Alice in Wonderland Review: Alice 2.0 Disappoints

Move over all ye buxom aunties Tabu, Vimala Raman, Bhavanaย  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). ๐Ÿ™

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.

Mia’s Meow
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.

14 Responses to "Alice in Wonderland Review: Alice 2.0 Disappoints"

  1. The Mahatma   March 5, 2010 at 9:47 am

    M.I.A looks very girl-next-doorish in this..
    I like her.

    You can see a “lot” of Hathaway in Critically derided movie.. but good enough to quench your Hathaway thirst.. it’s on instant play.. what can you lose other than some time. Responds:

    1. You Write Above: M.I.A looks very girl-next-doorish in this..

    If that’s a euphemistic way of saying she looks like Trisha, we disagree.

    She looks adorable in a nice dress, hair-style and a bit of makeup.

    2. Added Havoc to our Instant Play list. Will watch.

    We like the way Anne held her own against the formidable Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada. Likely the movie/performance against which all her films will be compared till the end of her life.

    • The Mahatma   March 5, 2010 at 12:05 pm

      I liked Emily Blunt more than Anne in Prada.. Responds:

      If Emily Blunt’s character had been removed from the film, would any one have noticed. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • The Mahatma   March 5, 2010 at 12:58 pm

        Berardinelli seems to feel the same way as me (Meaning Anne wasn’t outstanding).. I swear that I am reading this review for this first time – was in no way influenced by it.

        Anne Hathaway gives a vanilla performance. She has little presence and tends to blend in with the scenery. Despite being the supposed lead, she is upstaged by supporting performers. Meryl Streep gets top billing but has less screen time; nevertheless, her humanized Cruella De Vil dominates scenes. Emily Blunt, who made an impression in My Summer of Love, is rarely outshone, nor is Stanley Tucci. When Streep, Blunt, and Tucci are together, the scene crackles with energy. When none of them are present, The Devil Wears Prada slips into a black hole. Fortunately, such instances are rare. Responds:

        Berardinelli who? ๐Ÿ˜‰

        • The Mahatma   March 5, 2010 at 2:32 pm

          His name is Berardinelli, James Berardinelli!


          James Berardinelli! who? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. kaleshgopi   March 5, 2010 at 10:17 am

    Where is your middle finger you often shows to disappointing films, or is it reserved only for Indian movies? Responds:

    Dei gratia, Alice in Wonderland is not middle-finger disappointment.

    Heck, this is not even little-finger disappointment.

    This is disappointment against high expectations from 3D, a sterling cast of Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter et al.

    What we endured in the movie hall last night was relative deprivation. Comprende?

  3. priya890   March 5, 2010 at 10:29 am


    hmmmm….. just as i thought! What can u expect more? The book was just below ok.

    iam pretty sure that kids will love it!!

    On your take upon Anne Hathaway:

    “The 27-year-old actress was asked to star as Alice in the upcoming fantasy film
    but opted instead to play the White Queen because she had previously played a pretty
    protagonist in ‘The Princess Diaries’ movies which launched her career.”

    well u didn’t say anything about my ‘Heart Throb’ Johnny Depp!… How was he? Responds:

    1. You write: iam pretty sure that kids will love it!!

    Hard to say.

    We’d be inclined to say ‘No’ on this one because usually it’s parents that make the decision. And parents are likely to be swayed by the reviews if they are going to be spending $13.25 + insane prices for popcorn, soda et al.

    There were no kids in the hall last night because it was the midnight show.

    2. We don’t believe that point on Anne wanting to play the White Queen. She had no role to speak of in the film.

    3. Johnny Depp was good but not in the Sweeney Todd class.

  4. 1012900   March 6, 2010 at 12:26 am

    Now that you have finished your tryst with the Quran,

    When can i expect The Matrix review?

    I’m so looking forward to it. Responds:

    Soon (hopefully).

  5. rakeshbaba   March 7, 2010 at 5:17 am

    for now you have given review of 3 kannada movies,now if you find any of these kannada movies “amruthavarshini”,”muttina haara”,”gaalipata”,”gauri ganesha”,”nishyabda”,please see these movies Responds:

    Will do but hard to get hold of them here.

  6. The Mahatma   March 7, 2010 at 10:09 am

    mia is a strange thing..

    she has dressed up like she is in a cage.. no wonder Burton likes her.. weird, but not “Depp (ladies may disagree) and Helena”-weird.. atleast not yet.

    Zach Galifianakis (seated next to her) played the best character on “The Hangover”.

    she is dressed up strangely on Letterman too.. that’s one unsexy see-through.. Letterman says “you look like Alice in wonderland”.. whatever that means. Responds:

    You write: mia is a strange thing..

    No, she is not.

    In fact, after watching Mia we’ve even pardoned the Australians for their latest hobby – attacking those pesky, stinking Indians!

    Watched both videos. Nothing great.

    Is Mia the next Keira?

