Friday, March 19, 2010

The Wrong "Alice in Wonderland", Part IV: Semi-Shiny!

This week has positively flown by.

It seems like a mere thre--what? Oh, that joke is outdated and I should never dredge it up again? Oh, okay.


So this-here is the final instalment in the Pontificator's four-part miniseries on just how much Alice in Wonderland failed. This one will probably be a bit more blunt and short than the others, because the other entries in this series were more fact-based and therefore (counterintuitively, I know) more subjective. In focus, I mean.

See, it's hard to quantify visual effects. And then there's all sorts of biasing things that come into it: like the fact that Tim Burton is undeniably a master of visuals. Or the fact that I did not enjoy Alice in Wonderland, and I don't think it's a well-made film.

So the short story is that I feel like I have to give Burton the benefit of the doubt because he's done so much good stuff in the past, but I don't want to give him the benefit of the doubt because Alice is a terrible, horrible, no-good film.

Perhaps I'll break this down into Likes and Dislikes--Cheers and Jeers. Or...well, perhaps getting creative with words is a good idea. Tears and Leers: "tears" given to what I thought was bad, "leers" given to what I thought was wonderful.

Tears for the visual effects in general. They were derivative. I've seen this landscape before: it was called Middle-Earth, it appeared in a trilogy called The Lord of the Rings and it came out in 2001, 2002, and 2003. They were good.

Leers, though, for the palette. Helena Bonham Carter's realm was pretty consistent--hearts and Red were the main images. Anne Hathaway's hideaway (Hathaway's Hideaway--sounds like a pub) was a bit less consistent, but at least that motif of airy, ethereal, incorporeal, White was present.

Streams overflowing of tears for the misuse of 3D. Seriously? The only redeeming factor of  the 3D was the flying cups during the tea party. That's ALL. For 3D to be valuable, the film has to be visually focused on the 3D. Call me a homer, but I think Up and Avatar are the only 3D films I've seen that use well the 3D.

Tears, too, for a lack of motif visually. Now, there were AREAS of Underland that had a consistent motif, like Helena Bonham Carter's place and, to a lesser extent, Hathaway's Hideaway. Right now, it seems, for 3D films to be successful, they have to find a motif--natural, mechanical, whatever--and exploit it. I think part of the reason that Up and Avatar were so successful visually is that they chose their world and stuck with it. Alice flits from tangled forest to wasteland to grim dark brooding palace to heavenly airy etherea to checkerboard/battlefield and can't decide which to focus on.

And...this concludes my report. I do NOT recommend spending money to see Alice in Wonderland, either in 3D or in 2D. It is a waste of time, money, and screen-space. Don't see it unless you can see it for free. I give it 3/10.

Long live finality!

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