cheshire Cat, are products of excellent CGI.

As the film begins, we learn this is Alice's second trip to Wonderland, as Mr. Burton and his team have actually combined "Alice In Wonderland" and it's sequel "Through The Looking Glass" into one story mixing characters and story elements that are visually appealing but ultimately flat, even in IMAX 3-D. If only the story and characters were as vivid as the landscape they inhabit.

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