September 10, 2010

Justify My Netflix: Alice in Wonderland (2010)

(Like many Netflix customers, I too can get quite lax with the timely watching and returning of my movies, which of course defeats the entire purpose of having a flat-rate rental plan in the first place. To combat that, I am now writing standardized mini-reviews of each and every movie I end up watching through Netflix, both instantly and on DVD. Don't forget, all previous 'Justify My Netflix' reviews can be found on CCLaP's main movie page.)

Alice in Wonderland (2010)

Today's movie: Alice in Wonderland, 2010 (Amazon | IMDB | Netflix | Wikipedia)

Why I added it to my queue: Because it's a high-profile adaptation by Tim Burton of one of the strangest books of all time, from one of the strangest directors of all time, done with a massive budget under the supervision of the again-resurgent Disney. What could possibly go wrong?

The reality: I'm sorry, did I just ask what could possibly go wrong? Well, it turns out, the same exact things that went wrong with his limp 2005 remake of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory -- that somehow, almost by magic, he manages to make a film that is both overly manic and lifeless at the exact same time, a movie that wears you down from its hyperkinetic overstimulation yet never once seems actually exciting, never more than the most expensive puppets in history being pushed around the most expensive puppet stage in history. And that's a profound shame, because in this case the visuals are just so amazingly jaw-dropping, so worthy of being paired with a daring and smart production; so to see it instead paired with a flat script and utterly predictable acting, the whole thing ratcheted up to ridiculous levels in a desperate attempt to keep a bunch of sugar-filled little ADD brats actually in their seats for two entire hours in a row, is almost a heartbreaking thing to witness. I agree with what one of CCLaP's readers said at Facebook, of what a surprise it is that 1999's Sleepy Hollow is looking more and more like the best of Burton's modern remakes, given how much hostility that film faced when first coming out; who would've guessed then that the ensuing decade would be filled with such career nadirs as this, Wonka, and the truly terrible Planet of the Apes. I pray that Burton gets back in touch with the elements that made his early films such charming successes, but I'm not exactly holding my breath.

Strangest piece of trivia: This now marks the seventh Tim Burton film that Johnny Depp has been in.

Worth your time? No

Filed by Jason Pettus at 10:32 AM, September 10, 2010. Filed under: Movies | Reviews |