When I was 7 my mum made this beautiful cake for my dad’s birthday. It was stunning, with intricate swirls of pink and green icing. You could see the amount of effort my mum had put into the cake and I so wanted to love it. But then I had a bite. It wasn’t really bad, just bland, and with a cake as stunning looking as that, you expect something amazing. And that’s exactly how I feel about Alice In Wonderland.
In this Alice in Wonderland, Alice (Mia Wasikowska) is 19 years old who falls down the rabbit hole after running away during her own marriage proposal. She lands in Underland, a place she previously visited 13 years ago, but doesn’t remember. Alice encounters the weird inhabitants of Underland, including the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp), the White Rabbit (Michael Sheen) and the Cheshire Cat (Stephen Fry) and gets caught up in the battle between the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) and the White Queen (Anne Hathaway).
Visually this movie is gorgeous. I saw it at the IMAX in 3D and it’s definitely worth the little bit extra to see it there. I wasn’t that convinced by 3D last year, but now movies like Alice in Wonderland and Avatar are proving how beautiful this technique can be used. There are so many pretty things in this movie: the landscapes and buildings, the costumes, the characters, everything just looks great.
Wonderland (or Underland as it’s called here) is a weird place with some wonderfully Burtonesque characteristics, like twisty curly trees and a moat full of heads. I loved both the Red Queen’s and White Queen’s castles; each have little details in them, emphasizing those character’s personalities. The animated characters also look great, with only the white rabbit in the “real” world at the very start of the movie appearing a bit jarring. My favourite has got to be the Cheshire cat though, acting just like a cat is supposed to (I so want a cuddly toy like that!). I also have to mention the brilliant costume design here. Alice has at least 7 different dresses in this movie and they all looked amazing.
Despite how stunning everything in Alice In Wonderland looks like, there’s something missing in this movie. I still can’t pinpoint exactly what it is. Charm? Warmth? The thing is… I didn’t care for Alice or any of the characters at all, there was no emotional connection to make me feel invested in the movie. Besides that, Alice just jumps from one event to the other and you never feel as if she’s in any real danger. The Red Queen screams “Off with her/his head!” a number of times, but you never really feel as if there’s an actual threat.
Alice In Wonderland is a visually stunning movie that deserves to be seen in as large a cinema you can get. Everything looks amazing and it’s worth seeing it for that alone. Story-wise it isn’t the epic movie I was hoping for, but it’s still a good addition to the Alice In Wonderland interpretations.