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Peter T Chattaway

Alice in Wonderland (2010)

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"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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At least it's a minor character in what's likely to be not-a-blockbuster movie. And it's not a role that's likely to cause airport security guards to check your luggage two or three times because no innocent person could really have such a name.


There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

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This may be an early test shot of Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter...

johnny-depp-mad-hatter.jpg

... I say early, because USAToday has run some more images from Alice in Wonderland - some preproduction artwork, and some cast photos that resemble the images that Burton used for poster work on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Is it just me, or does Johnny Depp look a lot like Elijah Wood in the USAToday published photo?

Photos here.


Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
Harold and Maude
 

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Matt Lucas as Tweedledee/Tweedledum here. He is perfect for that role.

Some additional promo photos here.


"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

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"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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The Teaser's up all over the place now.

I'm not sure whether Providence made Tim Burton for Lewis Carroll's story, or made Lewis Carroll write his story with the foreknowledge that Tim Burton would come along later. But after seeing this short teaser, it does look like a match made in heaven.

Meanwhile, the Mad Hatter appears to be a cross between Captain Jack Sparrow and ... um, the Joker in Batman?

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Persiflage wrote:

: Meanwhile, the Mad Hatter appears to be a cross between Captain Jack Sparrow and ... um, the Joker in Batman?

I keep thinking it's Bryce Dallas Howard.

Meanwhile... I note that the IMDb says Alice's full name in this movie will be Alice Kingsley... and that Marton Csokas (he played Galadriel's husband in The Lord of the Rings) is playing a character named Charles Kingsley. Surely not THE Charles Kingsley...?

Given that this film will apparently include real-world characters named "Chataway" -- probably a reference of some sort to the Chataway girl to whom Lewis Carroll dedicated The Hunting of the Snark -- it wouldn't be all that surprising, really, if the film dragged other highly-fictionalized real-life 19th-century figures into the storyline too, I guess.

Whether any of this mixing-and-matching actually MEANS anything, I guess we'll just have to wait and see.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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A second trailer has been released.

What's interesting about this ALICE IN WONDERLAND is that it's really a sequel to Lewis Carroll's story, and is about an older Alice returning to a Wonderland that she's forgotten about. It's not a strictly "original" idea, mind you, but it does have some potential. Sadly, this film looks very paint-by-numbers, and I'd wager it doesn't do too much with that concept.

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The British trailer has a bit more footage (mainly of the "real world" prologue):

So, if this is a sequel, is this basically kind of like Steven Spielberg's Hook, then?


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Is anyone else tired of Johnny Depp's affectations. After his performance in Burton's CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FATORY and now this, I'm irritated more than anything. It's also creepy how much Depp's Mad Hatter looks like he could be played by Bonham-Carter.


"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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Yeah, I'm a bit tired of "cartoon character" Depp, ala Captain Jack, Willy Wonka, and now the Mad Hatter.

I did like his turn as Sweeney Todd, though, which was very internal and restrained while retaining some basic theatricality (very much an ode to the performances of silent cinema). But the performance reflects the film as a whole; it's very subdued and focused as far as Burton's films are concerned.

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Yeah, I'm a bit tired of "cartoon character" Depp, ala Captain Jack, Willy Wonka, and now the Mad Hatter.

I did like his turn as Sweeney Todd, though, which was very internal and restrained while retaining some basic theatricality (very much an ode to the performances of silent cinema). But the performance reflects the film as a whole; it's very subdued and focused as far as Burton's films are concerned.

Your love for SWEENEY TODD has made me think that I want to revisit the film, despite finding it deeply flawed on first viewing. There are elements of the film that I did find interesting, and I agree that in many ways one of Burton's better films (though, I would tend to attribute that to being an adaptation of Sondheim's original theatrical work).


"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

Twitter.
Letterboxd.

Reviews and essays at Three Brothers Film.

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SWEENEY TODD certainly benefits from being a fully-formed narrative work long before Burton ever touched it. Burton's allergy to anything resembling a plot couldn't get in the way, so essentially, all Burton had to do was tighten things up, cast it, and provide a suitable visual style (which he does a very fine job with; it's by far Burton's most beautiful film, and is perhaps the best single version of the "Burton aesthetic" thanks to Burton's newfound collaborators, Wolski and Ferretti; it's also one of the rare times in Burton's career where the visual touches actually seem to contribute to the story, rather than just being there for their own sake). But whether it's because of the source material material or not, I'd actually argue TODD is Burton's best film, hands down, and in a number of ways, actually improves upon the source material.

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Disney is asking U.S. and U.K. first run theatre chains to accept a shortened run of Alice in Wonderland, so that the movie can be released to the home market quicker.

