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5 live review: Alice in Wonderland

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Mark Kermode | 16:08 UK time, Monday, 8 March 2010

5 live's resident movie critic Dr Mark Kermode reviews Alice in Wonderland .
Go to Mark on 5 Live for more reviews and film debate.

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  • Comment number 1.

    I miss Burton of the early 1990's.
    Granted, a little Tim Burton still goes a long way; but Sweeney Todd was by far his most uninspired and drab film up until this point.
    I mean, even Planet of the Apes had a few elysian moments worth the price of admission.

    And I hear that Avril Lavigne wrote an original song for the piece.
    Avril Lavigne. Wrote a song. For a Tim Burton film.
    - Things really have gone downhill.
    We are talking about the man who got Siouxsie & the Banshees to co-write the magnificent goth-pop tune "Face to Face" with Danny Elfman as part of the soundtrack for Batman Returns.

  • Comment number 2.

    Bah. Another 3D film. Two of my friends have epilepsy and can watch regular 2D films with no issues at all. The have been told to avoid 3D films at all costs.
    Makes me think that 3D films and TV are perhaps inaccessible to a larger audience than one may initially assume. If a person only has one eye should they only pay half the price for a 3D film ticket?
    Currently, there are usually 2D versions being shown, but on smaller screens, at awkward times. I hope 3D does remain a gimmick.

  • Comment number 3.

    I refuse to see this movie purely because of Johnny Depp's makeup... His eyes look as if they have been peeled!

  • Comment number 4.

    Burton played it too safe - got the feeling that Disney were chucking money at it on the proviso that it was made for 3D. I went to see it in 2D (wear specs and 3D glasses give me a headache!) and it was very obvious the moments that were added to the plot that would appear at touchy, pointy or twirly 3D.

  • Comment number 5.

    (not seen this film yet!)

    Could we perhaps sum up this review as: "Less than the sum of its parts"?

  • Comment number 6.

    p.s. anyone seen "Exit Through the Gift Shop"? Probably the best documentary I've seen about art in the last 10 years (bear in mind, several people walked out of the film during the screening I was at). p.p.s. Word of warning: its not about Banksy! Its primarily about this guy.

  • Comment number 7.

    The first film that my wife and I have been to see since Star Trek (My birthday treat) as we are both huge Tim Burton fans.
    The longer the film went on, the more bored I became. It should have been a magical, uplifting story but it was drab, dull and predictable. Tim, choose your future projects more carefully.

    A for 3D, I found myself wishing I had watched it in 2D. Sometimes the 3D takes away some of the detail, which is not what you want when paying good money to see it on a huge screen.
    And it's still a gimmick. It doesn't look like real life does in 3D. I put it down to the fact that a lot of the '3D' that we see is at the edges of objects and it therefore makes everything look like cardboard cutouts on a stage, where the objects themselves are flat and 2D, with only the perception of depth between them showing as 3D.
    But maybe this was because not all the film was shot in 3D ? I have not seen a movie like Avatar to see if it looks any better.
    As far as I'm concerned, it looks no better that the old childre'ns toys we used to hold up to our eyes and see 3D images of animals and the like on a disc.

    Next 3D movie, I'm going to see in 2D

  • Comment number 8.

    I enjoyed it! Am I the only one? It was a lot more compelling than I expected, based on the tedious and disjointed source novel (sorry Carroll fans). Compared to the book, I reckon this film has a narrative arc that stands up pretty well; emotive characters, touching relationships and a couple of 'aah, cute' moments for the kids.

    The 'thirteen years later device' worked really well, in my opinion, operating alongside a lovely Disney-type message of control over one's future. Growing up, whilst simultaneously growing 'back down' to flower level and embracing childhood. Also, the jabberwocky sub plot held fantastic resonance for me, being the first poem I ever studied and learnt by heart. I'm hoping this film will encourage more young children to do the same.

    Yes, it's CGI-tastic, but I saw the 2D version and was charmed, but not sickened by the visual aesthetic. No it's not classic Burton, but why should it be? It's a Disney film with originality, quirkiness and none of those grating 'let's hug and share our feelings' moments that often irritate the throat.

