There is a place. Like no place on Earth. A land full of wonder, mystery, and danger! Some say to survive it: You need to be as mad as a hatter." - The Mad Hatter
It is true...and only on man can bring such a place to life...the one and only...as mad as a hatter- the wonderful Tim Burton. Watching his Alice in Wonderland is a mesmerizing experience.
This Alice In Wonderland proves that I was not a weird kid for not liking the book in 2nd grade. I mean the Alice with bags under her eyes, the Mad Hatter and his crazy friends and the barbaric Red Queen are hardly child-friendly people. What Burton has done in this movie is that he embraced these facts with open arms and using that made an epic for both children and grown-ups.
Alice in this film is 19 years old. So basically, we are seeing her story at the time of Through The Looking Glass, the Alice In Wonderland sequel. She is being married to and ugly git called Hamish and she does not want to as he lacks her enormous imagination and humility, and is quite annoyingly proper- like everyone else around her. Her only friend was her imaginative father who had passed away. On the day of her engagement to Hamish, Alice overwhelmed by the whole situation, runs away for a moment only to find the White Rabbit and fall down the hole to Wonderland.
After this we all know what happens more or less. She shrinks and grows a number of times and gets to meet all the Wonderland residents- Tweedledee, Tweedledum, Dormouse, Absulum-the Blue Caterpillar, March Hare, Cheshire Cat, Bayard, Stayne, Red Queen, White Queen and of course the Mad Hatter. They all expect her to slay the evil Red Queen's monster Jabberwocky and bring peace back to Wonderland as then the fair White Queen will become the ruler again.
The best feature of this film was it's amazing cast. Any film which has Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Stephen Fry, Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall, Crispin Grover, Michael Sheen and Christopher Lee together is bound to be brilliant. However, what I liked most was that the newcomer, Mia Wasikowska, who played Alice was given the most importance as obviously; it was her film. And she did brilliantly. She was actually one of my favourite characters in the film. The others and how I rank them and what I thought of the is as follows:
1) The Mad Hatter- Was there ever any doubt that Johnny Depp wouldn't play this role to perfection? I think not. Sure his face was plastered with make up and he had the most ridiculous outfit on(which I do want), his performance breaks out from all of them and stands in a league of it's on. He is absolutely genius in this film. Who can act as mad as a hatter and still manage to woo everyone but him? I mean he still has the Edward Scissorhands quirkiness mixed with Benny and Joon innocence and a hint of Sweeney Todd madness- which makes him a perfect fit for this role.
2) Alice- It is true, I actually did love her this much. She was sweet, innocent, whimsical and beautiful. I loved her as Alice. I admired her for her ability to stand out amongst the absolute stellar cast of this film. I especially loved all her crazy outfits in the film. Mia Wasikowska has a long and prosperous career ahead of her and with Alice as a first, I can't even start to imagine her future film roles.
3) The Red Queen- Helena Bonham Carter should get more credit for her acting genius. Thank god for her boyfriend Tim Burton who never manages to fail in giving her the perfect roles, which range from a futuristically primitive ape, a poor mother, a corpse bride, a human-flesh meat pies baker and a dreaded childhood fantasy queen in this case. She was kick-arse as the Red Queen. She can play the evil, barbaric and yet lovesick and easily amused monarch any day. And also say the phrase, "Off with their heads!" perfectly. Burton excellently Supersizes her head to imply her hatred of heads; and ofcourse, I don't think anyone could have pulled off a head so big with a performance so matched as Helena Bonham Carter.
4) Cheshire Cat- Stephen Fry!!!! How amazing is this guy and how brilliant is his voice. I think, if a poll was to be taken everyone will choose the Cheshire Cat as their favourite character, after Mad Hatter obviously. We love the elusive cat and can't get enough of his enchanting voice.
5) The White Queen- She was I think the biggest surprise. I always thought of the White Queen to be like those awful fairy princessy characters we see in films. But rather, she was an emo-looking monarch with a twisted head for potion-making and weird hand posture. Then again, Burton had put the lovely Anne Hathaway for the role and I have always known that she can do anything. Though I prefer her fresh and dainty, I like this gothic white face, dark lipstick and hollow eyes look too. And I liked how she made her voice seem much older than she is. I really enjoyed her character in th film.
6) Blue Caterpillar- Alan Rickman's voice is I think the most iconic British voice ever. It signifies a deep wisdom, caring and undermining at the same time, with a bit a magic. and that's exactly what we needed for the opium(?) smoking Blue Caterpillar. I am so happy that he is also becoming a recurring person in Burton films.
The others were good too but I loved the above mentioned best.
Now what is the point of all this if I do not talk about the brilliant visionary and filmmaker who brings such fantasies to life. I called it Burtonland because Tim Burton managed to mix his twisted vision with the story wonderfully. The topiary animals, the twisted trees, the heads in the moat, the make-up and the costumes, the care of making sure that a character is never left out and all the magic in it- only Burton can do it. I have loved him and his movies for a long time. I love his nightmares and towns and characters and Johnny Depp-loveness. And because we share the same birthday. The best thing I love about him though is that he is such a Romantic beneath all that gore. The end of the film sees a blue butterfly flying away, showing Alice's freedom and her Wonderland going with her as that is the metamorphosed Absulum. Lovely.
Though I loved the film, I cannot deny the fact that it could have been a bit better, especially the ending as it reminded me of a lot of fantasy films like Harry Potter and Lord Of The Rings. I would give it an 8.5 if I were to rate it, but I think I am too trivial to do such a thing.
May the Depp-Burton relationship last forever!