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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Alice in Wonderland (In Disney Digital 3D)


Featured reviewer Paul Young, Screenrant.com


Alice In Wonderland


Alice In Wonderland Poster

22 in. x 34 in.

Buy at AllPosters.com

Framed   Mounted



Starring: Mia Wasikowska ... Alice

Johnny Depp ... Mad Hatter

Helena Bonham Carter ... Red Queen

Anne Hathaway ... White Queen

Crispin Glover ... Stayne

Matt Lucas ... Tweedledee / Tweedledum

Stephen Fry ... Cheshire Cat (voice)

Michael Sheen ... White Rabbit (voice)

Alan Rickman ... Blue Caterpillar (voice)

Barbara Windsor ... Dormouse (voice)

Paul Whitehouse ... March Hare (voice)

Timothy Spall ... Bayard (voice)

Marton Csokas ... Charles Kingsleigh

Tim Pigott-Smith ... Lord Ascot

Synopsis: Alice Kingsleigh (Mia Wasikowska) is the daughter of Charles Kingsleigh (Marton Csokas), a wealthy man who planned to find profitable shipping routes through the world in the 19th century. When she tells him of her adventures in Wonderland (later to be revealed as 'Underland'), he declares her mad, but that all the best people are. However, many years afterward, Charles has passed away, and Alice misses his playful attitude.

Now feeling trapped in a world of proper etiquette for one such as herself, Alice is taken to a garden party, where it is hoped that she will accept a marriage proposal from Hamish (Leo Bill), the son of one of her father's business partners. However, Alice soon grows distracted seeing a rabbit with a waistcoat nearby, and rushes after the strange creature.

Following it, she finds her way to the trunk of an old tree some ways off, and falls down a hole. The hole leads her to a strange room, of which she finds a key, as well as a drink that makes her smaller, and a cake that increases her size. After getting the key and shrinking down to use a small door, she soon finds herself in an enormous garden area.

Soon after, she comes across the White Rabbit (Michael Sheen), as well as the Dormouse (Barbara Windsor), a Dodo bird (Michael Gough), and the Tweedles (Matt Lucas). The White Rabbit explains that is sure he has found the right Alice this time, while the Dormouse believes he is mistaken. Alice explains that her name is Alice, but feels they are looking for another "Alice." They take her to Abosolom the Caterpillar (Alan Rickman), who consults a scroll, which contains details regarding the history of Wonderland, from it's birth onward. The scroll claims that on the Frabjous Day, Alice will return to slay the Jabberwocky. Alice sees this, and adamants that she is not the person in the scroll, when a commotion breaks out, and the Knave of Hearts (Crispin Glover) appears, along with some red-carded soldiers and a creature called a Bandersnatch. Everyone scatters, as the Knave takes the scroll, and captures the Dodo bird. Alice, when confronted with the Bandersnatch, stands her ground, convinced that it is just a dream. However, the creature scratches her, and Alice takes off running, but not before the Dormouse plucks out one of the creature's eyes.

Some ways off, Alice encounters the Tweedles again, who attempt to help her, but are soon captured by a giant bird that takes them to the Red Queen's castle. At the castle, the Knave of Hearts informs the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) about the scroll, and the prophecy of Alice killing the Jabberwocky (of which she possesses). The Red Queen orders Alice to be found, and the Knave utilizes a bloodhound named Bayard (Timothy Spall) to track her down, promising freedom for Bayard's wife and pups (a lie, meant as a way to get the dog to help the Red Queen).

Meanwhile, Alice encounters the Cheshire Cat (Stephen Fry), who leads her to the Mad Hatter's place, where she encounters the Dormouse again, as well as the March Hare (Paul Whitehouse). The Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) is pleased to see Alice, and is in rapture over the coming Frabjous day in which she will slay the Jabberwocky. Alice again insists she is not 'that Alice,' when the Knave of Hearts and Bayard close in. The Hatter stuffs Alice into a teapot, to hide her from the Knave. In secret, the Dormouse scolds the dog for bringing the Knave there, but Bayard explains why he came. He then attempts to lead the Knave off in a different direction.

After they have left, the Hatter walks Alice through the nearby woods, where they come across the burned ruins of a small village. The Hatter then explains to Alice about how in the time she was gone, the Red Queen has taken over Wonderland, banishing the White Queen (Anne Hathaway) to her own domain, and taking her vorpal sword.

As they talk, the Knave again approaches, and the Hatter places Alice on his hat, and flings it across a river, giving himself up to the Knave, who takes him to the Red Queen. Later on, Bayard finds the hat and Alice. Alice manages to convince Bayard to take her to the Red Queen's castle, to rescue the Hatter. Along with the hat, they find their way there, where Alice encounters the White Rabbit assisting with a game of croquet with the Red Queen. Alice requests to be made larger (she is still the size of a gerbil), and the rabbit gives her a cake. However, she eats too much and ends up almost 10 feet tall, disrupting the croquet game. The Queen does not recognize Alice, who says she is 'Um' from Umbridge, and wishes to help the Queen. The Queen, impressed by the size of Alice's head, declares her to be made part of her royal court.

