“Fuck Tim Burton”. So sayeth the Smith. Quite frankly I don’t have that much of a hard-on for Kevin Smith any more, having seen a horrendously unfunny clip of Cop Out, which makes a less funny Die Hard joke than Adam Sandler and co. cooked up in Funny People, but when it comes to Burton, me and the ‘too fat to fly’ fucker are on the same wavelength.
Whether you’re a fan of Burton and his eccentricity or not, the latest attempt at Alice In Wonderland is a painfully cartoonish version of Carroll’s classic and is yet further proof that an overabundance of CGI over story, starting with Charlie And The Pixellated Factory, is making Tim’s career, shitter and shitterier.
Mixing up …Through The Looking Glass‘ and …In Wonderland may seem like a fairly neat idea, letting the grown-up Alice strive for something rather than be a mere bystander, but the plot is so sparse (Red Queen=Bad, White Queen=Good) that it barely resembles a plot at all. Instead it’s just a thin backbone on which to rest some fairly shoddy effects.
From her initial fall down the hole (which contains less photo-realism than a Mega-Drive game) to the final non-epic ‘chess battle’, Alice is a mess of style over substance. Usually this wouldn’t be too much of a bugbear (what major Hollywood product doesn’t err on the side of style) but when the style is so horribly forced it becomes painful to the retinas, someone has to start questioning the film-maker’s intent.
With a typically Burton theme of ‘It’s good to be mad’, (try telling that to the victims of Hitler, Pol Pot and Jeremy Kyle) Alice tries far too hard to be ‘wacky’ and comes off as irritating. Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen is particularly nauseating, resting under the delusion that screaming “Off with their heads” every two seconds is the height of hilarity. There’s more joy and wit in a single frame of this 1903 version.
Amazingly the film almost manages to make Johnny Depp look rubbish. Yes, he and new-comer Mia Wasowksi are the best things in it (No, the voiceover work of British thespians alone does not a good film make) but by the time he does his spirit crushing Futterwacken dance (again almost completely CG) you’ll be crying at the screen for JD to grasp back some dignity.
After all the fuss about the release being only 12 weeks long, Alice‘s longevity shouldn’t really last beyond the time it takes to flush a bowl. Complete and utter Futterwacken indeed.
When Owen Nicholls is not intentionally pissing off Tim Burton fans he edits and writes for www.thisfilmison.com.