July 12th, 2010

Baby and me

Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland" reviewed

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.

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