'Alice in Wonderland' (Three-Disc Blu-ray)
(Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter, Michael Sheen, et al / 3-Disc Blu Ray+DVD / PG / 2010 / Disney)
Overview: Tumble down the rabbit hole with Alice for a fantastical new adventure from Walt Disney Pictures and Tim Burton. Inviting and magical, Alice In Wonderland is an imaginative new twist on one of the most beloved stories of all time.
Blu Ray+DVD Verdict: For starters, it seems that everyone I know is shocked when I tell them that this 'Alice in Wonderland' is a sequel of sorts. At the age of 19 and about to be forced into marriage, this is Alice's second trip to Wonderland. I'm glad Tim Burton and his team came up with a new story that still featured all the great characters from the original source material.
That's also where the weakest part of the movie lies. The dialogue given to the characters is great, but the script is razor thin. I think if more effort went into this particular aspect, I might have been a little more understanding with my personal say, shall we say!
I first saw it in IMAX 3-D (although now seeing it again in blu ray's crystal clear presentation, well, ... wow!) and the visuals are as grand and beautiful as you would expect from Burton. It's not quite as eye-popping as Avatar, which was shot completely in IMAX 3-D, whereas, 'Alice in Wonderland' was upconverted (Clash of the Titans did the same thing to bad effect). The music by Danny Elfman is some of his best stuff in recent years and the costumes/makeup are top notch.
Aside from the look of film, the acting also makes it very memorable. There are so many well animated and voice acted characters running around I don't know where to begin. I guess I'll start with those made of flesh and blood. I didn't like Depp's take on Willy Wonka that much, and I'm a big fan of his, but his Mad Hatter is just the right amount of crazy. His voice goes back and forth from having a lisp to sounding like William Wallace from Braveheart. His look is so jarring, you probably wouldn't even know it was him if you somehow dodged all the advertisements before entering the theater.
Helena Bonham Carter played the Red Queen brilliantly. I couldn't take my eyes off her giant head. Anne Hathaway really surprised me here (in a good way) with her take on the White Queen and it was nice to see Crispin Glover back on the big screen in a role that suited him.
Last, but certainly not least, Mia Wasikowska was absolutely captivating as Alice. The way she talked and her reactions were just what the film needed in it's central role. All the digital animal characters were great, but my favorites were the Cheshire Cat, voice by Stephen Fry, and the March Hare voiced by Paul Whitehouse.
I'm somewhat surprised that the combination of violence and meanness, along with the smoking Blue Caterpillar didn't get this a PG-13 rating. It's not too harsh, but young kids might get a little freaked out.
Overall, 'Alice in Wonderland' looks like a polished jewel, has great acting/voice acting, wonderful music and even manages to get quite a few laughs in the process. If only the simple story didn't let me down in the end, this could have been a classic in the making. Even still, I wouldn't mind Tim Burton taking us on another trip down the rabbit hole in a few years. [MD] This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.77:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with Special Features of:
1-Disc Blu-ray & 3-Disc Blu-ray:
Finding Alice The Mad Hatter
The Futterwacken Dance
The Red Queen
Time-Lapse: Sculpting the Red Queen
The White Queen
Stunts Of Wonderland
Making the Proper Size
Cakes of Wonderland
Tea Party Props
The Mad Hatter