Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Underwhelmed in Wonderland


It all started since last Hallowen, in October 2009 when I first heard about Tim Burton’s take on Alice in Wonderland. It literally took the makeup world of YouTube by a storm. I first started to see SeeshaRee recreation of the mad hatter but it was goldiestarling’s take on the mad hatter, her inventive fluffy eyebrows and her hatter skills (designed from scratch hat) which fascinated me.

Image5 In fact, I was fascinated by how much it inspired the makeup artists on YouTube.
From then on, I knew I wanted to see the movie at the cinema. The fascination around Alice in Wonderland reached a crazy new level when Urban Decay was launching a special limited edition of a eyeshadows palette inspired from the film.
I *had* to watch the film, even though I knew very little about the original story, Tim Burton’s style and not being a huge fan of Johnny Depp. I wanted to be transported into a world of adventures, action, and pretty colours, and that was my main expectation of the film.

So I went to take on the 3D journey into wonderland and I ended up in a gloomier & darker world than the real one. It started off well, Alice fled from flatulent tintin, followed a rabbit with a clock, fell down a hole and had sumptuous clothes made to measure whenever she changed sizes. Is that wonderland or what?


We made acquaintance with some of Alice’s new mates, amongst them a beautiful fluffy and feathery dodo.  But dodo soon disappeared and we had to contend ourselves with the most annoying mouse in wonderland and beyond, stabbing some dalmatian spotted monster in the eye, and it went downwards from there, and wonderland became more sordid and dark as the clock ticked by. 

Dodo_Bird_Concept1-852x1024 Image9alice_01_679962a-750277

I was looking forward to meet the mad hatter, and when this happened I was greeted by some thick glaswegian accent character with the most awful bulging eyes, the same eyes which have been glamourised on promotional posters of the movie and throughout YouTube. I was trying to go beyond the orbits of the eyes and try to focus on what he was saying, but all I got was a mumbled mumbo jumbo of words. I was craving subtitles at this point, more than ever. The tea party came along, but left a sour taste in my mouth as it could not be any more different from the pretty one on this picture:


Abandoned table plonked in the middle of a warzone, with broken tea cups, soiled table linen and no cupcakes. Everything was such a far cry from what I imagined to see. Alice in Wonderland? Alice in gloomyland more like!



Whatever the movie should have been called instead, I had paid to see the film, I was determined to enjoy the film, and to stay there till the end but I could not make sense of the plot. Mad hatter recalled at some point the time when wonderland and his curly locks were pretty and full of life but I could not catch any of that. I was confused throughout the whole film. Why was scarface after Alice? Why did the sword have to be returned to the white queen? Why did jabberwocky had to be killed? How did the queen of hearts end up ruling wonderland?

So many characters were so annoying: from pesky little mouse, to matt lucas and his twin, to the white queen who never used seche vite and was waving her fingers in the air throughout the whole film. 

Is there anything I liked in the film? Yes. I absolutely loved the redesign of the queen, her queendom and her entourage. Alice had more outfits than Katy Perry at the MTV EMA’s  and my favourite was the outfit she was wearing during her stay at the queen of hearts.  (If you pay attention you should see 5 different outfits for Alice in this post alone :)


Even her Joan of Arc outfit (pictured below) was stunning and she looked every centimetre of a hero in it. I have never seen better dressed soldiers from the white queen’s side in their elegant wasp waisted silver attires and the white lacy and laden with beads dresses of the horses were just out of this world.


Moments when the queen of hearts was ridiculed entertained me too but my overall feeling was a huge disappointment. Is every Tim Burton film as incomprehensible, dark and ugly as this one? Would I have needed to be a fan of Tim Burton to fully appreciate the movie? Would reading reviews of the film beforehand have prevented such a disappointment? Probably. But there has been so much hype about the film, I just *had* to see it.

Makeup wise, as this was also partly why I went to see the film, a few elements inspired me for my entry for the equally most talked about makeup event on YouTube (International Alice in Wonderland Makeup Contest) Whether this will materialise is another story as right now I need to recover from the underwhelming wonderland.


Anonymous said...

I found the film pretty overhyped, a lot of the characters were unique but I felt like they were detached from the film/storyline a lot.. it was OK, but a great line up - but I certainly felt the same as you. The White Queen.. *holds head in hands* oh dear lordy.... nuff said!

A Little About Me... said...

i haven't seen the film yet...but don't worry....u didn't spoil it for me. lol
i wanted to wait till i got a review from everyone else...to see if it was worth all the hype (especially since the rate for movies has increased here in New York to almost $3 more). and to be honest, i didn't get a lot of good feedback...at least from the people i talked to. but i think i'm going to wait till it hits netflix, and i'll watch it then. thanks so much for the review hunny!

Ashleigh said...

i think the movie was built up to be this amazing thing and it left me unimpressed...i mean, i liked it, but not as much as i was thinking i would.

i'm a HUGE alice fan...the original disney version is my favorite disney movie of all time, and the version from the 80's they used to show on TV is a close 2nd with the late 90's version AND syfy's 2009/10? version falling quite close behind...plus i have like 4 copies of the story...and and and hahahah.

I think you should watch the 1980's version (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088693/) that still remains one of MY favorite versions.

Most Tim Burton movies ARE dark and fairly gloomy...you'd have to watch more of his stuff to appreciate that part of it i think...(Edward Scissorhands is still one of my faves!)

(PS. i hope that hollywood don't ever cast Anne Hathaway in a role like that again, furthermore, i hope no one ever writes a character like that again. she annoyed the crap out of me.)

mizzworthy said...

I dont think any film could ever live up to the hype around this one, but I actually really enjoyed it - it answered some questions that were left unanswered in other versions - such as how her dress magically readjusted whenever she changed size etc... Also I don't feel the film was meant to be a direct recreation of the story, as its set when Alice is older, and the stark descimated landscape is a result of the Red Queens tyranny since Alice was in Wonderland as a girl... I can see why a lot of people were disappointed, but personally I loved it - a great couple of hours escapism!

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