15 March 2010

Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland was hands down the most enjoyable film that I have seen all year. Tim Burton's world really pulled me into the story which is something that a lot of movies completely fail to do. I also thought it was a film with more meaning and relevance to our times than say... Avatar. A completely shallow movie that seemed to have inspired endless debate among people. On one level Alice in Wonderland was all about growing up, becoming an adult, and acting like an adult, acting like an adult in the sense that you need to accept reality, whatever reality that is, and then make humane, considerate, and even courageous choices. It's about not accepting predefined limitations put on you by yourself or someone else, but finding those limitations for yourself. It's about the courage to try or believe things that you think are impossible. This is something that so completely resonates with me.

On a political level, I too it as a parody of extreme polarizing viewpoints and a call for rationality which seems an ungodly timely message. I don't think the Red Queen or the White Queen present some ideal of government, although the criticism of the White Queen was considerably more subtle and some may say that I am imagining it. But I would make a case that if you just look at how the White Queen and her castle are portrayed visually, you can tell she isn't supposed to be portraying some ideal. Her kingdom looks as forced and unreal as the Red Queen's. Actually the White Queen seems slightly terrifying almost drained of color except for the dark slash of her lips.

Alice is also a feminist movie in it's own way. This Alice is certainly a girl that I would want to present as role model to my daughter. She questions society, stands up for herself, faces reality, makes hard decisions, treats those around her with dignity and respect, and in the end doesn't just accept perceived limitations.

There were one or two things in the movie that didn't work for me. One CGI character shouldn't have been (the Red Queen's consort). The 3D didn't really seem to add that much to the film. Johnny Depp has turned in one of his best performances in years. The animation and characterization of the other fantastical characters was spot on.

And I loved the Cheshire Cat. Smile!

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