    • The Mahatma   March 7, 2010 at 12:49 pm

      you are talking as if Keira has retired…

      something about her(Keira) puts me off.. probably because she is over-exposed (I mean “too many movies” here, although she has done a good deal of Nookellaxposure too) — she is the anti-Daniel Day-Lewis, who has done 20 less movies than her after being 22 more years in the movies. Responds:

      You write: you are talking as if Keira has retired…

      If only, Keira would retire in our boudoir. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Keira and Mia are the only Man-chesters we’d love to explore.

  7. guruprasad.s   March 7, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    Comment is off-topic.

    Check out the following article. Found it a good read.

    On a different note, have you listened to or watched any ‘haasya kavi sammelan’ (a congregation of satirists who write in in Hindi) ?
    Some famous names include Kaka Hathrasi, Sharad Joshi (late), Shail Chaturvedi (late), Ashok Chakradhar and Surender Singh.
    These folks have penned some thoroughly enjoyable fare, and poems narrated by them are available as audio cassettes (now CDs probably).
    I used to watch these on TV (Doordarshan) long back.
    In case you have never heard of such a thing, you should definitely try listening to one of these. The humour is very classy, and not the kind of slapstick that passes off as comedy in movies.

    On yet another different note:
    Is your DevD review still on ?
    Do you remember watching the trailer of Anurag Kashyap’s Gulal at the beginning of DevD ?
    Gulal is a highly recommended movie.
    Also recommended is Haasil (actor Irfan Khan’s best work to date (arguably) among his Hindi movies).

    Are you done with your reading of Quran ?
    Any concluding remarks ?
    Any plans of a similar exercise with other scriptures like Vedas, Upanishads, Bible or Guru Granth Sahib ?
    I am not sure if anyone has translated the four vedas from Samskrita to to English, and Guru Granth Sahib from Punjabi (Gurumukhi) to English. Responds:

    1. Read the Hindu piece. Will respond to the article at some later date in the context of Muslim psyche, Quran and Allah.

    2. Dev D review still on…but can’t remember Gulal.

    3. Haven’t seen/read any of those ‘haasya kavi sammelan episodes.

    4. Still working on the Quran. Next episode coming today.

    5. After that, we’ll take on the Hindu religious nonsense. Still not sure which one. Maybe, we’ll start with Manu’s rant.

    6. We’ll do a summary of Allah’s magnum op i.e. Quran after we complete reading it.

  8. The Mahatma   March 8, 2010 at 10:27 am

    Here’s a cerebral( palsied) comment to take your mind of The Hurting Locker.

    Keira and Mia are the only Man-chesters weโ€™d love to explore.
    That was a hasty statement, I suppose..

    How could you not want to explore Neytiri ( – there are lot more choices on the net) or Carey Mulligan ( – again picked the first big picture I saw.. she can be prettier than she is in this picture)?!

    Below are the wonderful choices(where I have not even included Kristen Stewart, Claire Danes, Natalie Portman and Milla Jovovich):
    20s: Evan Rachel Wood, Jena Malone, and many more.. both those two are excellent actresses.
    Women in thirties – juiciest age!: Mena Suvari, Kate Hudson, Kate Moss, Cameron Diaz
    Award Winning: Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock, Gwyneth Paltrow
    “Mature”: Meg Ryan, Julia Roberts, Marisa Tomei.. may be Michelle Pfieffer.
    Paatti: Goldie Hawn (I watched her in on DD, when I was 15, and fell in love with her)
    Classic: Audrey Hepburn, and probably many more.. I haven’t done much research there.

    As you know, Goldie-Kate are mother-daughter(I think Kate is prettier).. In the well-endowed section, the first mother-daughter set that comes to my mind is Susan Sarandon-Eva Amurri(Susan was much prettier).. What pairs this pair have!

    Keira has a nice set inside, but they may not impress you, the lover of Jenna’s Jamesons. If you are curious, please check out “The Hole”.. speaking of The Hole, which also has Thora Birch, did you watch “American Beauty”? American Beauty has the mother of all man chester scenes.. involving Mena Suvari (34A?).. Responds:

    1. You write: How could you not want to explore Neytiri … or Carey Mulligan

    Beauty, as they, lies in the eyes of the blogger. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    2. After 3 kids, Julia Roberts can hardly be a Man-chester!

    3. In a cinch, we’ll make do with Portman or Pfieffer.

  9. The Mahatma   May 6, 2010 at 12:34 am

    Watching “An Education”.. I am willing to bet that you’d love Carey more than Mia.. although I haven’t watched Alice yet. Responds:

    Not on Instant Play yet.

    Cute one. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Just 25 but looks older in some pictures.

    • The Mahatma   May 6, 2010 at 9:57 am

      You do know that Carey won an Oscar nomination for that role, right? Responds:

      Oh, did she? All the more reason to watch the movie soon.

      Here’s a nice and sensible quote from her (Courtesy: Wiki):

      “I have no desire to make a big studio picture that says nothing. For me, it’s all about script. I just don’t see any point in doing things that don’t interest me. And my agents have been really good in steering me away from the parts that are entirely generic. I love acting because it’s challenging and it engages me at every level, so I’m not going to compromise those feelings to pay my tax bill – although I have in the past. For me, it may sound cliche, but it really is a passion so I will go after the roles I feel are worthwhile, and try to ignore the rest.”
      Mulligan on her choice of appearing in films

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