Move over all ye buxom aunties Tabu, Vimala Raman, Bhavana et al.
We have a new inamorata in the Australian man-chester Mia Wasikowska.
Not Drool Worthy
While we are much enamored of our 20-year-old Australian babe, this live action and animation combination 3D movie did not have us drooling all over it.
All the more depressing considering we forked out $13.25 for the midnight show (3D version). 🙁
But it was not a complete washout either for two reasons we’ll explain later.
Hey, we’ll any day take Alice in Wonderland over the Bollywood or Kollywood monstrosities we routinely inflict upon our tender selves.
Although drawing upon Lewis Carroll’s two famous books Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, the movie also veers from them in some ways.
For those familiar with Alice’s adventures as she follows the White Rabbit down the hole, the cast of characters in the movie is familiar.
You have the usual suspects like the Caterpillar with the hookah, the Hatter, the March Hare, the vanishing Cheshire Cat, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the Red Queen and of course the White Rabbit.
But here’s the big difference – Our Alice here is not the young Alice of yore. She is 19 and ripe for matrimony in the consideration of some around her.
Think of this movie as Alice 2.0 or Alice for grownups.
Alice’s adventures start oddly enough at a garden party, where she espies a white rabbit. Leaving her clumsy, digestion-challenged suitor in the lurch, she runs behind the rabbit into the proverbial hole, setting the stage for her adventures.
There’s the expected stuff like Alice growing tall and becoming short, the small door, the Drink Me bottle and the White Cake and the lovely garden on the other side.
And soon enough the gauntlet is thrown before Alice – grab the magical sword and kill the fire-spewing dragon Jabberwock to end the Red Queen’s reign.
No Surprises Here
But what is missing in the movie is any sense of great drama in the story or gee whiz moments from a 3D visual perspective.
The story plods along on its seemingly preordained path with nary a surprise or unanticipated twist.
It’s as if the film’s makers wanted to try a subversive act but chickened out after making Alice older.
A still born coup d’etat, if you will.
‘Tis true that some of the scenes like the one in the colorful garden and the chase are visually compelling but they are still not enough to beat the yawns.
Also, post-Avatar the bar for visual appeal has been raised so high that few movies have any realistic chance of meeting it.
By the way, Alice in Wonderland director Tim Burton also directed Sweeney Todd (Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter), a far better movie in all respects.
Alice in Wonderland is Mia Wasikowska’s movie.
Not Johnny ‘Mad Hatter‘ Depp’s or even Helena Bonham ‘Red Queen‘ Carter’s.
Fortunately, Mia does a decent enough job here. That’s one redeeming aspect.
This Mia gal has a future in Hollywood. For sure.
But what on earth is the talented Anne Hathaway doing here in that minuscule role. Is the woman that hard up for roles.
Besides Mia, the other big plus is the clever integration of live action and animation portions. Say, is that the direction of cinema.
If you plan on watching Alice in Wonderland this weekend, make sure you enter the hall with diminished expectations.