Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland: A review, in a nutshell!

MadhatterYou would be hard pressed to try and find someone that hasn’t seen some version of “Alice in Wonderland”. Most have seen the famous version that was made by Disney in 1951. Just looking at a movie website, I’ve been able to find twenty-one different versions. So, it should come as no surprise that yet another version has been made and in 3D no less. If you had asked me who would be the best person to make a new version of Alice, I would have been the first to tell you that Tim Burton is the only director I could imagine taking us on another adventure to Wonderland. Surprise, that’s exactly who they got to direct this new film. Unfortunately, this version lacked the humor, wonder, imagination and whimsy that I was hoping to see.
The story begins with Alice as a little girl that is plagued with nightmares of her first trip to Wonderland. It seems that she doesn’t remember her first trip and only thinks that it is a recurring nightmare she has been having. As she grows up, she still has the nightmare but no memory of the events actually taking place. Needless to say, she finds herself falling down the rabbit hole once more, but seems to think she is just dreaming again. She begins exploring and doesn’t seem to be much impressed with her surroundings but just rather perplexed as to how and why she’s there. The story continues from there but honestly I didn’t really care what happened. Visually, this film is stunning and they seemed to have a very clear vision of what they wanted Wonderland to be, but despite the fantastic look of the film, the plot was rather uninspired and seemed to be written more for adults rather than children.
On paper, this movie should have been amazing. There is a great cast, the director is tailor made for this material and visually the movie was outstanding. Unfortunately, when I left I was completely underwhelmed. Everything should have come together but ultimately it came down to a poor script. So, no matter how good everything is, with a poor script there’s not much anyone can do to save the film. I went in with such high expectations due to my love of Tim Burton’s films that I was totally disappointed. If you do decide to go see this film, at least upgrade to the 3D version and enjoy the visuals.

C+

J. Chandler

Percy Jackson: Finds a new place at the Movies!

Percy JacksonI was not familiar with Percy Jackson and the Olympians until I saw a movie trailer for this film over Christmas. This trailer really caught my attention. I’ve always loved Greek mythology and this looked like it could be a lot of fun and teach people a little something about the Greek gods of old. I was also unaware that this is also a book series and “The Lightning Thief” is the first book. It seems that studios are looking to find their own version of a Harry Potter type book series to turn into a multi-picture event and possibly use the same actors throughout the entire film series. From what I saw in this film, I see great potential for more films and it even got me curious to read the books now.
I went into seeing this film not really knowing anything about it other than what I had seen in a few trailers and commercials. So, I didn’t have any expectations really other than the fact that I like Greek myths and thought that this seemed an interesting premise. I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw. This movie introduces us to Percy Jackson, play by Logan Lerman, a regular teenage guy who lives with his mom and her good for nothing boyfriend that Percy can’t stand. He’s a regular student that seems to have difficulty reading thinking he’s dyslexic. What he doesn’t know is that he is actually the son of the Greek god Poseidon and he’s not dyslexic at all but he can actually read Greek and has the power of the ocean. It seems that all of the children of the gods and mortals, known as demigods, live at a camp on Earth where they can train their skills and be around other kids like themselves. This is the basic premise of the film and the book series I would assume.
With the basic outline set, an adventure ensues looking for Zeus’ lightning bolt that has been stolen. I really wish they would have delved a little deeper into the back ground story of Percy. I would have loved to get to know him better and the world that he lives in to give me a better sense of what there is and what might come in future films. I hate to compare this to the Harry Potter series, but there are too many similarities to ignore. The first film of Harry Potter was by far the longest because they took the time to introduce everyone to that world and the history of Harry Potter himself. I wish they would have done the same here. I’m one of those that have no problem with long movies as long as the extra time is spent wisely and not just filler. So, having said that, the part I liked best about this movie was the adventure itself. I loved Percy’s guardian Grover, played perfectly by Brandon Jackson, and his fellow demigod Anna Beth, played by Alexandra Daddario. This trio worked perfectly together and the adventure they go on is worth the price of admission.
I look forward to future films in this series, assuming that the studio will continue making them. I’m also very tempted to go out and begin reading this series to see what happens next. If any of you are like me, if you know a story continues and you can extend your journey in a fantastic world, you go and seek it out. I look forward to seeing what else awaits Mr. Jackson and friends!