Saturday, 13 March 2010

Alice in Wonderland

Tim Burton and Lewis Caroll is surely a match made in heaven - akin to bread and butter or bacon and eggs. Burton's whimsically malevolent streak and Caroll's idiosyncratic, vaguely Freudian notion of rabbit holes, dream worlds, smoking caterpillars and the like, in theory, promises great things...

Which is why the plasticised, mechanical underland of Wonderland is such a crushing disappointment, completely lacking the organic Burton spirit of Edward Scissorhands and Batman. There the contrast of darkness and light, operatic and sinister, unleashed an audacious directorial style on the world. Here, it's Burton by way of George Lucas: a green-screened, CGI monstrosity, emotionally flat and conspicuously lacking in magic.

The problem stems from the overladen approach to Carrol's featherlight imaginings. Not content with merely retelling the original tale from a new standpoint (dismissing the 1951 Disney cartoon that's exerted a powerful influence on how we view the tale), here it's an overcooked stew of the first story, Through the Looking Glass and a modern take on young woman returning to face her destiny.

It's a heavy-handed update that puts too much focus on setting wheels in motion at the expense of sending a viewer's imagination soaring. It begins competently enough with Mia Wasikowska's fatherless Alice faced with an unpleasant proposal of marriage, distracted at the prime moment by the familiar figure of a white rabbit (Michael Sheen) tapping a pocket watch. Following him down the familiar yet understandably spruced up void into the unknown, she is confronted by a world at once familiar and strangely alien, even if Alan Rickman's dry Caterpillar and an ancient prophecy would indicate she has been drawn back to the land of her dreams to confront the monstrous Jabberwocky and end the Red Queen's (Helena Bonham Carter) reign of terror.

However, no sooner has the noisy overbearing Bandersnatch thundered across our screens and scattered all forms of magical mushroom to the wind that an uneasy feel starts to take hold, not helped by the relentless gloss of green screen in every shot, used as a substitute for real sets, real effects and real emotions. Burton may have wanted to make a more direct adaptation of the story but curiously he has forgone the charm. What happened to the director of old who fashioned the entire Western Woods of Sleepy Hollow by hand on a soundstage?

Likewise, it's hard to tell what frequent collaborator Johnny Depp was trying to achieve in his dual-accented Mad Hatter, an amalgamation of Alec Guiness and Trainspotting's Begbie. All of the live-action characters, from Bonham Carters mildly amusing Red Queen to Wasikowska's subdued Alice are subservient to the onslaught of effects, although Stephen Fry's enticingly creepy Chesire Cat is perhaps the one element that skews closest to Carroll's vision. Yet, in the end, when it all marches to a depressingly derivative final battle, the heroine clad head to foot in armour, one clamours for the time when it will outgrow its chrysalis and really take flight.

1 comment:

  1. 雖然說上班很累,不過還是得努力應付每一天,看看文章休息一下,謝謝你哦!........................................