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Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland" reviewed [Jul. 12th, 2010|10:21 am]
Young Geoffrey
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No frabjous days, no frabjous nights:

Alice In Wonderland is no wonder at all



Detail of image by The Phantom Photographer, © 2010.
Click to view the original.

Tim Burton's movies just keep getting dumber.

Having now watched this bland and witless travesty of a take on Lewis Carroll's immortal diptych, Alice's Adventures In Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking-Glass, I can only imagine that Burton's next project will be a "re-visioning" of Winnie the Pooh, one in which the bear of very little brain — no doubt played by a pumped-up Johnny Depp — will be on a mission of vengeance: not to trap the heffalump, but to slay it.

Worst of all, Winnie-ther-Pooh, Heffalump-Slayer, will succeed in gory 3-D, only after we have been forced to sit through a back-story that includes Kanga's prescient investments in the Australian coal-mining industry and Piglet's unhappy marriage to Eyore's cheating cousin, Beyoncéyore.

Excuse me. I digress ...

Once upon a time, there was a young movie director called Tim Burton, who burst upon my consciousness with three arguably slight, but nevertheless well-written, witty and wonderfully visualized fantasies, Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands and The Nightmare Before Christmas. (I suppose I should confess that I haven't seen any of these films in many years; it is quite possible my impressions are tinted infra-red. But I think I retain pretty clear memories of all three. Onwards.)

Burton showed a subtle comedic touch along with the ability to limn character with a few strokes of the cinematic brush, along with a love for the macabre and a strange and genuinely original visual imagination.

Yet signs of his onrushing senescence manifested almost simultaneous with those of his blossoming talent.

Enter the Batman ...

Though a box-office and a popular hit, Batman epitomized Hollywood block-busters at their worst.

The movie probably sounded like a fabulous concept when it was being pitched and the end-product looked great — Burton's Gotham is a decaying hulk of a once-great city; organic and sterile, futuristic and yet built upon the cast-iron fantasies of the early twentieth century; the aesthetic anticipated (or was at least an early example of) steam-punk, with atmosphere and imagery that suggested another Terry Gilliam in the making.

But unlike even Gilliam's worst failures, Burton's Batman had no brain. And, if anything, his Alice is even worse.

Read more at Edifice Rex Online, but beware of spoilers.

This entry was originally posted at http://ed-rex.dreamwidth.org/9089.html. Comment there using OpenID, or here as per normal.
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Comments:
From: purfektlyflawd
2010-07-12 04:37 pm (UTC)
I found Alice in Wonderland to be disappointing. It had so much potential, and I just walked away feeling like there was too much lacking from it. I think it would have been better if he just stuck to the original story.

I have a movie you should review: The Human Centipede. I got talked into watching it, and I'm not a big fan of gory or horror movies, but I found the victims in the movie to just be so dumb that I couldn't help but think they deserved everything. (For example, they're restrained and freaking out, and I believe it wasn't until a day or two later that the one girl realized, hey, the restraints are so loose she can slip out.)
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2010-07-13 09:46 pm (UTC)

Shud - ah say! - shudder

The problem with your idea, that I review The Human Centipede is that I would be morally obliged to watch it, first.

Some of what I just read about it (yes, I can be a little compulsively curious about things that horrify and appal me) almost made me want to see it, but the truth is I just don't have any interest in torture porn, beyond seeing how close to the breaking point my freedom of speech ideals can be pushed.

Or, to put it another way, "Ewwww!" and "What the fuck!"

I found Alice in Wonderland to be disappointing. It had so much potential, and I just walked away feeling like there was too much lacking from it. I think it would have been better if he just stuck to the original story.

Or, hell, done something different that wasn't a fucking good-vs-evil, solve-problems-with-a-magic-sword movie. And why all that pre-feminist stuff about Alice taking over her father's (imperialist) trading company?

Lame movie is lame.
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[User Picture]From: miyyu
2010-07-12 08:27 pm (UTC)
The Nightmare Before Christmas is still a fabulous movie and worth rewatching. I can't speak for the other two, though.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2010-07-13 09:47 pm (UTC)

Glad to here it

Though, as sooguy points out below, Burton didn't actually direct Nightmare, but only produced it.

Not sure whether this weakens or strengthens my contention. either way, maybe I'll see about giving the Nightmare a re-watch.
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[User Picture]From: sooguy
2010-07-13 01:35 am (UTC)
Didn't read the full review of Alice, but I think you are being a little harsh on Burton's career.

You glossed right over Pee Wee's Big Adventure (1985) and Ed Wood (1994) and Mars Attacks! (1996).

I don't want to nitpick, but Henry Selick directed Nightamre before Christmas. Burton only produced it and co-wrote it.

I have to admit I haven't been grooving on most of his recent "mainstream" stuff, but even his failures are more interesting than most stuff that is put out there.
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[User Picture]From: sooguy
2010-07-13 01:36 am (UTC)
Damn, clicked submit too soon, forgot to include my ED WOOD icon in this post.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2010-07-13 05:28 pm (UTC)

Good wood

I'm going to give you time off for being busy with your writing, job and being a dad and husband. But even so, a slap on the wrist is warranted.

Didn't read the full review of Alice, but I think you are being a little harsh on Burton's career.

You glossed right over Pee Wee's Big Adventure (1985) and Ed Wood (1994) and Mars Attacks! (1996).


Well, not entirely. If you had read the full review, you'd have seen that I did indeed mention both Wood and Mars Attacks! and that I singled out the former as being a "real movie</em>. (Sorry, but I thought Mars Attacks! was awful; I barely cracked a smile.) And I didn't mention Peewee because I haven't seen — in fact, I confess I've never seen the show, either.

Thanks for the correction about the director of Nightmare, though; I don't mind nit-picking at all, since I really prefer to get my facts straight. I've corrected my entry to reflect that, crediting "Sooguy", of course.

Back to Ed Wood, I remember it as being a pretty good film and also, being very pleased to see once again that my childhood judgement of Space:1999 was at least partly correct: Martin Landau really was a very good actor!
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[User Picture]From: sooguy
2010-07-14 02:42 am (UTC)

Re: Good wood

Uhmm, I didn't read the full review because someone so kindly said in their post - "Read more at Edifice Rex Online, but beware of spoilers."

I haven't seen the movie so I didn't read the full review. Not because I am too busy my friend.

It's understandable that you would associate Nightmare Before Christmas with Burton. After all, I think it was actually billed as "Tim Burton's A Nightmare Before Christmas" if I recall.
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[User Picture]From: ed_rex
2010-07-14 02:48 am (UTC)

Re: Good wood

Uhmm, I didn't read the full review because someone so kindly said in their post - "Read more at Edifice Rex Online, but beware of spoilers."

Ahem. *hangs head in shame*

Er, well, reasons don't actually come much better than that, do they? *hies himself off to bed before more damage is done*
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