The Hatter is brought before the Queen and Alice, and is at first intended to be beheaded. However, the Hatter manages to stall for time, by requesting that he make the Queen a hat for her enormous head. Flattered by the attention, she gives into this request. Alice soon after finds out that the vorpal sword is on the grounds of the castle, but is locked away in a chest in the quarters of the Bandersnatch. After procuring the plucked eye from the Dormouse (who has broken into the castle to free the Hatter), Alice manages to return the eye to the creature. This allows her to gain access to the sword. Alice goes to the Hatter's room, and finds the Dormouse there. However, the Knave of Hearts shows up shortly, and when the Dormouse lets slip Alice's true name, he attempts to kill her. Alice manages to escape into the courtyard, where the Bandersnatch helps her escape from the castle. Bayard also accompanies her, as they head for the White Queen's castle.

The Red Queen then orders that the Hatter and the Dormouse be executed the next day. However, the Cheshire Cat uses his trickery to take on the guise of the Hatter, and allows the Hatter, Dormouse, the White Rabbit, the Tweedles, and Bayard's family to escape. They all soon meet up at the White Queen's castle, where the Queen has used her potions knowledge to shrink Alice to normal size.



Alice In Wonderland - Red Queen


Alice In Wonderland - Red Queen Stand Up
38 in. x 72 in.
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Alice In Wonderland - Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum
Alice In Wonderland - Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum Stand Up
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Alice In Wonderland - Mad Hatter

Alice In Wonderland - Mad Hatter Stand Up
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The next day then dawns...the Frabjous day. Almost everyone is willing to take up arms for the White Queen. However, she hopes that Alice will fulfill the prophecy, but Alice rushes off to the Queen's garden, still upset over everyone pushing her into this task. It is there she encounters Absolom, cocooning himself. It is here that Absolom explains to Alice how she had been to Wonderland before, and suddenly, it all comes back to her, that what she thought originally was a dream was real. After her revelation, Alice dons the armor prepared for her by the White Queen, and takes up the vorpal sword.

Both the White Queen and the Red Queen meet on a checkerboard field. Both Queens meet first, with the White Queen asking her sister to not do battle, but the Red Queen refuses to give into the pacification of her sister's plea. The White Queen brings forth Alice as their 'champion,' as the Red Queen' summons the Jabberwocky. As Alice faces off with the creature, the rest of the armies go to war. Alice plays a mind-game with herself, talking of 6 impossible things, as it is claimed her father would do before breakfast. In her mind-game, she manages to find the strength to slay the Jabberwocky. The Red Queen demands that her subjects kill Alice, but as the White Queen's champion has slayed that of the Red Queen, the Red Queen's subjects will no longer follow her commands.

The White Queen orders the Red Queen banished to the Outlands, for the crimes that she has committed (due to a the White Queen's vow not to harm a living creature, she will not kill her sister), with noone to offer her sympathy. The Knave of Hearts is also chained to her, as punishment as well. However, the thought of being alone with the Queen causes him to try to kill her, before his dagger is taken from him by the Hatter.

After the Red Queen and the Knave are taken away, the White Queen's army rejoices, with the Hatter doing a Fudderwupping dance, much to the delight of everyone. The White Queen then collects some of the Jabberwocky's blood, and gives it to Alice. The blood of the Jabberwocky allows Alice to return to her world, and she returns to the Garden Party.

Alice then explains to Hamish that she cannot accept his proposal, as well as speaks her mind to a number of different relatives and acquaintances. Her forthright attitude catches the eye of Hamish's father, and soon, the two discuss plans to expand the shipping routes to China, a land that has not yet been opened to the west.

Alice is then made an apprentice to the company, and sets off with a crew to open the shipping route to China, aboard a ship titled "Wonder". The last thing shown is a bright blue butterfly, none other than Abosolom.

Review: by Paul Young, Screenrant.com

Is Tim Burton's take on Alice in Wonderland something not to be missed on the big screen? Or just another movie to watch on DVD? Here's the scoop.

Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland is a wonderfully spun tale that delves deeper into the fantasy aspect of the story than any of its predecessors; however, the use of 3D is distracting at best and horrible at worst.

Let me start by saying that I’m a big fan of almost everything that involves Tim Burton
and Johnny Depp. Burton has a dark, almost “Poe” like story telling ability that I really enjoy – and I don’t think there is any actor alive today that can rival the ability Depp has in bringing a unique quality to each character he plays.

For this review first I’ll discuss the story of the film, and then I’ll address the use of 3D – and how it did or did not help the film.

For those that may not already know, this version of Alice in Wonderland is not the same as the animated story Disney produced in 1951, but it does use the same characters. In this version, we are introduced to Alice when she is only 6 and is having nightmares of a strange world filled with talking caterpillars, dodo birds and other strange beasts. Her father assures her it’s all just a dream.

