27 June 2010

Johnny Depp + Tim Burton = Successful formula?

Alice In Wonderland - Tim Burton

Let’s begin with the story of my admiration for a man named Tim Burton. It all started watching The Nightmare before Christmas, then his short Frankenweenie and then buying his collection of poems and short stories, illustrated by him. What a wondrous start. Then i fell in love with Edward Scissorhands and Beetlejuice, great films, fucking weird but great, following the trend of the animation and illustrations. Then came the Batman films. Now i like them, for taking the Batman franchise and placing it into the larger society, making the character what it is today, but compared to the comics and how the character should have been displayed, like in The Dark Knight, it’s awful. I think Burton was more focused on creating a creepy world for Batman to be in, rather than create a Batman that drew a lot from his background and history in the DC comics. Moving onto other films like Charlie and the Chocolate factory, which i didn’t like, James and the Giant Peach, which i did enjoy, Mars Attacks, which freaks the shit out of me, then Sleepy Hollow which was well made. Planet of the Apes, a big pile of poo, whilst Big Fish, was surprisingly good, Corpse Bride tried to recapture Nightmare’s good parts and create a new tale, but wasn’t as good, but still decent and then Sweeney Todd, a decent musical, something i will never say very often, as i hate musicals. And so we arrive at Alice in Wonderland. And if you follow the trail, in recent times, Burton has lacked the spark which once made him great; does Alice have the same fate?

Sadly, yes, it’s poor. Compared to his past, it’s not that good. It has a strange storyline, which somehow doesn’t work, the performances lack any direction, and are just there to fall in line with the Burton way, which is make everything weird. The CGI is good, but you always have the feeling that it’s not real. It almost feels like an animation. But maybe in a couple of year’s time, it will be better. The story follows Alice, who is beckoned once again to Wonderland to fight the evil Red Queen and save the day. Stars Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, an unknown actress as Alice, Helen Botham Carter, who is cast in everything Burton does, as the Red Queen, Anne Hathaway as the White Queen, which is actually cringely funny to watch. It just shows that when people are in Burton films, they have to act like what they think Burton likes, mainly just twirling, putting your hands in the air and having your eyes larger. Stephen Fry, Alan Rickman, Matt Lucas and a few others round up the cast as the animated characters like Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.

You’ll be disappointed by the film, it has large places of nothing happening, no humour, and the pace is very off. Not seeing it at an IMAX or in 3D, i feel like i may have taken away the main draw of the film, which it is meant to be, but at the same time, it shouldn’t rely on it for its fun.


Simon Childs

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