    And it's not ALL thanks to computers. The costume design is stunning; really lush and ever changing, whilst retaining that Burton taint of contrivance and artifice that I know and love. Come on everyone, be nice.

  • Comment number 9.

    I am in complete agreement with Dr K about this year's Oscars. What a lacklustre performance it was. Robin Williams' joke was the only one I laughed at, apart from the smile following Steve Martin's reference to his movie, The Jerk. And what was with the looks towards George Clooney? Obviously those of us not in the know (a running joke between Alec Baldwin and gorgeous George) were left perplexed.

    Apart from all the mediocrity (not the best or worst Oscars held), the results were expected and thrilling to see The Hurt Locker get as many gongs as it did. Wonderful for female director to finally get the big one as well as best picture. Very well deserved.

  • Comment number 10.

    Sorry, accidentally posted previous post in what I thought was the Oscars section. Obviously not.

    I actually preferred Alice in Wonderland in 2D rather than 3D. There was very little that made it more of an "immersive" experience in 3D.

    The visuals were sharper and more suited to 2D I found. Far better. In some cases, the CGI wasn't as good as it could have been. The knave (Crispin Glover) and his horse looked very clunky and almost "videogame" like. The other animals were well done.

    And what was it with Depp using a psuedo Glaswegian accent at times? How bizzare?

  • Comment number 11.

    I hated the 3D and I hated the soundtrack. Alice's costumes were no good either. Overall too many stylistic compromises. you could positively hear the squabbeling between Disney and Burton going on throughout the film. could have been memorable, isn't.

  • Comment number 12.

    The point about it being interesting to have Alice going back to something she kind of but doesn't quite remember just makes me think this is the Tim Burton version of Hook.

    No-one else?

  • Comment number 13.

    This isn't a Tim Burton film any more. It's just a Disney film.

  • Comment number 14.

    I hadn't heard Mark's review before I saw the film but I agree with his opinion. I was increasingly bored as the movie progressed and I would describe it as patchy. It felt like Disney execs thought that Burton and Depp would be a whacky but safe set of hands to ensure some profit. At times the film was too Tim Burton, I was a fan of long-time Burton collaborator Danny Elfman, but the score was over the top and like the movie lacked subtlety. Don't even get me started on The Mad Hatter's terrible dance sequence at the end! The film isn't even the Alice in Wonderland story and I didn't feel as if I had any connection to these new versions of the characters, it felt like a bit of a con, I didn't realise I had to do character research before I watched a film!

    I also watched the movie in 3-D and found it gimmicky and I felt that it drew my attention to the poorer CGI elements. It re-emphasised how technically brilliant Avatar is with regards to SFX and as an immersive 3-D experience, although all of the 3-D films I have seen have been shot with IMAX film stock and viewed at an IMAX screen. I saw Alice in a standard 3-D cinema and nothing would be lost by viewing it in 2-D, in fact two-dimensional is the best way to describe this movie!

  • Comment number 15.

    I've been to see this tonight. I'd probably rename it: "Alice and the Wizard of Hook".

    Also, isn't the mad hatter is meant to be both mad and maddening? He just came across as a vaguely eccentric, slightly soppy Scarecrow (ala "WOZ").

  • Comment number 16.

    I really enjoyed this film and it seemed to keep the many kids that were in the cinema quiet but wish I had seen it in 2D. Like Mark I don't get 3D. I don't think it adds anything unless you are watching at an IMAX and sat in the middle somewhere. I saw Avatar at an IMAX but was sat very low down looking up at the screen which seemed to diminish the effects.

  • Comment number 17.

    Very disappointing... It reminded me a little bit of "Hook".

  • Comment number 18.

    What happened to Disney? Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland does not compare to the original animation. I remember when I was a child I would watch films like The Jungle Book and 101 Dalmatians and be amazed! Now, Disney has gone downhill and its films seem to be getting worse and worse as time goes by. If you ask me, many kids websites like Disney's should not be listed on the top category of sites like Is it time for us to realize that Disney is not really what it used to be and in fact it now scraping the barrel of entertainment?


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