Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Alice in Wonderland. B

Tim Burton's Alice is pretty much what you expect from the man who specializes in strange and dark special effects. The world he creates is similar to the worlds he creates in all of his films: macabre (I think that's everyone's favorite adjective used in describing Burton's work), funny, and mysterious. Burton, who always draws his art and passes it along to the CGI team, has done a really good job with the odd assortment of characters and Wonderland's morbid landscape. The end credits tell us that the film is based off of both Alice and Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. I've read the latter and found some similarities between the book and parts of the movie. But I haven't read Alice in Wonderland, so I really don't know how closely Burton and his screenwriter have followed Lewis Carroll's story. Back to the visual side of the movie. Now, I know people who don't like the overuse of CGI might complain that Burton's movie is essentially all CGI in some way or another. But Burton has always been big on special effects and here he makes solid use of them. But with such a large production and studio like Disney looking over it all, I felt like Burton didn't have as much free rein as he would have liked. I think Disney influenced a lot of the movie, especially the second half when the film starts getting very familiar. It's as if the studio told Burton he could do what he wanted with the first half, but the second must follow standard Hollywood procedure. That's why Burton will always be at his best when he's not taking on such commercialized material. But Burton has made the biggest movie of the year financially and one of the highest grossing films of all time. That he manages to at least make the first half so interesting makes me appreciate him even more. If the second half could have lived up to the first, this would have been an amazing movie. But for now it just has to settle with being a good movie.

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