Many of you know I am doing a Disney Canon rewatch over on my youtube channel. I’ve honestly been surprised how different my experience has been with several films- with my either looking more highly or slightly down on films from my 2014 watch. I mean there are very few Disney films I don’t like on some level, so I suppose degrees of liking will vary depending on mood/situation.
Anyway, I am up to week 13 which means Alice in Wonderland. I love Alice in Wonderland and it ended up at #11 in my original Disney Canon ranking. This time it could end up even higher. What struck me on this watch is how it is nonsense but nonsense with a purpose. Alice says she thinks the world would be better if it was nonsense and all books had pictures, right was left, up was down etc. So when she gets to Wonderland she experiences her vision of what she thinks will be better and it turns out it isn’t. There’s something interesting there. How often in life do we think another world/lifestyle would be better but if we walked around in our dream world it might not be so great?
Alice’s journey is non-linear as far as plot. She meets one character and experiences their version of nonsense. Whether it is an insane tea party, an angry Queen of Hearts or a blubbering philosophizing caterpillar. Some people don’t like that lack of structure but I love it.
I actually just read the book for the first time and posted a review on my other blog. I loved the book as well. It’s funny, endearing and magical. http://smilingldsgirl.com/2016/03/29/teaser-tuesday-alice-in-wonderland/
The voice cast here may be the best in Disney history and the artwork from Mary Blair and team is geometric and rich in detail. I love it.
So here is my youtube review of the Animated Alice.
Now let’s talk about the 2010 Tim Burton version. I did not like this movie when it came out in the theater but I knew I needed to rewatch it for the upcoming sequel so I tried to go in with an open mind….and boy do I still dislike this movie.
First of all, it entirely gets the purpose of Alice in Wonderland wrong. She thinks that nonsense is better and she gets a chance to confront that belief. In this version she is escaping a stuffy proposal because she’s a free spirit. Groan…They keep saying in the film it is her dream but what proof have we gotten of that in the real life segment? And who dreams of these things? It makes sense for Alice in the animated film to dream of a world of nonsense but who dreams of prophecies, battles, apocalyptic death and destruction? That makes no sense where an angry version of nonsense does make sense.
Even if you accept a different purpose for the story, the purpose that they chose is incredibly generic and boring. Alice is the chosen one we’ve seen in a million other movies who is prophesied to save Wonderland…oh excuse me Underland (gag me). I mean how many movies from Twilight, Harry Potter, Narnia, Hunger Games do we see this story arc. What they’ve done is take a bright unusual story and turn it into the most milk toast of stories.
Now about the visuals. This film won Oscars for visual effects and costumes but to me it looks extremely flat and one-note. Everything is gray and brown and a lot of it can feel quite garish and gross (how about the mote of heads…). I can see why they are pleasing to some palates but to me it is completely bland and seen it a million times. To me it is remarkable that Mary Blair with essentially black backgrounds gets more creativity and better world building in the animated film than all of this 2010 version accomplishes.
Then we have the performances and characters. Mia Wasikowska is completely generic and boring as Alice. What is great about Kathryn Beaumont is she seems to have the personality of both a grown up and a child. Here she is a free spirited independent girl- yawn!
As far as the other performances, they don’t realize that in the animated film these characters are on screen very briefly so they don’t ware out their welcome. Here Johnny Depp as the marose Mad Hatter is very annoying and nobody should want to hear Helena Bonham Carter shrieking for a nearly 2 hour movie. It’s just awful. The one stand out for me is Alan Rickman as the Caterpillar who is perfect for the part.
I know a lot of people like this film but I really hate it. On the rewatch I honestly dislike it just as much as Maleficent. Just not for me I guess.
Here is my video review of 2010 Alice in Wonderland
I know that is throwing a lot at you guys in one post but I would love to hear your thoughts on either film. Thanks so much! And if you like my videos please give them a thumbs up and subscribe because each Wednesday I post my Disney Canon reviews. Next up Peter Pan.