June 27, 2010

#085: Alice In Wonderland (2/10)

I have always been a fan of Tim Burton films, and I quite like Johnny Depp.  I vaguely remember watching the Disney cartoon of Alice In Wonderland, so I didn't come in with any preconceived notions or expectations for what this story should be like.  It would seem that I was setup to enjoy this film, but that is totally not what happened.  The first hour was brutal, I had to take a break before having the stamina to finish.  This mess of a movie barely manages a 2 out of 10.
I realize the story of Alice In Wonderland is a fantasy.  I didn't expect it to be completely linear, or for everything to make perfect sense.  However, most everything in this film felt completely random.  Maybe I needed to read the books or see the previous film to understand what the heck was going on.  Everything was so haphazard and amounted to little more than semi-organized nonsense.  I never got into the story, and never felt like it gave us anything to latch on to.  There were some broad themes of female empowerment, but they weren't explored nearly enough to make them worthwhile.

I am not a very boisterous person.  I don't get all that excited about stuff, and my speaking voice may come across as somewhat monotone.  However, this Mia Wazakowska who played Alice seemed to be on the verge of falling asleep the entire time. She makes me seem downright flamboyant. Her delivery of lines was some of the most uninspired acting I have ever seen.  It wasn't really cheesy or disingenuous, it just was boring. She may have been playing things understated to put more focus on Depp's Mad Hatter.  Well, that was a bad decision because he wasn't all that great either.  I tend to like Depp's shtick, but the last couple times it has gotten annoying.  I really didn't enjoy the Hatter, but at least he was able to bring some life to the screen.  But what was up with his Scottish brogue?  I didn't understand it, and didn't think it worked. I found myself almost getting embarrassed for him at times.

Speaking of on-screen life, pretty much all of the living things in Alice In Wonderland were computer generated.  Most of it looked okay, though there were some moments of crappiness.  At times the CG seemed to take over the movie.  They got wrapped up in showing us this "cool" crap, and completely lost sight of the direction the film was supposed to be going.  I was unable to follow the plot, nor did I really care to. My mind kept wandering as I waited for this movie to get its crap together.  The first half was honestly brutal.  I didn't even want to finish it.  However, you can't really claim to HATE a film unless you have seen the entire thing.  That is one of the only things that drove me to continue watching.

I was actually surprised that the second half turned out to be quite a bit more watchable than the first.   It was still stupid, and the plot remained mostly incomprehensible, but at least it wasn't as painful to watch.  There were a few sections where I might even say that I enjoyed what I was seeing.  It didn't happen very often, but it was enough to keep the film from receiving a zero on my arbitrary scoring system.

It is almost needless to say that I would not recommend watching this movie.  It was a huge disappointment for a film that did so well in the box office.  In fact, the only thing that would have made this a worse viewing experience would have been to see it in 3D.  Not only would I have been totally bored, but I would have had a headache.  If you haven't already seen it... skip it.

Filed Under: , ,