March 9, 2010

Alice in Wonderland

I saw this yesterday, in regular-old 2-D. I have been very unimpressed with 3-D, but then the only movies I've tried in 3-D were Up and Creature from the Black Lagoon. And that second one was the old red/blue glasses type 3-D, so maybe I should give it another shot sometime. Maybe with Clash of the Titans. So, this movie. I was really excited for it, then saw the luke-warm reviews, but had already bought tickets, and went in thinking it'd be kind of meh. I've realized with movies that expectations play a very large role in my enjoyment of the movie. If I see a movie because I'm bored and it was the only one that I thought I could stand (Push, Percy Jackson), or if I have no idea about the movie but am with someone that really really wants to see it (Quantum Solace, Slumdog Millionaire), then I usually really like the movie.

All of that set-up and still not to the actual movie. [Spoilers ahead.] I liked it. A lot more than I thought I would. But I get why people aren't liking it. It's weird, sometimes really weird, but that's expected. For all it's weirdness, it's still incredibly predictable. No plot points are surprising, and a few are so vague that they don't make sense. What exactly did the Red Queen do that was so bad? Blow stuff up and steal the crown? If the crown is so easily stolen, what power does it really even have? I couldn't help but feel a little sympathy for the Red Queen, even though it was clearly telegraphed that she was EVIL and supposed to lose. That tall creepy one-eyed Stayne was really intriguing, and I wanted to know more about where he came from. It seemed like a lot of the Underland kingdom was either "good" or "evil" depending on who was wearing the crown, but Stayne seemed to be an even more sinister evil than even the Queen of Hearts.

The movie has interesting implications (Victorian women trapped in the marriage path, becoming a different version of yourself), but never really figures out what it's saying with them. Alice takes an unexpected path in life, but isn't that really more a luxury of her class than a break-through for her gender? There's the dichotomy between the White Queen and the Red Queen: traditional delicate femininity, conventional beauty, and polite passiveness are considered good and worthy of love where the shouty, bossy, big-headed woman is banished to live a life with no companionship (not that she ever had any genuine companionship before). So that seems to work against the "woo! independent woman!" theme.

Overall: It's a very pretty eye-candy movie, predictable and a little unfocused, but not nearly as annoying as Avatar. I enjoyed watching it, and if you think you'll like it, you probably will.


Jilly said...

"Alice takes an unexpected path in life, but isn't that really more a luxury of her class than a break-through for her gender?"

Intuitive point. Good thing this movie wasn't at all about class.


Jamie said...

I thought it was about class a little. The older sister warned Alice about being a burden on her mother. Yes, they were well-off, but only because of the kindness of the father's business partner. Had he been a jerk, could Alice really afford to reject his son's proposal?

Plus, I never understood why she "had to" return home.