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Sunday, 31 January 2010

Review: Alice In Wonderland (Blu-Ray) (PG) ★★★★
19-year-old Alice returns to the magical world from her childhood adventure, where she reunites with her old friends and learns of her true destiny: to end the Red Queen's reign of terror.


Not being a Mad Hatter,  I fully acknowledge that my fellow reviewer and sibling has already covered the cinematic release of Alice’s latest fantasy adventure in some style, this review therefore aims to provide a second verdict on Tim Burton’s epic adaptation of the Lewis Carroll yarn, taking into consideration its recent Blu-ray release.

Let’s go down the rabbit hole for a second time....

The first thing that you’ll notice about the Blu-ray release of Alice is that it looks absolutely stunning. Blu-ray as a medium is generally sharp, but it really shows on the newer releases and Alice is no exception – the colours are vibrant, the characters alive and the scenery vivid. As a piece of eye-candy alone, Alice holds its own against any recent blockbuster – Avatar included.

From an audio perspective, the sound is fairly crisp and the action scenes really pump out of the speakers in excellent 5.1 surround. My only minor gripe was a slight imbalance between the dialogue and the action scenes which led to some switching up and down on volume – being fair however this could (and probably was) more to do with individual surround set up than the movie itself.

In terms of storyline, Burton stays true to Carroll’s vision of Alice in Wonderland whilst bringing a new slant to the original tale from other aspects of Carroll’s work – particularly his poetry. From a Carroll fan’s point of view this is a great route to take as it stays loyal to the authors work whilst providing variety to a story which has been told many times over.

One area which really makes this film impressive is its stars – both real and created.  It’s no secret that Tim Burton plays favourite to Johnny Depp and the repeat of this pairing is as successful as that of Tweedledum and Tweedledee – Depp absolutely shines. Ranging the gamut from madness and compassion to fighting with hat pins, Depp is fantastic as the Mad Hatter whose crazy lop-sided stare gleams out at you in high definition.

The supporting cast however is just as captivating – top drawer names such as Stephen Fry,  Helena Bonham Carter and Alan Rickman provide a wide scope of interesting characters which bring humour and story depth in addition to some really quality voice acting. Stephen Fry as the mischievous Cheshire Cat was a personal favourite.

Where Alice succeeds is in its versatility, it is one of the few films like Labyrinth and The Princess Bride before it which slide into a very unique bracket of appeal. As a slightly grumpy thirty-something it is rare outside of encounters with my niece and nephew that I am inspired to feel and act like a child again - laughing at childish one-liners and slapstick gags without guilt is a rarity – however films of this genre provide such an opportunity and it is very welcome.

As the most recent rebirth of a classic, this adaptation could quite easily have been a jazzed up version of something we’ve all seen before which, given Burton’s credentials would probably still have been bearable at the very least, however Burton delivers much more.

Despite my own personal disappointment at a lack of Walrus or Carpenter (which appeared in Through the Looking Glass anyway – literature fans) I have to say I was very impressed with the overall production of this film and especially with its loyalty to its origins.

Well done Tim Burton, you appear to have believed in as many as six impossible things before breakfast.  

Review Submitted and Rated by: Dave Gledhill 


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