Today I went on a movie date with my lovely sister to go watch "Alice in Wonderland," a film that was released on March 5, 2010. It is directed by Tim Burton, presented by Disney, and includes two classic, famous actors: Anne Hathaway and Johnny Depp. It is based on the book, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll.
When it comes to movie reviews, I split the movie into nine different sections that I rate from 1-5 (in stars). I start off with the basics and then move on to the more complex areas of movie production. Then, in the tenth section, I rate the overall quality of the movie based on the ratings of the other sections. Feel free to comment on my opinion and agree/disagree! Enjoy!
Short Summary: "Alice in Wonderland," based on the book by Lewis Caroll, is about a 19-year-old carefree girl named Alice. She lives in London, has a wild imagination, and is stressed and pressured to be someone who everybody else wants her to be. Alice ends up falling in a hole that leads to Wonderland, a strange world in which everything is upside down. Before she knows it, Alice is forced to go on a crazy adventure with The Mad Hatter, The White Rabbit, and other unforgettable characters to save Wonderland from the evil Red Queen.
Story: To me, the Story of a movie is mainly based on the world that the movie is set up in (for example: "Harry Potter" set in the Wizarding World, "Pearl Harbor" set in WWII era, etc.). Obviously, "Alice in Wonderland" is set in Wonderland, a world completely created by Lewis Caroll (who I believe is a genius). I really love his Wonderland story and think that it is extremely creative, extraordinary, and--ironically--real. You can't help but love Wonderland, that crazy home of Opposites. Land of the Upside Down. As wild as Wonderland may seem, it really makes one think about the real world in which we live in and why it is the way it is. Rating: 5/5
Plot: It is easy to get the Story and the Plot mixed up. I personally think of the Plot as the main problem and the events in an adventure that leads up to that problem's resolution. The plot takes place within the Story and is carried out by the Characters. In "Alice in Wonderland," the plot of the movie deals with Alice and her friends having to fight against the nefarious Red Queen in order to save Wonderland from her evil doings and restore all power to The White Queen. The events that lead up to the climax of this plot were exciting and connected well with each other. The movie makers did a good job introducing the characters while developing the main plot.
The beginning and ending of the movie were my least favorite events; besides Wonderland's War of the Queens (I made that title up), Alice is the main character and, as in all good movies, undergoes change for the better. However, some parts of the beginning and ending were slightly awkward...the choices and changes Alice made to her real life did not quite fit in with the rest of the story and was not carried out as well as it could have been. See more under Direction/Production. Rating: 4/5
Characterization: From the moment the characters were introduced one by one, I knew who they were and what they were like. The costumes, the little quirks, and the personalities were all very distinct and unique to each character. The acting was definitely a significant factor in characterization. Some of the distinct traits of individual characters that defined them and that I was truly impressed by include:
- the exaggerated grace of The White Queen
- the crooked smile of Hamish
- the slightly bizarre cross-eyes, nonsensical mutters, and eccentricity of The Mad Hatter
- the bossy, almost childish tone of voice of The Red Queen
- the constant stuttering and nervosa of The March Hare (The Mad Hatter's tea party friend)
My favorite was definitely The Mad Hatter, played by Johnny Depp. Disney did a great job keeping the classic traits of each character intact as they are in Caroll's "Alice" (the wackiness of the Hatter, the brattiness of the Red Queen, the looniness of the ever-arguing Twiddle twins) while adding additional characteristics that freshen them up and make the audience have a certain attitude towards them. Even though The Mad Hatter's head was clearly full of nuts, his loyalty and confidence in Alice instantly made him one of the most well-liked characters in the movie. Rating: 5/5
Costumes: This is also a big factor when it came to characterization. One thing I found particularly interesting were the many dresses that Alice wore in the movie; for almost every different size or situation she was in (except for the one major fight scene when she had on an armoured suit), she wore a different colored dress; all of the dresses were similarly designed, however, which I thought was pretty neat. Unlike Alice's gown in the old Disney classic version of "Alice in Wonderland," in which she wears a modest blue pinafore and a white apron, Alice is adorned with lacy one-color gowns that reveal quite a lot at the top. I'm a huge fan of her outfits, to be honest; I think they are extremely creative and fashionable yet wild enough for Wonderland.I am not crazy about The Mad Hatter's ridiculously clown-like hair, but his famous hat is quite stunning with its many pins and feathers and single pink sash. The two queens also wear some nifty gowns; both are dominated by the colors that they are famous for (Red and White), and although they are enemies and pretty much opposite ends of one spectrum, both dresses are equally fit of royalty. I think The Red Queen's heart-shaped crown of hair is very interesting, and goes well with her personality and character. Rating: 5/5
Acting: All the actors were very much in character during the whole movie (see more under Characterization and the bulleted list I provide)...especially Johnny Depp, who played the famous Mad Hatter; he always seems to play the quirkiest characters. XD Sadly enough, the one actor that I was not altogether pleased with was Mia Wasikowska, who plays Alice. She slightly reminded me of a better Kristen Stewart, who plays Bella Swan in Twilight. Mia expressed limited emotion and her reactions to Wonderland are not realistic enough (for instance, she did not seem terrified enough of the Jabberwocky). In some scenes, she seems to be only talking...there is not much actual acting going on. And acting for her was key to the movie, especially since Alice is the main character and the entire story, plot, and movie as a whole is about her. Like Kristen Stewart is for Bella, I think Mia's look is perfect for Alice, but her acting could have been much better. It is truly a sad thing that all of Alice's supporting characters performed better than herself. Rating: 4.5/5
"I am afraid so. You're entirely bonkers....but I'll tell you a secret. All the best people are." -Alice
P.S. It took days to complete this blog post and I am so glad I finally completed it! I apologize for the intense verbosity...I tend to be very wordy when I am extremely passionate about something but am unsure about how to convey how I feel about it. Hopefully I will never have a post as long and extensive as this one!