Sunday, March 21, 2010

Go Ask Alice

Last night we watched Tim Burton/Linda Woolverton's "Alice in Wonderland" movie. I found it pretty and mildly entertaining -- not worth the multi-millions Disney poured into it, but that's a moot point in light of the megabucks it's earning at the box office.

I might carp about injection-molding the unruly source material (both Alice books are more travelogues than stories) into the heroic fantasy, good-vs.-evil cast that is apparently what you need today to get investors to fund fantasy movies. I might complain that the young woman who plays Alice at 19 has only a soap-bubble-film's worth of charisma, and is upstaged every time she shares a scene with Johnny Depp or Helena Bonham Carter (all chewing the computer-generated scenery with relish). I might comment that although Alice is the main character, and the story has a powder-sugar-dusting of feminism, the promotional materials focus on Depp's Mad Hatter (whom I kept expecting to snarl, "Why sso serioussss?")

But what's the point? There have been plenty of "Alice" movies, and there will be plenty in the future. Why begrudge the studio a chance to put out this fancy take, rake in the dough, and perhaps lead some kids to read the source material?

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