So I went to Alice and Wonderland last weekend with my BFF Kirst (Mom, remind me what BFF stands for? I forget. Te he, inside joke ;) As some of you may know from a blog of mine several months ago, I had been looking forward to this movie for a while.
Before I went I had been reading some not-so-friendly reviews, so I had taken my expectations down a notch (Reading reviews can be good or bad. In this case it was good, but in some cases, like for me, with Avatar, it can be bad. I truly did like Avatar, but I didn't believe it to be the masterpiece that all of the hype had me expecting it to be). So with the reviews and just knowing that it would be Tim Burton insanity, I went into it very braced for over-the-top craziness. Other than a couple of silly bits at the end that I could have done without, I liked it. Didn't love it, but really quite liked it.
It was colorful and magical and though at first I questioned the choice of the Alice actress, I adored her by the end. (Mia Wasikowska- genius at accents- I completely thought she was actually Polish because of a movie I saw her in, she is British in Alice, but she is actually Australian. Gotta love those Aussies.) I think her normalcy was a necessary contrast to the other outrageous characters. The show was completely stolen by the fabulous feels-like-they-actually-become-the-character acting styles of Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter though. I always adore the quirky and the whimsical and this story definitely delivered both. It also had some sweet messages and had some moments of nonsense that are at the same time moments of insightful clarity, reminiscent of Big Fish. This is the glory that is Tim Burton- he finds the beauty in the bizarre.
These last few days, in hindsight, I have found myself thinking of very funny lines and beautiful colorful scenes and realized that I like the movie even more than I originally thought. I mentioned that to Kirsten and she has been feeling the same way. There is just so much going on in the movie that I think it is, at times, too overwhelming for its own good, and you miss some of the sweetness and magic and subtle brilliance because it becomes a bit of a blur. I would like to go to it again and I think I would be able to catch more of the witty humor, the clever and thoughtful dialogue and the lovely themes about cultivating the imagination and of having faith in yourself. There is a quote from the Lewis Carol book itself that reflects this a bit-
'Everything has a moral, if only you can find it.'
So, even though it didn't absolutely blow me away the first time I saw it, in my book it is definitely the mark of a good movie that it has me thinking and smiling about the wonder of it all several days later. So, if you like fantasy and fairy tales, quirky out-of-this-world characters, off the wall hilarity, or have ever just wished that you yourself might escape reality and stumble down a rabbit hole into a world of adventure... you will like this movie. I'll go with you.
'Have I gone mad?'
'I'm afraid so. You're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret: all the best people are.'