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Movies Wot I Have Seen Recently IV: The Wotsit Strikes Back!

31 March 201007:49AMreview

Alice in Wonderland. Apart from the fact that we were dressing up like the characters and generally making a nuisance out of ourselves on our way to see this one, it's actually one of the most fun movies I've seen for ages. Basically, Alice goes back to Wonderland when she's a little older, in order to facilitate her change from a petulant teenager into a headstrong, independant woman. Basically, your standard Hero's Quest type thing.

It was done by Tim Burton (even though he sold his soul to Disney, and his name doesn't actually appear on any promotional material or prominently in the credits, or the title, cause normally his movies are titled "Tim Burton's X", which Alice in Wonderland conspicuously isn't. Still.) who is actually a perfect match for the probably-opium-induced surrealism which is Wonderland. Being a Burton film, it stars Johnny Depp, which I was skeptical about at first, but actually works really well. Johnny Depp's Mad Hatter goes from just regular 'mad' to emotionally scarred victim to a rage-fuelled Scottish- accented claymore-wielding almost deific embodiment of pure chaos. This is probably some statement about self repression or freedom or something, but honestly I don't care, because it's an awesome character. I know Coco complained about him not being plain crazy enough, but that seems to miss the point that there's more to crazy than just acting irrationally, and the more practical reason that if you're going to have a crazy person play a larger role in your film (the Hatter's role in the original was a lot more minor) you need to give him some goals and ideals and a role in the story rather than just being a tea-obsessed dancing maniac.

The other really interesting bit I found was the interplay between the Red and White queens. We all know the Red queen is the bad one, and the White queen is the good one, but that's pretty much where the simplicity ends. You see, the White queen is actually the younger of the two, and claims to be the rightful ruler by virtue of having the crown stolen from her by someone worse than her, even though the crown by rights should really go to the oldest. Alice might actually be helping the usurper claim back the crown from the rightful queen under false pretenses. Added to that is the fact that the Red queen isn't evil as such, she's just emotionally scarred from a life of having her slightly exaggerated features (yay German Expressionism!) looked down upon by the better looking White queen, and her outlook ("It's better to be feared than loved") is probably some kind of deep psychological issue with her sibling and her seizure of power just a way of expressing her inner angst. All of this added to the fact that the 'Good' White queen banishes her own sister for eternity, _and that the _only reason she let her even live is because she took a vow against killing leaves me with the sense that there's something not quite right about the White queen... I mean, she has that ridiculous affected perpetual royal wave stance... at least the Red queen is honest. Anyway, I like that they left that a little bit open, it made the movie a bit more than just a straight fairyrtale (or maybe that's just how good characterisation works.)

Oh, and it was in 3D. Which was nice. Nothing spectacular. Didn't give me a headache, and after a few minutes you stope even noticing. It's just there, there's no flying out of the screen (although the rabbit hole sequence looks really nice) and no real gimmicks to show off its capabilities because that would break the immersion... I don't know whether or not it'll catch on the same way, say, colour or sound did. Plus the glasses were really uncomfortable.

So that was that. I was going to write about the Matrix as well, because I've never actually seen it (I know, right?! I saw the sequels but never the original.) and I watched it the other night, but really there's nothing I need to say other than:

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