Fast forward 14 years and little Alice (Mia Wasikowska) is all grown up and about to receive a marriage proposal from Hamish Ascot, who will eventually be Lord Ascot. That doesn’t matter to Alice, who is always daydreaming and wants more out of life than just status. The story takes a familiar twist at this point when Alice begins seeing a White Rabbit while walking through the garden with her future mother-in-law. Just as Hamish proposes to Alice in front of four or five dozen strangers, she gets distracted and takes off after the White Rabbit and inevitably falls down the rabbit hole.


After a visually interesting “Drink Me,” “Eat Me” scene, Alice is once again introduced to the world of Wonderland (or Underland as the Hatter tells us later). I say once again, because this is Alice’s second trip to the fantasy world although she has no recollection of it other than from her dreams. In Lewis Carroll’s sequel to Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass, Alice does meet the Red and White Queens but she is still a young child. What writer Linda Woolverton has done here is masterfully mix Carroll’s poems from both stories into an altogether different work of art.

After falling through the hole, Alice meets the Tweedle brothers, the Dormouse, and the White Rabbit, who take her to meet Hans Gruber the Blue Caterpillar. They have doubts that she is the “real” Alice and hope the hookah smoking insect can shed some light on the truth. Alice firmly believes she is in a dream and therefore can not be the Alice they are waiting for. Their Alice is supposed to defeat the Jabberwocky, the Red Queen’s champion, and bring about Frabjous Day.

One problem, the Red Queen, played by the beautiful Helena Bonham Carter, has attacked her sister the White Queen, played oddly by Anne Hathaway, and killed her husband the Red King and now has (W)Underland completely under her fearsome rule. In fact, our first encounter with the Red Queen involves a frog, some missing tarts and the familiar phrase, “OFF WITH HIS HEAD!”

Carter is obviously having a lot of fun in her big-headed role and it shows. She’s compelling to watch the entire time she’s on screen but maybe that’s just because of her oversized noggin. The size of her head becomes a humorous center piece for a few sight gags later in the film.

With the defeat of her sister, the Red Queen now has the Vorpal Blade, the only sword that can kill the Jabberwocky, and has the deadly Bandersnatch guarding it. If Alice is to defeat the Jabberwocky she is going to need help. So our intrepid young heroine meets the Cheshire Cat (Stephen Fry), who takes her to a loopy band of misfit warriors having tea in the middle of the woods. The Dormouse, the March Hare and the Mad Hatter are all sworn enemies of the Red Queen and friends of Alice and will do what is necessary to assist her in her journey.

I’ve got to address Depp’s performance as the Hatter. His ability to go from a sane, focus-driven Scotsman to an over-the-top, off his rocker hatter is fantastic. He steals every scene he is in including the final massive battle scene where he shows up wearing a kilt and brandishing a giant claymore. I’ve never thought of the Mad Hatter as a fighting type hero character but I certainly do now.

While assisting Alice, the Hatter gets captured by the Red Queen and her right hand man Stayne (Crispin Glover). I could be wrong but I think Burton may have used some stop-motion animation for Stayne’s body and imposed his regular sized head on it. The effect is beyond creepy to look at. Alice decides to help free her friend from the Red Queen’s castle, steal back the Vorpal Blade and escape to the White Queen’s new fortress. She manages all but the freeing of the Hatter, which I won’t spoil for you as far as how it happens.

All this leads up to the massive chess piece guards versus playing card guards with everyone getting in on the fighting action. Does Alice defeat the Jabberwocky? Will the Red Queen’s reign come to an end? Will Alice accept Hamish’s marriage proposal? You’ll need to watch the film to get the answer to those questions.

So after all that – was it any good?

A few things did bother me about the film. First, Danny Elfman’s score, while extremely dark and beautiful, felt rehashed. I could easily associate main parts of the soundtrack with other films he has scored and none of the songs particularly stuck out in my mind.

Secondly, anyone paying the extra money to watch Alice in Wonderland in 3D hoping to have a similar 3D experience as they did with Avatar will be sorely disappointed. While I didn’t love Avatar, I did find myself appreciating what Cameron had done with the finely planned out 3D filming process – as opposed to the path Burton choose of converting the film to 3D in post-production. There is a big difference in how it is used, and in my opinion tight frame, close-up head shots should never be shot in 3D. However, the large wide frame scenery shots look great.

Ultimately, the 3D fails to impress in Alice in Wonderland and certain 3D parts of the film, such as Alice falling down the rabbit hole, are completely unwatchable. The digital effects guys throw so much debris towards the audience and Burton films the scene so close up that everything blurs together in a mass of unintelligible imagery. I hope that other studios are taking note of this and realize that if they must make a 3D film, then it needs to be done during the shooting process and not done as an afterthought.

As a quick side note – during the Hatter’s Futterwacken Dance, I quickly recognized the limber leg skills of David “Elsewhere” Bernal. A young guy that became an internet phenomenon several years ago before the word “viral” was even associated with You Tube. You can check out his famous video HERE (Video removed to due to infringement).

Overall, the story for Alice in Wonderland was great, and although it may be a tad too dark and Burton-esque for children under 9, it’s sure to impress fans of the fairytale genre. Alice in Wonderland the 3D experience, however, is not worth the extra money. If you want to go see this, I recommend you watch the regular old 2D version.


 

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