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Alice in Blunderland?
lucas vigor
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Joined: May 12, 2004
Posts: 3985
From: SOCAL
Posted: 2010-03-05 06:27 am   Permalink

Is it just me, or is this reviewer a total ass?

"'Alice' in Blunderland
James Rocchi, Special to MSN Movies

Splayed out on the screen in pixelated, glimmering, hollow 3-D, Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland" is "inspired" by Lewis Carroll's 1865 "Alice in Wonderland" and 1872 "Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There." The phrase "inspired" is in quotes above because, bluntly, there's not a moment of true inspiration in the entire film, just a series of moments demonstrating that Burton, more and more, has become a director content to use his tools as crutches. "Alice in Wonderland" follows Alice (Mia Wasikowska, rendered blank and bland by the script) as she returns to Wonderland and its characters, now a fully-grown woman. This time when Alice tumbles down the rabbit hole, it's because she's fleeing a dreary arranged marriage to a dreary man.

And once in Wonderland, Alice becomes the ultimate Tim Burton protagonist, which is to say that she wanders through a meticulously-designed fantasyland doing very little, meeting fantastic characters much more interesting than she is. Alice has only cloudy memories of her previous visits to Wonderland, and meets at every turn her old friends like Tweedledum and Tweedledee (Matt Lucas), the White Rabbit (voiced by Michael Sheen) and the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp, looking like the headliner in a hypothetical acid trip by the late fashion designer Alexander McQueen). Alice, we and she are told, is the only person who can defeat the Jabberwock and free "Underland" (apparently, Alice misheard it all those years ago, an empty fillip that adds nothing) from the tyranny of the petty, cruel Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter).

But Linda Woolverton's screenplay doesn't give us any reasons for this, moving between expensive and lead-footed set-pieces and unfunny, ostensibly whimsical wordplay before culminating with Alice clad in battle armor bearing the Vorpal sword to defeat the Jabberwock. This is exciting if you collect action figures, or wonder what Joan of Arc would look like given a makeover suitable for the racks at Hot Topic. It is not in any way thrilling if you are interested in character, motivation, coherent storytelling or anything other than Burton's high-tech, high-cost puppet show, in which he jams his clumsy hands up into various literary figures and has them say what he likes before tossing them aside. The unanswered questions are many, and grow with each passing second (Why is Alice the savior? Why is the White Queen [Anne Hathaway] better than the Red?) and we are not given answers, merely spectacle.

The film's 3-D inventions are essentially irrelevant. As the CG characters clatter and clamor on-screen, you get the sense that the 3-D was added solely to keep the computer-generated characters and backgrounds from looking even more mummified, lifeless and plastic. Carroll's books are cultural curiosities whose familiarity is as enduring as it is inexplicable. They're plotless whimsies designed to divert children and lightly mock Victorian social modes and models, and transforming their characters and settings into a 21st-century action-spectacle big-finish blockbuster does not do them, or the audience, any favors. (The Jefferson Airplane wrung more cultural pulp and spooky imaginative power out of the "Alice" story in 1967's "White Rabbit" with two-and-a-half minutes and a little reverb than Burton does in 2010 with 108 minutes and millions of dollars.) Depp's Mad Hatter is shown to be insane thanks in no small part to the brutal military actions of the Red Queen. I'd never thought of the Mad Hatter as a victim of post-traumatic stress disorder, but any interesting possibilities in that approach are drowned out by Depp's shifting accents, shameless mugging and lazy overacting.

Much of the blame of this "Alice" can fall on Woolverton. If you're going to explore political ideas with a revamp of a Victorian children's fable, don't do it in half-measures. The film's postscript feels like a lame attempt to give one of the least feminist works of literature ever written (many historians suggest Carroll invented "Alice" to impress an 11-year-old girl in whom he had an unhealthy interest) a closing moment with a grown-up lead character whose finale feels faux-feminist and clumsily tacked-on.

Burton's always been more of an image-maker than a storyteller. His films all tend to recycle the tale of the beautiful, misunderstood outsider; but at least "Edward Scissorhands" and "Ed Wood" had the lightness of inspiration and the physicality of the real world to support them, and in those films Depp was asked to do more than show up and be Johnny Depp. Like the sour, saccharine "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," "Alice in Wonderland" combines the heavy-handed clamminess of unneeded brand remarketing (Disney would love to sell new "Alice" stuff, and may have put more effort into the tie-in merchandise than the actual film) with the hateful hollowness of overdone and empty computer-generated imagery. The original 1951 Disney animated "Alice in Wonderland" is far from perfect, but at least it makes you feel like you're watching a fairy tale. With Burton's uninspired, underdone and underwritten version, you only feel like you're watching money."


