Alice in Wonderland – Blu-ray Review - CLIPS ADDED!
By Jeff Swindoll Jun 1, 2010, 14:36 GMT
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. Alice (Mia Wasikowska), now 19 years old, returns to the whimsical world she first entered as a child and embarks on a journey to discover her true destiny. This Wonderland ...more
Tim Burton and Johnny Depp fall down a rabbit hole and go to Underland. Burton’s touch is made for Lewis Carroll’s literary creation, but those expecting a straight retell may be a bit confused.
Alice Kingsleigh (Mia Wasikowska) had odd dreams when she was six years old and her beloved father Charles (Marton Csokas) always made her feel better about them. Sadly, her father has died and her mother Helen (Linsday Duncan) is currently taking her to Lord (Tim Pigott-Smith) and Lady (Geraldine James) Ascot’s party.
Lord Ascot had not invested in Mr. Kingsleigh’s seemingly farfetched ideas, but the dreamer had the final laugh as Kingsleigh’s trading company flourished thanks to his out of the ordinary schemes.
So much so that Ascot bought the company after his death. Alice discovers that the true purpose of the party, one that she was feeling socially out of place and uncomfortable at to begin with, is to have the awkward Hamish Ascot (Leo Bill) propose.
She doesn’t answer his proposal but is intrigued by a white rabbit (voiced by Michael Sheen) wearing a waistcoat. She follows the rabbit, falls down his rabbit hole, and ends up in Underland. She meets the dashing Dormouse (voiced by Barbara Windsor), the wise Dodo (voiced by Michael Gough), and twins Tweedledee and Tweedledum (both played by Matt Lucas).
They’re not sure if they’ve got “the” Alice so they consult Absolem the Caterpillar (voiced by Alan Rickman) who replies that she’s “not hardly Alice.” The consultation is interrupted by the rampaging Bandersnatch who is under the control of the Knave of Hearts (Crispin Glover) who is leading a patrol of playing card soldiers.
Alice escapes the melee and wanders round this strange new world and encounters the evaporating Cheshire Cat (voiced by Stephen Fry). The crafty cat takes her to the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) and March Hare’s (voiced by Paul Whitehouse) tempestuous tea party.
She learns her reason for being spirited off to Underland; the bulbous headed Queen of Hearts (Helen Bonham Carter) dethroned the kindly White Queen (Anne Hathaway). Since the Red Queen has control over the powerful Jabberwocky (voiced by Christopher Lee) the rebels are not able to revolt and get the proper queen back on the throne.
It’s been foretold that Alice would return to Underland and on the Frabjous Day she would defeat the Jabberwocky with the Vorpal Sword. Alice certainly doesn’t want any part of battling, but she begins to think that maybe her youthful nightmares weren’t so imaginary after all.
First off, Burton’s Alice in Wonderland is not a retelling of the Lewis Carroll novels but is fashioned more like a sequel. So those expecting Burton’s vision so be a “straight” redo of the novels will be a tad disappointed. Alice doesn’t remember visiting the odd land and now her teenage self is tasked with defeating the bulbous headed, hot tempered Red Queen (played by Mrs. Tim Burton).
Actually her recollections are clouded by her youth and she misremembers some of it, such as it is Underland not Wonderland. She doesn’t exactly feel up to the challenge and in fact considers the whole thing a deranged dream.
Burton does hit all the highlights of Carroll’s creation, but does give the characters names or slight back-stories. The Mad Hatter, or Tarrant Hightop, is portrayed by current “it” guy Johnny Depp. We get to see a bit of his past and how his people, the Hightop clan, were routed when the Red Queen, or her given name Iracebeth, clawed her way to power.
These revisions might not sit will with fans of the originals, but I suppose that this is how Burton wanted to do things. It’s peopled with a cast of familiar faces and voices, most of them associated with Burton in some way. Depp is certainly no stranger and old pros like Michael Gough and Christopher Lee lend their voices.
Wonderland is still wonderful and weird enough to show that Carroll and Burton were on the same page. Burton does a good job of keeping Carroll’s iconic interpretations but adding his own touch. It’s all played in a computer generated world play-land that Carroll would certainly be delighted to take a trip through.
Alice in Wonderland is presented in a 1080p high definition transfer (1.78:1). Special features are presented in high definition and are divided into two sections. The Wonderland Characters section starts with the 5-minute “Finding Alice” about casting the title role. The 6-minute “Mad Hatter” looks at the character and Burton and Depp’s ideas for him.
The 3-minute “Futterwacken Dance” is about the Hatter’s strange dance. The 6-minute “Red Queen” discusses the villain of the film and there’s a 2-minute time-lapse of Bonham-Carter getting into makeup. The 4 minute “White Queen” looks at her sisterly counterpart. The Making Wonderland section looks at the production and starts with the 3 minute “Scoring Wonderland” interview with Danny Elfman.
The 7-minute “Effecting Wonderland” is a look at the special effects. The 2 minute “Stunts of Wonderland” has the stunt coordinator discussing his trade. The 2-minute “Making the Proper Size” is about how Alice’s stature was enlarged or reduced thanks to the constraints of the story.
The 2-minute “Cakes of Wonderland” shows the confections made for the movie. The 2-minute “Tea Party Props” looks at all the items used for the scene. The disc is also BD-Live enhanced and has previews of other Disney products.
Disc two is a DVD copy of the film and you have the option to buy a three disc set that includes a digital copy for about $5 more or you can just get the two disc version (Blu-ray + DVD).
Tim Burton has crafted a digital wonderland that takes inspiration from Lewis Carroll’s whimsical masterpiece. It’s a fun trip down the rabbit hole and my kids have already watched it three times. I’m sure yours will do the same thanks to the all-star cast and wondrous visuals.
Here are some clips from the film:
Visit the DVD database for more information.
FROM THE WEB
Further Reading on M&CHelena Bonham Carter Biography -
Helena Bonham Carter Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesJohnny Depp Biography -
Johnny Depp Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesMia Wasikowska Biography -
Mia Wasikowska Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sitesTim Burton Biography -
Tim Burton Links - M&C is not responsible for the content in external sites
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