Alice in Wonderland

 Alice in Wonderland (2010) *** | Keeping It Reel

I was kind of late to the party when it came to watching this movie, given it was released back in 2010. I really enjoyed the film and think they did a really great job making another adaptation of the classic story into a live-action motion picture. However, it is not the same Alice in Wonderland story we are used to seeing. I’ve seen the original cartoon from 1951 and I used to be obsessed with the mad hatter and the whole Wonderland aesthetic for some reason. I remember watching the 1985 live-action version of Alice in Wonderland as a kid and really liking it, so it was nice to see something like that but with all the special effects and elaborate sets. Even though this is a story that's been told so many times, I like that they did it on this scale with this set of actors. It's a fresh spin on a story that so many people love and cherish or are at least are familiar with. 

I like how close they stuck to the main characters and elements of the original story while also creating a whole new story. It is basically the idea that Alice as a child came into Wonderland as we know it from the original story, and Alice has come back as a teenager pretty much going through the same/similar story.  There is a lot of stuff that is not from the original story or the Disney cartoon because she is supposed to be more grown-up. I like this part of it because it offers a fresh perspective of the classic, but I do like that they kept the same key elements because in the end that is what makes Wonderland what it is.

The actors in this film are incredible. I love the characters and the craziness they bring to life. Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, Alan Rickman as the Caterpillar, Anne Hathaway as the White Queen, and Helena Bonham Carter as the Queen of Hearts are genius casting choices. That is honestly my dream cast for this film. I was pleasantly surprised to hear Alan Rickman voicing the Caterpillar, especially given I am such a fan of Harry Potter and like the odd Die Hard movie at Christmas time. Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter just makes sense. I honestly couldn’t see anyone else able to play that role like him. As for  Helena Bonham Carter portraying the Red Queen is perfect, for such a sweet person in real life she just plays villains so well. You simply couldn’t ask for a better cast, and they really make the film what it is.

I love the set design, costume design, and the land they have created. It is beautiful and mad. There is so much attention to detail and little things to watch out for. Some of the CGI work is a little choppy, but I think we can give them a break given it was the technology of 2010. My favourite sets were the Queen of Heart's castle, the White Queen’s castle and when Alice first comes through the door, there is this beautiful set of flowers and bare trees. I wasn't surprised to find out that the film won for both best production design and best costume design at the 2011 Oscars. I also love that this film was directed by Tim Burton and we get to see him and Johnny Depp work together again after Edward Scissorhands. 

The pacing of the film is a bit off, the beginning is extremely slow but there is a lot to look at and admire in the background and design, so it kind of counteracts the slow pacing. The film could have probably been a lot shorter, so in general, there is a lot of filler material and scenes that are drawn out for too long. 

As for how unusually big they made Helena Bonham Carter’s head as the queen of hearts, it's too big. I don’t understand what that was supposed to add to the character and the CGI for it just looks creepy and off. I think they should have left her head normal-sized. It was one of my few issues with the film and it was just off-putting. Additionally, the whole dance sequence at the end was just plain creepy and unnecessary. It was like they just needed something to fill that section of time and did not know what to put so they just said maybe he can do a little dance. Which maybe would not have been that bad if it didn't go on for so long. 

To conclude, I really enjoyed this movie, it is a lot of fun and the characters are so unique to anything out there. It is a whole new take on the story you think you know. The actors are incredible and are a great fit for these roles. The production design and costumes bring this fantasy world to life with their attention to every little detail. The film is available through Disney plus and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves a little wonderlandish nonsense.


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