Hey, everyone is entitled to their opinions. God knows people like me and John-O and Big Tiki Dude have plenty of them! But this one goes TOO far!

I don't think I have ever seen a Tim Burton movie so bad that it deserved this type of a scathing and negative review, especially in the main stream press. I love Tim Burton's work. It's all especially inventive and good. I think this reviewer needs a new job. Has anyone seen it yet? Anyone happen to agree?





 
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Staredge
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Joined: Jul 15, 2008
Posts: 103
From: Martinsburg
Posted: 2010-03-05 07:14 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2010-03-05 06:27, lucas vigor wrote:

Hey, everyone is entitled to their opinions. God knows people like me and John-O and Big Tiki Dude have plenty of them! But this one goes TOO far!

I don't think I have ever seen a Tim Burton movie so bad that it deserved this type of a scathing and negative review, especially in the main stream press. I love Tim Burton's work. It's all especially inventive and good. I think this reviewer needs a new job. Has anyone seen it yet? Anyone happen to agree?



Nope...but the bold part negates the rest. It MIGHT be that bad. Can't call the guy an ass unless you've seen it, and even then that doesn't make him wrong. I have no interest in seeing it, with or without good reviews. Just doesn't look like a movie I'd enjoy. (actually, the effects I've seen so far just give me a headache)


 
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lucas vigor
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Joined: May 12, 2004
Posts: 3985
From: SOCAL
Posted: 2010-03-05 07:56 am   Permalink

So far, every film he has done has been good. I can't even think of one bad one. My opinion, of course.

One thing I have heard, though, is that the 3D effects can be overwhelming, like in Avatar. Could cause motion sickness.

I am sure there are people who don't like Tim Burton's movies. That's cool (Hey, I don't like any Tarantino movies!) but I think the reviewer is really biased towards Burton. It shows in his blanket statements about his other films. Perhaps he should have just not bothered to review it.

I hate the band Guns and Roses. I should probably never do an album review of Chinese Democracy, because I know going in, that I will hate it.


 
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HelloTiki
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Joined: Jul 23, 2005
Posts: 440
From: Kailua, Hawaii
Posted: 2010-03-05 08:38 am   Permalink

It sounds as though, once again, and after spending sooooo much money, that someone failed to establish a great story, and then form a movie around it. It's such a shame that such a terrific cast be wasted. But, I may just see it to enjoy some of my favorite actors. Helena Bonham Carter, the elusive Crispin Glover, Alan Rickman.

 
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Jason Wickedly
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Joined: Jan 01, 2008
Posts: 704
From: LBCTIKI
Posted: 2010-03-05 10:18 am   Permalink

Unfortunately, most of the "top critics" on the Rotten Tomatoes web site agree: the movie has a 59% rating so far...which is one percent away from getting out of the "rotten" category and into the "fresh" one.

Alice In Wonderland on Rotten Tomatoes

From L.A. Times reviewer Kenneth Turan: "One pill makes you larger and one pill makes you small, and the pills Tim Burton gives you don't do very much at all."

I'll probably go see it this weekend anyways...I pretty much dig anything Tim Burton does as well.

(and how can you not like Tarantino movies?!?)

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[ This Message was edited by: Jason Wickedly 2010-03-05 10:21 ]


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lucas vigor
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Joined: May 12, 2004
Posts: 3985
From: SOCAL
Posted: 2010-03-05 12:30 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2010-03-05 10:18, Jason Wickedly wrote:

(and how can you not like Tarantino movies?!?)

_________________



[ This Message was edited by: Jason Wickedly 2010-03-05 10:21 ]



I know, I know! I get a lot of crap for that...I guess it is because I don't like his overly cute dialogue, which in my opinion seems to celebrate the mundane (Royale with cheese, Madonna's "like a virgin"?)and the fact that his movies have often high levels of violence and torture (Don't like many movies that Mel Gibson does either) and the fact that he often places himself in his own movies acting like some wannabe tough guy. That persona carries over into his personal life as well (Watch the youtube clip were he is threatening a photographer)

Anyway, I am willing to bet I am totally in the minority with this opinion! (would'nt be the first time, of course!)


