Friday, 5 March 2010

Alice In Wonderland week: Your thoughts

Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland opens in cinemas today. Reviews have been divisive, some loving it, others thinking it's the worst thing he's made since Planet Of The Apes.

I would very much like to hear what you think.

16 comments:

Gerard said...

Afraid I fall in the latter camp.

Loving Alice week at reel world matters, however! Thanks for all of the excellent stuff. Can't wait to check out your book at the end of the month!

Mark Salisbury said...

I'd read your comments on twitter so I'd figured as much.

However, I'm pleased that hasn't spoilt your enjoyment of Alice week. And let me know what you think of the book when you get it...

When are you MoMA bound?

Stram said...

You'll have to wait until the end of the month too for my thoughts... being in France sucks sometimes^^ But as soon as I've seen it, I'll tell you!
Do you know if your book is going to be released in France? I'll probably get a copy in english for me, but I'ld like to offer it to a non-english speaker...

Gerard said...

My favourite film writer talking with some of my favourite film people? What's not to love? It's been terrific!

And there was much to like in the film, but on the whole I found it bland and lacking in spirit--both Carroll and Burton. Anything I enjoyed came down to Burton's visual take and direction, and the performances. Really thoroughly disappointed by the script. I'll definitely do a bit of a write-up when I get the time.

Can't wait for your book though. And NY-bound on the 27th! Seeing Burton speak a few nights after that, too!

Mark Salisbury said...

@ Stram

I'm not sure whether the French-language rights have been sold. I'll have to ask.

@ Gerard

You're too kind. If you could see me now, you'd see I'm blushing.

A number of critics have had issues with the script, with some even questioning the decision to age Alice. I have to say, I'm not one of them... although I'll be interested in reading what you have to say at length. Having only seen AIW twice, I still don't feel I have the correct distance to put my thoughts down yet...

Karen at Johnny Depp Reads said...

I have some other thoughts about AIW in the other thread, but I think there are some script issues in the middle of the film where things tend to get a bit "muddy." Act 2 could have been a bit tighter, I will go back to see it again to pin point the issues for me. But I liked the idea of aging Alice, I think that worked and worked well. It also opens the film to a different audience. Not to get on a soapbox but so many films now are directed at adolescent boys and young men, with very little in the way of positive YA female roles. They all can't be some sort of princess.

Your book release Mark, has been pushed into April here in the states, which I think is criminal that it's NOT on the bookshelves now, as was planned.

Mark Salisbury said...

Where did you hear that? The last time I spoke with the publishers, which was last week, they said it was hitting shelves March 30.

Thanks for your comments re: AIW, too. I plan to read more throughly than I have time for now, tomorrow.

Karen at Johnny Depp Reads said...

Mark, originally we were told the book would release March 02. So based on that, I scheduled our online discussion to begin March 15. Then we got word that the release would be April 06 and now, I just checked and the website shows March 30.

Mark Salisbury said...

At least it's March.

Just...

Karen at Johnny Depp Reads said...

@Mark...good point!

tim-whitehead said...

I'll admit I'm biased cos I'm a huge Tim Burton fan (I recently got back from seeing the Moma exhibition in NY which was amazing) but I loved Alice. The production design is stunning, it really looks like a Tim Burton film in a way I don't think Planet of the Apes really did. It was a joy to see such iconic characters so beautifully realised, Helena Bonham Carter is wonderfully awful as the Red Queen however my favourite performance was Johnny Depp who I thought brought just the right amount of melancholia to the madness making his Hatter truly touching. The negative reviews I've seen seem to be complaining about the changes to the narrative - but this is a film! When a book is held in such high regard people get too reverential, I'm sure Lewis Carroll would of loved it.

Can't wait for Dark Shadows, I bet after Alice Tim Burton is looking forward to doing something more low-tech again and having seen the TV series recently I bet he'll have a ball with it.
Tim.

Anonymous said...

This film is simply too rushed, everything flows in haste. The screenplay isn't the problem, but the story is told so fast that you can hardly experience all the wonderful things living in Underland and the atmosphere. it is difficult to enjoy the atmosphere, to remain emotionally involved, or sympathize with the protagonists.

I'm really sad, cause i'm a big Burton's fan, but in any case it was a mistake not putting all with a material so fascinating, or accept compromises, as it seems.

I apologize for my bad English but I am Italian. Thank you for this space and the blog, bye.

Sunshine said...

As a Burton fan I had to end up here eventually, I guess.

I've seen the movie twice now, so that obviously means I enjoyed it the first time. :) I can understand that some people feel that the plot is too simple or too conventional (hero's journey and all that), and some were disappointed that it wasn't more similar too the original - just a loose connection between meetings of strange people/creatures.

I think it was a good choice to step away from the original like that, to make Alice older and explore what could've happened after she left Wonderland.

Liked the acting very much. The Mad Hatter was fascinating as a character (didn't expect anything else, though), but I also especially loved the Cheshire Cat. Awesome work there by Stephen Fry and the CGI unit.

Beautiful look and set designs, as always, and I definitely got the feeling of watching a Burton movie. I think the black humour wasn't used as much as in some of his other movies, but that was okay for me. Compromises and such, I guess.

Anyway, I'll likely go and watch the movie again. And of course I'll buy the book as soon as it comes out. Loved the Sweeney Todd book very much, so this one will surely be a treat as well.

Mark Salisbury said...

@ Tim

I think you hit the nail on the head in your assessment of Alice. I love HBC's Red Queen. The scene with the frogs and the missing tarts is my favourite in the film.

The MoMA exhibition is amazing, isn't it. I just wish I had a reason to visit NYC again before it ends next month...

@ Anonymous

Grazie for your comments. Your English is so much better than my Italian. I agree that the pacing is fast, but I've seen the movie twice now and enjoyed it both times.

@ Sunshine

Thanks for stopping by. Your visit and comments are most much appreciated. Glad that you enjoyed the movie so much, and the Sweeney book. I have to say I agree with you about the Cheshire Cat; I think it's the most successful combination of CG and voice talent. And, like you, I thought Depp brought real depth to the Hatter's madness and pain.

Gerard said...

@ Mark

How's this for a reason: drinks are on me :P

I'm going to catch Alice again before I fly out at the end of the month. I know I'll appreciate all the little Burtonesque flourishes more the second time, but the more I think about that script, the more it disappoints me. A whole lot of interesting opportunities are presented, but some of them almost seem to have been accidental. And the lack of wit really hurt - 99% of it came down to the design and the cast, and when there's no shortage of it in the source, its absence is really felt. Haven't really been at home this week, but I'll get thoughts up soon. I certainly didn't outright dislike it, it was just hugely disappointing, given its potential. Really wish they'd avoided the bog-standard hero's journey tropes. Does everything with a budget north of $80 million have to end in a perfunctory (albeit well staged and striking, in Alice's case) battle climax these days? Carroll took every opportunity he could to make fun of the ludicrousness of armed conflict in the stories, so it was a real shame to see the film end as it did.

The Red Queen and her frog footmen was my favourite scene, too. Well, that, and anything with the Cheshire Cat and the Tweedles.

Mark Salisbury said...

I know exactly what you mean about the battle climax. Particularly prevalent in Marvel superhero films, I find: Iron Man v bad Iron Man; Hulk vs bad Hulk; Spiderman vs Green Goblin... and set up well in advance in Alice.

Hopefully you'll find more to enjoy second time round.