Story here.


Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
Harold and Maude
 

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Baal_T'shuvah wrote:

: Disney is asking U.S. and U.K. first run theatre chains to accept a shortened run of Alice in Wonderland, so that the movie can be released to the home market quicker.

FWIW, David Poland has a theory that Disney is doing this partly because they expect Prince of Persia to be a dud and they want to boost their revenue in that fiscal quarter through DVD sales of Alice.

As a theory, it may be kind of out-there, but it reminds me of one of my favorite Karina Longworth headlines: "SHUTTER ISLAND Shuffled to Next Fiscal Quarter?"


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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ComingSoon has a clip from the movie.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeDgTkA9ZJs

I'm not really sure on this one. On the one hand, I like some of the dialogue ("Clothe this enormous girl!"--the dialogue about "growing a lot lately," etc.) and the visuals are appropriately tripped-out for an "Alice" movie--but on the other hand, some of the other dialogue ("Anyone with a head that large is welcome in my court") seems a bit too on-the-nose. The clip certainly contrasts to the quasi-epic-fantasy vibe one gets from the trailers; here, it feels more like a traditional "Alice" movie.

Edited by NBooth

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I like the trains of thought (Um/Umbridge, etc.) in this clip. It gives me hope that this film might at least succeed where I've seen no other adaptation succeed: Those strange, wonderful Carrollian logic leaps. Some of my favorite elements of the books.

Oh, I find it very visually appealing too. (Though I am frustrated that they wont just let the clothes grow and shrink with Alice. I reacted the same way when I saw how *hard* she hit the floor in the first trailer: I feel too much realism might throw things off.)


"Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen."
Robert Bresson

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Let the bad buzz commence. (But if the film is REALLY this bad, why would it be shown to critics at all!?)

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Some contrary opinions are up on Wells' site this morning:

HE reader and Tim Burton buff Michael Mayo saw Alice in Wonderland last Thursday at Hollywood's El Capitan, and, contrary to yesterday's general opinion, was not only okay with it but actually feels it's "Tim's best work in a long time." Perhaps with a pinch of salt...?

"It's actually more somber than they're letting on..."

And then a reader responds:

I wholeheartedly support Mayo's view of the film. Probably Burton's most mature work but also far less macabre and twisted than one would expect. But it is PG, after all. The characters are where the real dimension lies, not the stuff that pops out and that is all for the good. For once, Alice might be the most interesting being on the screen. And that is quite the accomplishment.
Edited by Overstreet

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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FWIW, I didn't hold on to the link, but apparently when Alice returns to Wonderland in this movie, she discovers that the place's real name is "Underland" and that she mis-heard it all those many years ago. So, as the one blogger put it, apparently this is one of the few movies out there that has a deliberately incorrect name.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Todd McCarthy @ Variety:

"You've lost your muchness," Johnny Depp's Mad Hatter remarks to his newly shrunken teenage friend, and much the same could be said of Tim Burton in the wake of his encounter with a Victorian-era heroine of imaginative powers even wilder than his own. Quite like what one would expect from such a match of filmmaker and material and also something less, this "Alice in Wonderland" has its moments of delight, humor and bedazzlement. But it also becomes more ordinary as it goes along, building to a generic battle climax similar to any number of others in CGI-heavy movies of the past few years. A humongous Disney promo effort and inevitable curiosity about the first post-"Avatar" 3D extravaganza will pull wondrous early B.O. numbers, although long-term forecast could become clouded by the imminent arrival of further high-profile kid-friendly features.

It all seemed like such a natural fit -- Burton and Lewis Carroll, Depp as the key component in fiction's most eccentric tea party, and 3D put at the service of a story offering unlimited visual possibilities. Not that it's gone all wrong; not entirely. But for all its clever design, beguiling creatures and witty actors, the picture feels far more conventional than it should; it's a Disney film illustrated by Burton, rather than a Burton film that happens to be released by Disney. . . .

Script arguably needed a narrative backbone of a sort not to be found in the episodic books, and Woolverton has obliged. Unfortunately, it's one that turns "Alice" into a formulaic piece of work, which Carroll's creation was anything but. Climactic action setpiece, with an unlikely young warrior taking on a fearsome beast while gobs of CGI soldiers clash, smacks of "The Lord of the Rings," "Harry Potter," "The Golden Compass," "The Chronicles of Narnia" and any number of other such recent ventures. Thus does "Alice" become normalized, a tilt Burton is surprisingly incapable of opposing. . . .

FWIW, Michael Rechtshaffen (who?) @ Hollywood Reporter is more impressed ("A fantastical romp that proves every bit as transporting as that movie about the blue people of Pandora", etc.).


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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