 
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JOHN-O
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Joined: May 16, 2008
Posts: 2690
From: Dogtown, USA
Posted: 2010-03-05 5:52 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2010-03-05 06:27, lucas vigor wrote:

Hey, everyone is entitled to their opinions. God knows people like me and John-O and Big Tiki Dude have plenty of them! But this one goes TOO far!



Huh, how did I get dragged into this ?? FYI, I've already been notified that I have gone TOO far !!

Actually this movie seems like the same old over-produced CGI crap, all style and no substance.

It would have been cool to see them go the "adult" route and remake this 1976 softcore version:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8fDfZPN-6Y



Lucas, why are you wasting time here on Bilge ??

Dude, get back to Tiki Music and post something there that will make this movie review seem like a love letter.

[ This Message was edited by: JOHN-O 2010-03-05 21:33 ]


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Cammo
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Joined: May 18, 2006
Posts: 1952
From: San Diego
Posted: 2010-03-05 6:35 pm   Permalink

Burton's best films were written by the extremely clever Ms. Caroline Thompson, who never seems to get the projects she deserves and constantly appears to be bulldozed by the Hollywood Machine. If her name isn't in the credits of a Tim Burton mess-en-scene, STAY AWAY.

Disney has some new guys at the top who are determined to make some $$$ off this one. They just today took out the entire front page of the LA Times as a single 4-page giant color ad.

I'd ask the simple questions:

1. Why advertise to the Los Angeles audience at enormous expense when it's the REST of America that will make the film a hit? In fact, most industry people in LA don't even go to films, they are clubbers and find sitting in theaters itchy at best.

but better -

2. Why make a kid's film that seems determined to scare the crap out of kids? The scenes I've glanced at are nightmarish. I hate it when 5 year olds cry in theaters and the parents keep yelling at them to stop. Gonna be a lot of that going on.

or -

3. Why make an adult film that smells like a kid's film? Would you take your date to this movie? See what I mean?

4. Why make a film that holds no interest to teen-agers? Believe it or not, Depp is no longer a heartthrob to this year's high school graduating class. And everybody knows NEVER EVER make a film that your mom could ask you to take your younger sister to. "Oh, you and that Ryan boy are going to that movie? It looks cute, could you take Peggy with you too?"

5. Why make a film that rewrites a classic? Is this actually better than the Lewis Carroll-written version?

Why? Cause giant egos are involved, folks. We're all just in their way.


 
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little lost tiki
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Joined: Jun 12, 2006
Posts: 7581
From: Orange,CA-right near the Circle!
Posted: 2010-03-06 10:20 am   Permalink

At least the upcoming Gilligan's Island movie should deliver the goods...
i heard Tarantino's directing it...
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lucas vigor
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Joined: May 12, 2004
Posts: 3985
From: SOCAL
Posted: 2010-03-06 3:42 pm   Permalink

I was lucky enough to get a sneak peak, so I will post a review:

"The new Gilligan's Island, as directed by Quentin Tarantino is a hoot! Fanboys will love the spaghetti western and surf soundtrack, and the movie was shot entirely with a handheld cellphone camera.
The plot begins innocently enough. We see the Minnow leave the harbor (Though there is an overly weighty backstory involving the skipper and exactly why he refers to Gilligan as "Lil buddy") but within the first 10 minutes the profanity begins.

(This movie may very well set a new record for the amount of times an F-Bomb is dropped. It's "F-ing this" and "F-ing that" for the next two hours.)

Gilligan, (brilliantly portayed by an unrecognizeable John Travolta) we soon discover, was an interrogator at Guatanamo Bay, who specialzed in waterboarding and Koran flushing prior to his employement on the Minnow. Withing the first 1/2 hour there are no less then 3 excruciating torture scenes involving Gilligan trying to get the professor to admit he made up the whole global warming thing, and that there really won't be any rogue wave that will wipe them from the island. These are not scenes for the weak-stomached.

Next, there is a 25 minute scene involving Maryanne and Ginger discussing the true meaning of the song, "white Rabbit". (They end up agreeing that it is basically about Grace Slick's visit to the Doctor, and her subsequent confusion about which pills she was supposed to take for her angina, and which one for her goiter).

Next we have another torture scene, this one involving a hot potato, tennis ball machine, and features a cameo appearance by that one dude from the Jerky Boys, Johnny Brennan.

