Why’s a raven like a writing desk?

I know everyone has been looking forward to the upcoming (and now officially released) Tim Burton version of Alice in Wonderland and there without a doubt millions of reviews up on it too by now. Especially as it was coming out in 3D; now, I’m a BIG fan of 3D movies and I dont think I have passed up the chance yet to see something. It really makes the whole experience that much more fun. Who cares about Avatar and the Navi when you can have Jonny Depp & Tim Burton popping out in front of you? (I dont mean to offend anyone by that rhetorical question – I’m sure many of you DO care…)

The thing that I felt personally about this movie is the aesthetic pleasure it brings to the viewer. For me, the storyline wasn’t as important, though I am sure that for most people it was as important as in every other movie (and may have been a let down to a point – more on that later). Being the person that I am, having dreamed of working behind the scenes and on effects of movies since about the age of 14, seeing a movie like this is simply dream-like. What was nice about the storyline though is that it wasn’t a remake of a classic. It was an adaptation, so it wasn’t expected to be “just like the book” which in some way relieves some of the pressure off die-hard Disney fans who were ready to critique.

I think that they made use of the 3D quite well. Its not all just about giving more dimension to the picture plane and stretching out the landscape – there is so much 3D can do. So far the best 3D put to use that I’ve seen was Coraline, but I think Burton did a good job too. Especially with the falling down the rabbit hole, where it felt as if there were things flying at you! As well as in the forest you feel as if you’re hiding behind the trees as they’re about to scratch your face or later on when the leaves are falling and they come closer to you. Sometimes I dont think 3D movies fully utilize this innovation and its such a pity.

But what I just loveed is how each of the characters were so visually rich. Every time certain characters were on screen, the entire scene seemed to be dedicated to them. I thought the White Queen was simply beautiful; white dress, white hair, pale skin – with dark eyes, black eyebrows and red lips to stand out. Anne Hathaway added a certain daintiness to her part. All the people of her palace were as white and pale and dressed in white. As well as just all their hair skin and clothing, the whole tonal colour of the scene seemed to be white and glowing while she was there.

The Red Queen

There was just some awesome about the Red Queen’s bitchy, cold-hearted, blunt, bad-assness. My favourite about her (now dont judge) were her lips. They always looked like they were angry and pouting – why? Because there was a red heart painted on them, which gave the illusion of a constant pout. Fitting for the Queen of Hearts. What’s also so cool about her is her enlarged head, its not something major but I always think about how that was filmed and the effects made. Her body is perfectly normal. And then you notice how all her patrons (is that even the appropriate word?) have different deformities – ridiculously extended noses, contorted chins, enlarged ears; all to make her royal highness feel important. She was seriously like a bratty demanding 3 year old. (Almost like Professor Umbridge from Harry Potter, a character you cant help but love to hate. Though I think I may have liked her more than hated her.)

Something that gets me every time with this type of movie is how on earth it was filmed. There must have been such a use of green-screen that it is a wonder that Alice managed so well acting with things that weren’t there in a world that she wasn’t existing in. The effects were just lovely. It was the synthesis of real life and the computer generated characters that combined the real world and the fantastical which impressed me. I don’t know why I was so much more mesmerised by this than by Avatar; perhaps I’m just partial to Tim Burton or just didn’t get as caught up in the whole Avatar hype. Another thing which intrigues me is the work with perspective as Alice shrinks or gets bigger and how they filmed/acted that from scene to scene as her height changed and adjusted. Maybe its just me who thinks of these things :S

Somethings that must be commended, as well as the beautiful effects, are the costumes and make-up. They’re just delicious to look at. Yes. I’ve already spoken about the White Queen and briefly about the Red Queen. The Red Queen’s make up, aside for her lips were great I just loved the blue eye-shadow leading up to her perfectly thin eyebrows. The Mad Hatter was also just so intricately dressed and made-up, I don’t even think I paid enough attention to the detail of his clothes or eyes. I actually fell in love with one of the dresses Alice wore – keep an eye out for the one the Red Queen orders to be made for her!

One thing though that was somewhat disappointing were Depp and Alice. His performance was good, but nothing amazing and pretty average. Someone said to me it looked like he had the whole Jack Sparrow walk going for him. Though he did put across his feelings for Alice wonderfully 🙂 I found she though, was also average. Despite that I personally thought she was beautiful – her characters wasn’t striking as others. She wasn’t so strong or anything as the main character or heroin should be; and its not even like when it finally got to the end there was a big penny dropping or something. No. The penny kinda dropped onto a soft carpet without a sound.

Having seen the movie yesterday and since having a whole day to contemplate the movie, I came to the conclusion that the storyline itself wasn’t really anything to write home about. It wasn’t particularly exciting or action filled. Thankfully, the richness of the visuals had me totally distracted for the entire duration.

Something small I did learn though, which I kind of liked: “Sometimes I think of 6 impossible things before breakfast” -> what a wonderful way to stretch and exercise the imagination.

Oh, and bonkers is definitely the best position to be in 🙂


3 comments on “Why’s a raven like a writing desk?

  1. yes there deffinatly was something missing from the story, and from alice herself. I think i find the effect in AiW more impressive than that of Avatar (dont get me wrong the sheer technical brilliance of that movie is astounding) because Avatar is based on some form of reality, it has to llok real, where as fantasy movie special effects are tricky because you want to make the fantasy look as real as possible but sometimes is comes out looking too computer generated. Just look at the March Hare (he’s my faverout) he looks real, his fur looks like real fur, in fact you are more lickely to think he is some sort of anamatronic puppet than completely CG. I cant wait for the movie to come out on DVD, i’m going to look for the special edition that dripping in extras. I love seeing how they do stuff. If you want to see some CG awesomness watch the Iron Man special features, the cave scene at the begining of the movie, the suit was all CG! watch that scene, it looks like real armour!

  2. nicolapallitt says:

    Aaaawww I’m so jealous – I planned to see Alice in 3D this weekend, but it’s not showing anywhere in the Western Cape anymore…so upset. Guess I should have checked the dates beforehand, silly me:(

    • Lee Lipman says:

      Oh no 😦 Well, at least more and more 3D movies are coming out. How to Tame Your Dragon, Toy Story 3… 🙂 Maybe sometime soon they’ll come up with a way to release 3D DVDs. You never know with technology these days.

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