Alice in Wonderland: a rant and review

Last night I was in the highest of spirits as my husband and I made way to the movie theater. Alice in Wonderland had arrived, and best of all, they were showing it in English!

My spirits quickly plummeted, hit the ground in disappointment, and then got flattened with boredom and fury.

The newest Alice in Wonderland is horrible. Just horrible. And don’t get me wrong, I wanted to love this movie! I thought the trailer looked fabulous, the soundtrack sounded appealing, and the cast seemed all-star.

None of that could save this film. It suffered from a bad script, weak plot, poor character development, and rushed scenes. Not even my sour gummy-worms (a favorite snack for movie-viewing) were able to brighten the experience.

I liked Alice — she was lovely to look at and maybe she was a good actress, too. Unfortunately, the script failed to give her any chance at actual acting. And because the scenes were so rushed, there was no chance for us to get to know her or like her. The attempts in the film to create character sympathy (i.e. a loving but deceased father, a spunky attitude, and an undesirable betrothed) had the opposite effect on me. They were so cliched and so rushed, that I just ended up angry.

From there, the movie went even further downhill. We’re introduced in a whirlwind to all the well-known Alice in Wonderland characters, but rather than be delighted at the familiar faces, I was confused by the rapid-fire dialogue, sudden appearances, and then sudeen disappearances. If it weren’t for the fact that we (as viewers) expect to see Tweedledee, Tweedledum, the March Hare, etc., then there would be no reason to have these characters in the movie. They did nothing to propel the plot and nothing to develop Alice’s (or their own) character, and they weren’t even entertaining enough to compensate for that lack.

I thought when Johnny Depp appeared that perhaps the film would pick up. No. I just became even more confused by the trying-too-hard-to-make-him-crazy-script.

Then I became more annoyed by the trying-to-hard-to-create-sympathy ploys that the movie used for every character. There was the dog who wants to be with his pups, the White Queen who won’t fight because of her vows, the frog who gets his head chopped off, etc. Again, the film attempted to create sympathy in these characters with single lines of cliched dialogue. It just didn’t work for me…

This movie suffered from squeezing-too-much-in-too-little-time. The thing is, I know such a feat can be done and done well. Avatar succeeded splendidly in creating a new world, a sympathetic main character, a plot with high stakes, and super cool special effects to boot.

Ultimately, though, there were 2 good things about this film:

  1. The Cheshire cat was cool. I’d have liked to seen a lot more of his eery grin.
  2. The Queen of Hearts was fabulous. I loved her. She managed to make the script entertaining, and she actually got more sympathy (from me, at least) than any other character in the film. Of course, who would expect anything less from Helena Bonham Carter? At the end, I didn’t want her to lose… I wanted her to win, actually. Poor lady with her big head and no one to love her…

One more point, and I’ll end this rant:

3D movies are rotten. I get dizzy watching the films, the glasses hurt my nose, and I have to pay extra for it. Why isn’t there a “Watch it sans 3D” option?

I guess I’m just old and unwilling to progress with the times, but still…

My husband thinks the new movement to 3D is because no one can go in, film the movie, and then post it online illegally. That makes sense, and if that’s the reason, then I’ll forgive the new 3D-trend. But I’ll still cling to the old-fashioned days of 2D-movies.