Blu-Monday: Alice In Wonderland

Everywhere you go, you are bound to see mixed reviews for Alice In Wonderland. Some will hate it, while others won’t mind it, let me assure you that most people don’t know the story they are talking about.

Let me preface my review by telling you that I have always been a freak about the Alice In Wonderland stories. There are two stories by Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland and a later sequel called Through the Looking Glass and what Alice found there. Tim Burton’s version was a hodge podge grab all from both stories.

From someone who has read the books, it was easy to see when the movie transformed from book one to book two. From a child’s point of view in the audience with me, they seemed to enjoy themselves and clapped at appropriate moments, and from other adults not so fanatical about the story as me, also sharing the theatre with me, seemed to have a consensus of having fun watching it and said that the story finally made more sense to them (now that it is complete) and of course, Johnny Depp was in it. Continue reading movie review.

The Alice In Wonderland Blu-Ray combo pack includes more than you will probably ever need. You’ve got the blu-ray disc itself with all the special features included with the film in 1080p and Dolby Digital 5.1 HD surround sound. Then there is a regular DVD, I guess for those times you wish to bring it in the car to keep your kids busy. Then, even more, they give you a digital disc to watch the film on a lap top or pc.

Video: My big complaint when seeing it in the theatre was the 3D draining the color and making my eyes go crossed. This is only in 2D and looks beautiful as was intended by director Tim Burton. His signature look has always been a little drab and dreary, but he really popped in some bright colors here and there. Over all the 1080p transfer is beautifully done.

Sound: Like was said before, the sound is projected in fantastic Dolby Digital 5.1 HD surround sound. It gives real presence to the film adding even more depth to an already well rounded film.

Special Features: There isn’t a ton of features on this, just enough to keep you entertained for a half hour or so. This will probably suffice for children however. The one thing that the special features did for me was teach me just how far Tim Burton and crew went to create this world that you see in Alice In Wonderland.

Finding Alice: This feature is found both on the blu-ray as well as the DVD and is all about Tim Burton’s vision for the characters with the focus being Alice. They show comparisons from the book to the drawings that he started with and talk a bit about how the blue dress is just classic.

The Mad Hatter: Also on blu-ray and DVD, this section goes in depth about Johnny Depp’s character of The Mad Hatter. It became clear that Johnny and Tim had spent too much time together because their sketches of the Mad Hatter were very similar. With commentary from Johnny Depp and Tim Burton they also talk about how they enhanced his eyes and why, although I still don’t agree with their decision.

Effecting Wonderland: This makes up the three features on the DVD, but as you will see there are many more on the blu-ray. This section was really a catch-all for how they created all the rest of the smaller characters: Tweedles, Stayne and Bandersnatch as well as the Red Queen. Although there is a more in depth feature on The Red Queen that I liked better.

The Futterwacken Dance: Ugh, the dreaded futterwacken dance. If you read my review before, you know that I greatly disliked this silly, unneeded dance. This was just about the dance and how they found someone on Youtube of all places to perform the dance. Now, I liked watching this guy dance on his own, but when you see the finished product with his head spinning around, it just gets an eye roll.

The Red Queen: More sketches of The Red Queen from Tim Burton and commentary from Helena Bonham Carter. After watching all of these features, I still like the Red Queen the best.

Time-Lapse: Sculpting the Red Queen: This was a cool segment. This was the creation of the Red Queen from start to finish. They show us a time-lapse camera over about four hours from her sitting in the makeup chair and falling asleep and waking up as the Red Queen.

The White Queen: An interview with Anne Hathaway who plays the character as she describes her motives for the character. She didn’t convince me very much. I did like how Johnny Depp commented on her look and saying he wanted to be the White Queen.

Scoring Wonderland: As you would expect, composer Danny Elfman and Tim Burton discuss the music for the movie. This section can easily be skipped.

Stunts of Wonderland: This shows some of the stunts performed in the film. It shows so much of the film was green screen and gives you a sense of how hard they worked to make it feel real.

Cakes of Wonderland: This section made me hungry. This centers around the tea party scene and the cakes that Alice ate through out the film to grow or shrink. I have now learned that fondant is used on cakes in film, not only because it looks flawless, but because it won’t “sweat” like traditional icing. Now I’m really craving some sweets.

Tea Party Props: This is mostly an extension of the previous feature  which talks about the rest of the props used on the tea party table. Lots of hard work went into this scene and it is definitely worth a look.

So even though this looks like a ton of features, for the price they are asking for it, it’s not enough for me. The special features are interesting but fly by quickly. Although, sometimes a movie like this will hold up on it’s own. I would definitely recommend buying if you are a crazy Tim Burton fan, unfortunately, I’m just an Alice fan and I would still just…rent it.

by Angela Davis

About Angela

Angela is the Editor-in-Chief of Lost in Reviews. She and Ryan created Lost in Reviews together in 2009 out of a mutual hatred for all the stodgy old farts currently writing film reviews. Since launching the site, Angela has enjoyed reviewing indie films over all other films, picking up new music from all corners of the world and photographing live shows. She is the co-host of Blu Monday and a member of the Kansas City Film Critic Circle.

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