After the torture scene, we skip to a cave scene were Gilligan uses the F word 38 times in rapid succession. Eventually the professor (Steve Buscemi) joins in and says "Shit" 48 more times.

Finally, the movies reaches a climax in a detailed beating scene where Ginger punches Ms. Howell in the face 63 times, (while more surf music is playing)and then stabs her 9 times until she is dead. Her last words are "Fuck", and then the credits start rolling.

All in all, probably one of the greatest films ever made!


 
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Hakalugi
Site Administrator

Joined: Aug 10, 2004
Posts: 3043
From: Redondo Beach, CA
Posted: 2010-03-07 3:00 pm   Permalink

Nice review Lucas! Thanks for the preview.

As far as Alice goes:

'Alice in Wonderland' opens to record-setting $210 million

The article goes on to state that "Audiences gave the movie an average grade of A-minus, according to market research firm CinemaScore, meaning that word of mouth should be strong despite mixed reviews".


Maybe I'll go afterall. Has anyone here seen it yet?







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bigtikidude
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Joined: Aug 10, 2004
Posts: 8875
From: Anaheim,Ca.
Posted: 2010-03-07 7:31 pm   Permalink

I'm thinking about going tonight to the Alice movie.

and Damn, after that review of the Gilligan Movie.
I'm all over it.

is there any previews of it on the net?

Jeff(btd)


 
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leleliz
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Joined: Sep 02, 2008
Posts: 1981
From: NorCal
Posted: 2010-03-10 07:46 am   Permalink

I saw this last night and I loved it.


I did not see it in 3D but you can tell the movie was meant to be seen that way since there is a lot of things always flying at the screen and its filmed with the idea of 3D in mind. Things like rockinghorse flies buzzing around, Alice falling down the rabbit hole, swords shooting out toward the camera, the Hatter running towards you, etc...lend themselves to a 3D experience.

To begin with you have to take into consideration this is not Walt Disney cartoon version of Alice...this is 13 years after she first went down the rabbit hole so things have changed a bit

I loved the overall visuals and it took only a few minutes to get lost in the scenery the same way you would with Edward Scissorhands or even Harry Potter.

The CGI effects were excellent with maybe just a slight cheese factor. The Cheshire Cat was all CGI and he was my favorite and done really well. Some other favorites were the red queen's playing cards and the caterpillar.

Johnny Depp was good as well...but he wasnt the star of the movie more like an important supporting character.

I thought it was enjoyable, entertaining and overall Tim Burton did a fantastic job.

I am not a big fan of 3D movies (why is everything in 3D these days? give it a rest!) but just from seeing it in 2D I have to say that visually it was extremely well done.

Enjoy!


 
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Hakalugi
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Joined: Aug 10, 2004
Posts: 3043
From: Redondo Beach, CA
Posted: 2010-03-10 09:06 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2010-03-10 07:46, leleliz wrote:
I saw this last night and I loved it.


...

I am not a big fan of 3D movies (why is everything in 3D these days? give it a rest!) but just from seeing it in 2D I have to say that visually it was extremely well done.

Enjoy!



Good review. Just curious, what is it you don't like about 3D movies? You liked the new Alice in 2D, why would you not like it in 3D? Does the 3D process give you a headache or eyestrain? Personally, I don't like the 3D I've seen in an Imax theatre, it was too distracting in that there were weird double vision artifacts. It was probably more a problem with the 3D process used. On the other hand, all of the recent 3D movies on a "standard" size screen have looked great with no side effects. Definitely preferable over 2D.

However, one thing I don't like is when a movie exploits it too much, as in waving stuff in front of your face for no other reason than to say "hey look at me, I'm in 3D". It might look amazing, but it detracts from the story and I can do without that. But that's not a complaint against 3D, just the director's judgement.




 
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leleliz
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Joined: Sep 02, 2008
Posts: 1981
From: NorCal
Posted: 2010-03-10 10:42 am   Permalink

Hakalugi one reason I am not into 3D is because I wear glasses and after about 15 minutes of 3D I have a rip roaring headache

But beyond that think about when that movie comes out on DVD...are you seriously going to have 3D glasses sitting around on hand whenever you want to watch that movie again? Most likely not.

Also you are right...all the constant bombardment of 3D "tricks" gets to be too much. Great have something shoot out of the screen but not every every minute ...give a rest between the tricks so when they happen they are more of a surprise


 
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