Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Review: Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland

It must first be said that I did not see Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland in 3D. Blasphemous, I know, but it did clue me in to something I would have missed had I been watching the full, glorious, multi-dimensional version.

As 3D takes more steps toward becoming a legitimate part of our viewing experience, movie, television and game developers must be careful not to cross the line between “viewing enhancement” and “gimmick.”

I’m sure everything looked spectacular in 3D, but a few too many odd angle choices and objects being thrown at the camera proved distracting in this particular film.

Also, there are three scenes of someone riding an animal/beast across a large landscape with orchestral music blasting in the background. Fine the first time, but I can’t help but guess these scenes looked particularly pretty in 3D, thus justifying their frequent use. Otherwise, I was left baffled by the recurring treks.

Also used to the point of distraction were the CG effects. I’m reminded of a scene in one of the Hannibal novels where the good doctor informs Clarice dining room decorations are tricky. Too little is fine and too much is fine. Fall in the middle, though, and it can look like a mess. District 9 would be an example of the former with Avatar being the latter.

Alice in Wonderland, though, adds in a few special effects where they really don’t need to be. Making the Mad Hatter’s eyes all ga-ga was fine but I could not get over the Red Queen’s ginormous head nor the Naive of Hearts' ridiculously long limbs. I hate to use the word “distracting” more than once in a single review, but there you have it. These proportions were actually integral to the plot, but I could care less when their inclusion takes me out of the scene.

Taken as a whole, the pacing was all over the place, but otherwise, I actually enjoyed the film. Hard to believe, considering all my gripes, but it’s true.

Tim Burton’s imagination shines brightly (it would have been brighter had Disney loosened the collar a bit), all of the performances were enjoyable and, despite the lack of 3D, most of the visuals were rather amazing.

I don’t know if this return trip to Wonderland was necessary but fans of the world should walk away happy. Everyone else, though, should probably avoid the rabbit hole this time around unless it is with big 3D glasses strapped to your face.


Jeff said...

the 3D for Alice in Wonderland was done in post-processing.

In other words, the 3D in Alice in Wonderland is garbage. It's a gimmick. It sucks.

You can't film something with only one camera and then make it 3D in the editing room. You just can't. It looks terrible.

This is just another example of the studios taking advantage of a gullible viewing public and bilking them out of an extra five dollars.

Avatar in 3D looked good because it was filmed to be in 3D. That's the difference.

Anybody who plans to see Alice in Wonderland, please please PLEASE do not see it in 3D. You are being cheated and taken advantage of.

If you want 3D, then demand real 3D, and do not accept the kind of junk the studios are trying to pass off on us now.

-Ryan Winslett said...

Wow. You're pretty fired up about that. I'm sure you'll be delighted to hear that, next year, supposedly Titanic is being re-released in theaters in 3D.